Mohali, Mar 12: A day after the shocking suspension of four key players, Australian skipper Michael Clarke is confident that there will no backlash against him from the dumped players, who, he says, understand the reasons for this "harsh" decision.
Vice-Captain Shane Watson, pacemen James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson and batsman Usman Khawaja were sensationally dropped from the team yesterday for the third Test against India for ignoring team management's order. Watson returned home in a huff and is now contemplating his Test future, raising speculation of a revolt within the squad.
"I don't think it will have any impact on my friendship with the four guys because I know I've got the respect of those guys and they know how much I respect them. That's probably why I feel comfortable fronting players on these issues. "I think it would be easy to walk away and let things slide. But they know how much I love playing for Australia like they do," Clarke was quoted as saying by the Australian media.
"They know how much I want this team to have success and achieve what I think we can achieve. And you know what? They want the same. There's only one way you get there. It takes the whole team pushing in the same direction. This is not about the individual player. The whole team sits on this level. These are our standards. If you're not hitting it, there's going to be consequences."
Clarke said making the presentation was not a big deal and the players should have provided the feedbacks. "It wasn't a big ask. You let the team down, you let the head coach down. That's unacceptable," he said. The captain said unavailability of four players will be a good opportunity for others to prove their worth.
"It has huge impact on the team for the third Test match. But it's why you pick a squad. It gives somebody else an opportunity. And that's the biggest risk in this game. You give somebody else an opportunity and you might never get another chance," he said.