Melbourne: Former Australian batsman Damien Martyn has termed the suspension of four players including vice-captain Shane Watson as an "absolute joke" which he feels will certainly have an impact on the team's bid to regain the Ashes later this year.
"To me, it's an absolute joke. Pattinson and Watson being major players we are going to miss out. It's going to affect the whole side, rest of their teammates and series," Martyn, who has played 67 Tests and 208 ODIs for Australia, said during a discussion of 'The Cricket Show' on the Youtube and Google Plus.
In the discussion moderated by another former Australian player Stuart McGill, Martyn feels that this incident will have long lasting impact.
"This is going to last a long time with this group leading upto the Ashes. It's going to undermine a lot of things as well as undermine a lot of good stuff," he said.
Martyn didn't defend the quartet for not completing their assignments but said that a punishment of this magnitude seemed to be a bit too much.
"Look, I am all for team bonding. If the coach (Arthur) says, he wanted those things, they should have done it. May be written it down and given to the coach. But missing a Test match for not doing it is stupid," said the 41-year-old Western Australian, who has 13 Test centuries to his credit.
Martyn feels that the team management could have imposed financial penalty on the players.
"We have had guys doing wrong things in the past but we haven't missed Test matches for that. Fine them half their tour allowances or may be full allowance."
Martyn said if there was something more to it, it will "come out."
McGill on a lighter vein commented, "If you don't have a dog on tour, it's not easy to say that Dog Ate your homework!"
Martyn said that the third Test beginning at Mohali on Thursday has become huge after this incident.
"Next Test becomes a huge match. If we lose, it will implode. But I certainly hope that there is clear selection policy for every official cricket team."