x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Suspended Australia paceman James Pattinson 'apologised' for 'letting team down' in India

The tourists' leading wicket-taker will not be playing in the Mohali Test after failing to follow team orders.

James Pattinson says he has no excuses for failing to follow team orders. Cameron Spencer / Getty Images
James Pattinson says he has no excuses for failing to follow team orders. Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

James Pattinson has expressed regret after a disciplinary infraction led to his suspention for the third Test between India and Australia, which starts in Mohali on Thursday.

Pattinson, fellow fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and batsmen Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja were all punished by Australia's touring party management after failing to fill out a questionaire as per the demand of their head coach Mickey Arthur.

The right-arm seamer, who, having taken eight wickets in the first two Tests in Chennai and Hyderabad, was Australia's most successful bowler in the series, said he was sorry for not respecting team orders.

"We had a training session yesterday and we apologised to the team about it," Pattinson said. "It does hurt, missing a Test match. It's not only that, you let your team down as well. At the time I was told I was quite upset. At the start I didn't take it as well as I probably could have. The easy thing for me was to make excuses and say it's a harsh punishment.

"But the reality is it's not – it's part of playing cricket for Australia. You've got to do everything right. It wasn't hard for the other 12 blokes to get it in on time and they took the time out to really reflect and do what's best for the team whereas we four didn't. Right now I'm still hurting about it but in the long run I think it's going to make us a better team."

Meanwhile, the punishment was the straw that broke the camel's back, according to Pat Howard, the Cricket Australia (CA) high performance manager.

Watson, Pattinson, Johnson and Khawaja each failed to deliver a presentation on what they all brought to the team after a two-day break following the team's humiliating innings-and-135-run loss in the second Test last week.

While Howard conceded the four players committed minor breaches of the team's disciplinary code on this occasion, he said it was the latest of numerous instances of ill-discipline and the Australian hierarchy were forced to draw a line in the sand as CA strove to raise the team's levels of professionalism.

"Over a period of time, [to try and improve] the discipline of the whole system, to get better, that's what the team performance review is about," Howard said today.

"Across the board there have been some wins, there are people that are doing this and raising the level and there are other people that are taking longer to get on board.

"Eventually, at some stage, unfortunately you've got to make a call and these conversations had lots of times (where it was asked): 'What should we do? What's our next action? What's the consequences?'

"There have been plenty of warnings and as a consequence, you eventually have to make a call and that call was made. Not easy, I appreciate that.

"You can only get your last chance so many times."

Vice-captain Watson has since left India, despite being eligible for selection in the fourth and final Test in Delhi starting March 22, to be with his pregnant wife in Australia and reportedly consider his cricketing future.

Howard denied that Watson stormed out of the team hotel after being told of his sanction but described his departure from India halfway through a Test series as a "unique situation".

Howard would not go into the specifics of the issues that preceded the latest disciplinary contraventions but made it clear that all four players, including Watson, would be welcome back in the side after serving their respective one-match suspensions.

"Every situation in isolation will seem mini, it will sound small...they [the management] are just looking for discipline over a longer period of time and to try to lift the level, that's what they're trying to do as any sport would do," Howard said.

"The door is always open to improvement, that's what the Argus Report talked about - the hunger for improvement and the hunger for high performance."

Howard did not see any reason why the four disciplined players could not work with coach Mickey Arthur again.

"Mickey and [captain] Michael [Clarke] are unbelievably united on this," Howard said.

"I've spoken to the board, I've spoken which James Sutherland the CEO, it's a collective [decision]."

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