Suspending players on disciplinary grounds is nothing new in international cricket and more so in Australian cricket. Andrew Symonds was suspended and his career never recovered since, when many believed he was at the peak of his career, more over when he was enjoying an overwhelming support of his captain Ricky pointing. The great Shane Warne also was reprimanded many a times for his off the field engagement. So has been the case with other teams round the globe.
Australian coach Micky Arthur’s isn’t something unheard of. But why people are debating and doubting this ill timed and uncalled for action of his and many experts believing there to be more than what is meeting the eye, is because, one the timing of it and secondly the coach coming out in person against players, whom he has worked with, for many years and has to work with them again in the future.
At a time when Australia needed desperately to win and make a comeback in the series, at the time when Micky Arthur’s team is being labeled as the weakest ever Australian team to have toured India, at the time when they are being labeled as “kangaroos of the zoo”, and especially when Australian media is ripped them apart for their tame surrender in first two tests against India, suspending four of your key players for not having done the home work assigned to them , can be called nothing but “out of the mind solution” rather than “out of the box” to an otherwise a very common situation encountered by all the coaches of all the teams across the world, someday.
Secondly, a coach has never stood against its players in openly in person. Historically, coaches write a confidential letter to their respective boards, via manager of the team and it is the board which initiates the action against the so called indiscipline player/s. When a coach not only initiates but also finalizes the action on his table and then comes out in open in a distasteful manner as Micky Arthur did, knowing he has to sit and work with these players again, it obviously is a very good indicator of how worst the conditions are in that Australian dressing room, especially the relation of coach with players can be easily gauged to be far from cordial.
There is surely something which we don’t know or which is not being revealed as the players are tight lipped by the board and what Micky Arthur is saying can’t be taken as the holy truth.
I may be speaking this out of my personal experience, when a couple of years back ,we had one of the best Ranji trophy teams ,with best of the pre season preparations under a very high profile coach and hence were being expected to do very well in all the interstate championships . During the start of the Ranji season, we played a T-20 match against a star studded Delhi team, where in we were defending just 120 against Virender Sehwag,Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia, Ashish Nehra , Ishant Sharma and co, and we reduced them to 113 for 8, needing 8 runs of last 2 balls. But as the cricket has its unexpected nature, a lower order hitter connected a couple of hits, of one of our premiere bowlers.
We lost the match but definitely won the hearts of thousands watching, including the opposition. Despite a loss there were many positives in the game. But as the fate had it, the next thing we heard was that, two of our best of two players ,who actually had lead this fightback of ours defending meager 120, were suspended/dropped for the next game, for unknown reasons.
And as a consequence, we never recovered from such a dispute and ultimately when the coach lost the confidence of the players, we had the worst of the seasons ever, loosing almost all of the matches. And may I add, we haven’t recovered since, despite making all the changes in the team, things have actually taken ugly turn which eventually led to an infamous boycott by players against the high profile coach.
The analogy with this episode and the current Micky Arthur one is that, no one disclosed the real reasons of suspension and whatever is coming out in open, is mere an eye wash, and this poor handling of the issue by team management is going to prove very detrimental and disastrous for Australian cricket in days to come, as long as Micky Arthur stays with team and may be even after him,due to the lobbyism among players ,which is the inevitable result of such ugly events.
There has got to be something really wrong, going on between the Australian players and the coach. Just as the greats like Geoff Boycott, Ian Chappell, Ian Botham all have had a dig at Micky Arthur for being dictatorial and treating adult, mature players like school kids. Micky Arthur has admitted that it was a fall out of many ugly incidents by these culprits, which he rightly refused to reveal.
It is all evident that the coach Micky Arthur has lost his respect in the team and he wants to exercise his control by force by expelling the vocal ones. Generally this extreme exercise of power is done by people who either doubt their coaching abilities or by those who are sensing a major revolt in the team against him. Well we may not question his coaching abilities as such, so all we can predict is that there must have been some sort of revolt and disrespect to Micky going on for quite some time now.
The ultimate sufferer in all such fiascos is the team. As Aussies have found out, staring at a 0-4 whitewash at the hand of MS Dhoni lead Indian side.
Samiullah Beigh is a J&K cricketer