Michael Clarke gets Cricket Australia boost over sackings

Michael Clarke

The Australian team management's shocking suspension of four key players on disciplinary grounds today got the backing of their bosses even as captain Michael Clarke put up a bold face, saying that the dumping of the quartet will not lead to a backlash.

Even as the cricket fraternity continued to react with shock and dismay at the unprecedented sacking, Cricket Australia put its weight behind the team management which is struggling to put together a team for the third Test against India beginning Thursday with just 13 players to choose from.

CA officials held a teleconference with the team management to take a briefing following yesterday's events which saw a miffed vice-captain Shane Watson leaving for home hours after his sacking, raising speculation of a revolt within the squad.

"We had a discussion so we could be fully updated on the issues surrounding this event and allow board members to ask questions of the management. The board is completely supportive of the actions taken by team management," CA Chairman Wally Edwards said in a statement.

Watson and three of his colleagues -- pacemen James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson, and batsman Usman Khawaja were axed from the team for the third Test for ignoring a team management order.

The four players were dropped for failing to make a presentation on how to improve their personal as well as the team's performance after the innings and 135 runs defeat in the second Test in Hyderabad.

Clarke continued to talk tough and said disciplinary breaches could not be tolerated, while maintaining that he had the respect of the players who have been suspended.

"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", he said.

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