Watson to continue playing Tests after ban
SYDNEY (AFP) –
Speculation about the Test future of Australian vice-captain Shane Watson ended Monday with an announcement that he will return to India after serving a one-match ban.
The 31-year-old returned to Sydney last Tuesday after he was dropped for the third Test after failing to prepare feedback on how the team could improve and deliver it to management. Three other players were also axed.
Watson, whose wife gave birth last week, made it clear he felt the punishment was overly harsh and said he would be considering his future, but has decided to battle on.
“I’ve had several constructive discussions with team management back in Mohali over the past few days,” he said.
“We’ve spoken about how we are going to work together to move forward, as Australia attempts to climb back to the top of the ICC rankings.
“I’ve a burning ambition to be an Australian Test player for as long as I can be and help Australia win those big Test series as well as the big ICC tournaments.”
His dumping fuelled rumours of a rift with skipper Michael Clarke, which was intensified by Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard saying Watson was only “sometimes” a team player.
Watson said he had spoken with Howard and they were both now “on the same page”.
“I’m looking forward to getting around the boys again and concentrating on moving forward. I’m entirely committed to the team and being the best player I can be,” he said.
Head coach Mickey Arthur welcomed his decision: “Shane’s recommitment to the team in his chats with me this week have been really positive.
“We’re looking forward to having Watto back and around the group as we prepare for the fourth Test.”
If Watson had decided to quit, Clarke would have been desperately short of experience ahead of an Ashes double header against England starting in July, after the recent retirement of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.
AFP is not covering the four-Test series between India and Australia after the Board of Control for Cricket in India failed to lift restrictions on picture agencies.