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Perth: Mar 26, 2013
Mickey Arthur on Tuesday defended his decision to suspend four players on count of discipline ahead of Mohali Test, saying it was a right step in the direction of becoming world number one again.
Arthur and skipper Michael Clarke had decided to suspend Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson when they failed to submit a presentation on how to improve their and team’s performance.
“Hopefully this is the foundation for something good. We could have gone and just carried on and we would have been third in the world comfortably. We don’t accept that. We want to get ourselves to No 1 in the world and give ourselves the best possible opportunity to do that,” Arthur said after arriving at Perth from a disastrous tour of India.
“We’ve put some stuff in place that we think can get that team there over the next 24 months,” he said.
Arthur also dismissed suggestions that there was a rift within the team, saying the theory was mere an imagination of media and everything was all right between Watson and Clarke.
“Team harmony is fantastic, honestly, the players work extremely hard. We’ve got a really good group of young players who want nothing more than to make Australia the best cricket team in the world.
“It’s a funny perception around Michael and Shane, they’re different personalities, different characters, but they get on really well. It’s sometimes a media beat-up around Watto and Pup, they work really well together and always have.
I haven’t seen anything to dispel that,” he asserted.
Arthur said the drubbing his team suffered in India would not affect the team composition much for Ashes.
He argued that the conditions in India are in complete contrast to what they will get in England, where they could play to their strength.
“It’s totally different conditions. I was always really worried about the conditions in India, especially with a group of young players. You can sit and you can tell players what it’s like to play there, but until you’ve experienced it, you don’t comprehend it.
“With the Ashes, the conditions are a lot closer to what we’re comfortable with, our pace bowlers will be a real factor in England – they weren’t in India, and that’s a real strength of ours – our batters will be accustomed to playing in those conditions. I’m confident everything is still on track,” Arthur said.
However, he did admit that the heavy defeats ahead of Ashes was not the best thing to happen.
“It is disappointing when you have a tour of the sub-continent before a tour as big as the Ashes, because it does have the ability of putting you off-track a little bit,” he said.
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