'There's A Pretty Clear Message Been Sent Out Now'
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has offered his views on the Australian team's current predicament in India, after four players including vice-captain Shane Watson were suspended for the third Test after failing to complete a team assignment.
Speaking after scoring a century for Tasmania, Ponting came out in support of both the team management who made the decision, but also backed Watson, calling him a good team player.
Watson returned home after news of the suspensions broke to be with his wife, who has subsequently given birth to their first child, a baby boy.
Comments by Ponting, who played 168 Tests for Australia, posted on Cricket Australia's website (www.cricket.com.au) read:
"I understand what they're trying to do. I'd be surprised, and I don't know a lot about what's going on, it seems like there's been enough little things that have culminated in them having to make a big decision like they've made. It's a drastic one, there's no doubt about that.
"There's a pretty clear message been sent out now, to everyone, whether they're in the side now or guys going to come into the side. There's just not going to be any room for anything other than perfection around the way you train and prepare.
"Knowing what Pup (captain MIchael Clarke) and Mickey (Arthur) are like, it's not anything they would have made on the spur of the moment. They would have thought long and hard about it and come up with the decision they came up with.
"By the same token you have to feel a little bit for the players because they're missing a Test match. But at the same time, if you're in the Australian cricket team, little things like the task they were given should be done and should be done pretty quickly."
On Watson, who made his international debut under Ponting, the Tasmanian added:
"I loved every moment I played with 'Watto'. To tell you the truth I think I probably understood him and his personality as well as anyone I ever played with," he said.
"I tried to get as close to him as I could, to know him as well as I could on and off the field and I actually felt by doing that I got the most out of him that I could as a player.
"Shane works as hard as anybody around his cricket, there's no doubt about that. He's obviously made a blue here by not getting his task done that was given to him by his coach.
"I've never known him to be anything other than a very good team player and a great bloke to have around your team."
Australia named an under-strength side for the third Test, and were struggling on day two in Mohali after the opening day was washed out.
© Cricket World 2013
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