Shane Watson one of four dropped by Australia for discipline breach
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
Australia have dropped vice-captain Shane Watson and three players for the third Test in India for a breach of discipline.
Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson plus Usman Khawaja will also sit out.
The four failed to make a presentation on how to improve the team following defeats in the opening two Tests.
Watson left the tour after the decision, although, with his wife pregnant, there was always a contingency for him to leave early.
Talking about his decision to drop the four players, coach Mickey Arthur said: "This is a line in the sand."
Australia, who play England in back-to-back Ashes series later in 2013, have endured a miserable time on their latest tour, suffering heavy defeats in the opening matches of the four-Test series.
They lost by eight wickets in Chennai in the opening Test to an Indian team inspired by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's 224 runs off 265 balls in the home side's first innings.
The manner of their second Test defeat was even worse, with Australia losing by an innings and 135 runs after being bowled out for only 131 in their second innings.
Worried about his team's form, Arthur asked each member of his squad to produce, by email or in person, three ideas about how the team could improve.
The players had five days to provide their views but the quartet failed to make their points at a team meeting.
Although all-rounder Watson, 31, has returned home, pacemen Mitchell Johnson, 31, James Pattinson, 22, and batsman Khawaja, 26, will be considered for the fourth Test.
South African Arthur, Australia's first overseas coach, told a news conference: ''I asked the players at the end of the last game to give me an individual presentation.
"I wanted three points from each of them - technically, mentally and team - as to how we were going to get back over the next couple of games, about how we were going to get ourselves back into the series.
''I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four players are not available for selection for this Test match.''
He added: "We've given an expectation that is spelt out and although this incident might seem very small in isolation, this is a line in the sand moment for us as a unit in our quest to become the best in the world.
''This has been the toughest decision that myself, manager Gavin Dovey and captain Michael Clarke have ever had to make.
''It's a tough, tough decision, but the ramifications for that within our team structure and the message that it sends to all involved in Australian cricket is that we are pretty serious about where we want to take this team.''
Arthur's stance has drawn criticism from former Australia players.
Ex-captain Allan Border told Fox Sports News: "I'm surprised that's the penalty for something so mundane. It seems like it was on a schoolboy tour or something. It's an over the top reaction."
Mark Waugh added: "I've never heard anything so stupid in all my life. It's not under-sixes - this is Test cricket."
Australia now head into the third Test at Mohali on Thursday with 13 players to choose from - and that could drop to 12 if Matthew Wade fails to recover in time from an ankle injury.
The first Ashes Test begins on 10 July at Trent Bridge.
"Well boss, firstly, you could select me in the starting XI..."
Thursday 21 - 25 November 2013, Gabba
Tues 26 - Homework Due
Thursday 5 - 9 December 2013, Adelaide Oval
Tues 10 - Homework Due
Friday 13 - 17 December 2013, WACA Ground
Wed 18 - Homework Due
Thursday 26 - 30 December 2013, MCG
Tues 31 - Homework Due
Friday 3 - 7 January 2014, SCG
Wed 8 - Final Exams
"Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson....."
"Aaaagggghhh!!!! Why did Hughes pick today to start contributing to the team?
This story highlights a group in complete disarray.
The job of a cricket coach: Everything Else
The cricketers are doing their job, however poorly (snigger), but it seems as if the coach wants them to do his job as well.
Roll on the summer and this winter.
The Ashes staying here for another 4 years (at least)
That said, if your coach has asked you to do something, then you do it. If you don't punish those that don't then it sends the wrong message to those who are actually trying.
Stupid situation but at the end of it, the right call.