Watson leaves tour of India
Australia vice-captain Shane Watson has left the tour of India, just hours after he and three team-mates were dropped from the third Test.
Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson were told they would not be considered for this week's must-win match in Mohali after they failed to provide coach Mickey Arthur with a presentation on how the tourists could improve on their defeats in the first two Tests.
As the cricketing world was digesting what seems a dire breakdown in relations between those players and the management, it was revealed that Watson was leaving India to return home.
Watson's wife is pregnant with the couple's first child and it is understood a contingency was always in place for him to leave the tour early if necessary.
There has, though, been no word from Cricket Australia about whether he will come back to join his fellow exiles in being available for the fourth Test in Delhi.
Either way, today's episode is an embarrassing one for the Baggy Greens during one important tour and a matter of months before the Ashes trip to England.
Arthur, who came to the decision in concert with captain Michael Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey, is likely to have staked a huge amount of capital on the decision.
He described the hardline stance as "a line in the sand" issue to preserve discipline but could find himself and his own judgement placed under serious question should a weakened side slump to a third straight defeat.
Watson and Pattinson would ordinarily be automatic selections, while Khawaja was strongly fancied to return to the side to bolster a struggling batting line-up.
"This is a line in the sand," Arthur told reporters after announcing the sanction.
"We pride ourselves on attitude. We have given the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right.
"We believe that those behaviours are not consistent with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world.
"I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four players are not available for selection for this Test match."
Outlining the task the four players had neglected to complete, the South African coach explained: "I asked the players at the end of the 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, how we were going to get ourselves back into the series.
"We have given these guys absolute clarity; we have given this team a huge amount of time to buy in with what we want to do for the Australian cricket team.
"We have given a vision to these guys that is spelt out, 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 out teams 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."
The news has already been greeted with a mixture of bafflement and opposition from senior Australian figures.
Former Australia captain Allan Border said: "It seems a bit of a strong measure for a coach or captain to take.
"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.
"I haven't seen anything quite like this....where you have basically refused to fill out a performance review, it's the first time I've ever heard of it."
Former Test batsman Mark Waugh: "I'm stunned. I've never heard of this sort of thing before at top level in any sport.
"It's not under sixes, this is Test cricket...there would have been a better way."
Darren Lehmann, tipped as a future Australia coach, took to Twitter to add: "Adults we are, not schoolboys! Please let's act properly and make good decisions in India! Need these boys playing."