Australia may benefit in time for next summer’s Ashes from the “kick up the backside” they have given to four Test players.
New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond certainly thinks so anyway, and is confident too that the Australians’ decision to discipline Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson will not result in any long-term unavailabilities.
Opener Watson is already on his way home from India, after being dropped for the third Test in Mohali for ignoring team orders.
He and his fellow discards declined to come up with three reasons for their team’s poor showing in two Test defeats so far, at the request of coach Mickey Arthur.
Captain Michael Clarke has since made it clear that their refusal to do so is not an isolated incidence of failure to adhere to protocol. Former fast bowler Bond, however, does not anticipate any of the four will be lost to Australia. “I don’t think they’ll lose players,” he said. “They basically had a kick up the backside. We’ve seen it with other teams in the past. Being a player myself, sometimes it’s good to get that kick to remind you of the standards that are set.
“Although there will be some grumpiness from the players and criticism, I expect it to come out okay.”
Australia’s defeats in India have come as no surprise to Bond, who anticipates improvements away from the subcontinent.
“I thought they would feel a bit of pain in India, when I saw the team they were taking over,” he said. “I didn’t expect them to win, but I expect them to be a different unit in England or their home conditions — where the fast bowlers more into the play. I don’t think this series will have too many bearings on how they’ll play in the Ashes.”
Clarke and Arthur have made a stand, however, and will have to bear the consequences — good or bad.
“Knowing Michael, he sets incredibly high standards for himself — and as captain, he’s doing the same for his team,” added Bond.
“When you lose everything comes into question.
“They’ve had two comprehensive hidings so far, so he’s decided something needed to be done. That’s their culture — they expect things to be done.
“He’s going to cop flak, as well as some people who say ‘good on him’ — and it’s about what comes of it.
“That might not be in these next two Tests, but a year down the track.”