Mickey Arthur on Tuesday defended his decision to suspend four players on count of discipline ahead of Mohali Test,saying it was a right step in the direction of becoming world number one again.
Arthur and skipper Michael Clarke had decided to suspend Shane Watson,James Pattinson,Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson when they failed to submit a presentation on how to improve their and teams performance.
Hopefully this is the foundation for something good. We could have gone and just carried on and we would have been third in the world comfortably. We dont accept that. We want to get ourselves to No.1 in the world and give ourselves the best possible opportunity to do that, Arthur said after arriving here from a disastrous India tour.
Weve put some stuff in place that we think can get that team there over the next 24 months, he said.
Arthur also dismissed suggestions that there was a rift within the team,saying the theory was mere an imagination of media and everything was all right between Watson and Clarke.
Team harmony is fantastic,honestly,the players work extremely hard. Weve got a really good group of young players who want nothing more than to make Australia the best cricket team in the world. Its a funny perception around Michael and Shane,theyre different personalities,different characters,but they get on really well. Its sometimes a media beat-up around Watto and Pup,they work really well together and always have. I havent seen anything to dispel that, he asserted.
Arthur said the drubbing his team suffered in India would not affect the team composition much for Ashes. He argued that the conditions in India are in complete contrast to what they will get in England,where they could play to their strength.
Its totally different conditions. I was always really worried about the conditions in India,especially with a group of young players. You can sit and you can tell players what its like to play there,but until youve experienced it,you dont comprehend it.
With the Ashes,the conditions are a lot closer to what were comfortable with,our pace bowlers will be a real factor in England they werent in India,and thats a real strength of ours our batters will be accustomed to playing in those conditions. Im confident everything is still on track, Arthur said.
However,he did admit that the heavy defeats ahead of Ashes was not the best thing to happen. It is disappointing when you have a tour of the sub-continent before a tour as big as the Ashes,because it does have the ability of putting you off-track a little bit, he said.
Ponting wins shield
Tasmania won the Sheffield Shield after holding Queensland to a draw on Tuesday in the final of Australias domestic first-class competition,giving ex-test captain Ricky Ponting his first trophy with his home province in two decades. Set 446 from 87 overs to win on the last day,Queensland finished 183-6 at stumps. Tasmania finished atop the standings after the home-and-away season and needed only a draw to secure the title.
Ponting,who scored 35 and 1,won the Shield in his third trip to the final,his first coming in 1993-94. The 38-year-old Ponting retired from international cricket in December but will continue to play County cricket in England and Twenty20 cricket in India and the Caribbean. Tasmanias win denied Queensland of a title sweep after victories this season in the T20 and limited-overs competitions.