Paceman James Pattinson believes the disciplinary issues surrounding him and three of his team-mates can be the catalyst which leads Australia on to double Ashes success.
Pattinson, Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all suspended for one match after all four failed to deliver a presentation, as instructed by coach Mickey Arthur, on the way forward following defeats in the first two Tests of their current tour of India.
Watson subsequently flew home to Australia to be with his pregnant wife, but the other three remain with squad ahead of the third Test in which they will play no part because of a punishment some have suggested is over the top.
Pattinson said: “It sends a message to everyone here that we’re playing Test cricket and to be a Test cricketer you have to get 100 per cent of things right and give everything for the team.
“In the end there’s no individual that comes higher than the team and I think this is a perfect example of that.
“So leading into this massive summer we’ve got over in England and then into the Ashes back home, this is just that stepping stone which could lead to something special in the future.”
The disciplinary action came on the back of an infraction which was said to be the straw that broke the camel’s back after a number of minor misdemeanours.
There has been criticism from some quarters about the severity of the punishment, but Pattinson believes it was justified.
He said: “I think this is the kick in the bum to make you really realise what we’ve got and what we really want and that is to get to number one.
“People might say it’s a harsh punishment for a small thing but I think if we look outside the actual thing we did wrong then it’s other stuff as well, it builds up.
“If you really look deeply, like I did at it, you can see why it’s happened and I think it’s just going to [make us] a better team, [with] a better mentality and a better culture in the long run.”
He added: “If I wasn’t in this position, if it was someone else, as a team member I’d be disappointed in them that they’d let the team down.
“We take responsibility for our actions and that’s the big thing to do, to really be accountable for what you do.”
He added: “You give 100 per cent on the field and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be off the field as well.
“On-field success, batting and bowling well, is more than half the part, but I think there’s other stuff off the field as well like what’s been brought up that can make the culture really strong in the team.
“[We’re] a group of young players and we really need to build a great culture between us because one day we could be a great team but at the moment we’re not. If we can build a good culture then one day we’ll be a great team.”
Watson yesterday flew back to Australia saying he would consider his future in international cricket.
But Pattinson feels he can return for the fourth and final Test.
“One thing’s for sure: we definitely think he can come back and do a great job for the team,” he said. “He’s a fantastic guy and we’d love to have him back come the fourth Test if all goes well back home.
“We’re right behind Shane as a team so hopefully Shane gets everything right back home and comes back because we’d love to have him back for the fourth Test.”
Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard said: “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.
“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.”
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).”