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Nielsen a world away from chaos in India

Former Australian coach Tim Nielsen.

Former Australian coach Tim Nielsen. Photo: Getty Images

The last time Australia was in India, Tim Nielsen was at the helm of the national team and Shane Watson scored a century in Mohali.

Both will be watching from afar when the third Test starts on Thursday.

While Watson was one of four players sensationally axed for breaking team guidelines and has returned to be with wife Lee for the birth of their first child, Nielsen is in Canberra during a four-day visit of South Australia's emerging Redbacks program.

It's been nearly 18 months since Nielsen stepped down as the head coach of the Australian cricket team, ending a four-year tenure taking in a tough transition period.

But the ups and downs of replacing some of game's all-time greats is relatively smooth sailing compared to what his successor is dealing with.

South African Mickey Arthur faces the ultimate test of his leadership after, in conjunction with the national selection panel which includes Australian captain Michael Clarke, he dropped Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson for failing to complete a presentation on how they could contribute to Australia's performance.

On the surface a trivial matter, but an indication Arthur wants to stamp out a cultural problem within the team before it has a chance to grow.

Nielsen declined to comment on the saga, or how he would've handled the same situation. He said he planned to watch the third Test, but only when he could find time in between South Australia's one-day match with a Territories XI at Manuka Oval on Thursday.

Australia's last visit to Mohali in 2010 finished in a heartbreaking one-wicket loss, despite Watson making a majestic 126 at the top of the order.

VVS Laxman put on nearly 90 with the tail as India levelled the series.

This time around, the hosts hold a commanding 2-0 series lead over a disjointed opposition.

Whether off-spinner Nathan Lyon is recalled after being left out of the second Test is another of the selectors' dilemmas.

Ushered in during Nielsen's reign on the 2011 tour to Sri Lanka, Lyon featured in 20 straight Tests before he was punished for a lacklustre return in the series opener.

Left-arm orthodox spinner Xavier Doherty and off-spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell were preferred for the second Test. Lyon has made a solid start to his Test career, taking 65 wickets at an average of 33.93.

''He's going through a process that all young players go through,'' Nielsen said. ''They start well and have a bit of a plateau as the opposition learns more about them and they start to understand how hard it actually is.

''The art of selection is … deciding whether the player would benefit from having a bit of a spell, or whether you keep ploughing on through and if that's going to break them or hurt them more than a rest is.

''I hope Nathan kicks on from now and takes the experiences, whether they're good or bad, puts them in the memory bank and comes out a better cricketer.''

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