Australia news March 11, 2013

Watson may quit Test cricket after axeing

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Watson is contemplating his future in the game after being axed from the squad for the Mohali Test on disciplinary grounds and then leaving the tour to be with his pregnant wife. Watson was one of four players punished by the team management for ignoring team orders.

Since being named Michael Clarke's vice-captain in 2011, Watson's Twenty20 and ODI displays have remained strong but his Test appearances have been neither consistent nor convincing. His struggles in India despite being one of only two batsmen to have made a Test hundred on the subcontinent were a major contributor to Australia's 0-2 deficit.

There is little doubt Watson's T20 career will continue for he is scheduled to return to India in April for the IPL, where he had also indicated he would return to bowling for his franchise rather than his country. In ODIs he has the lure of the 2015 World Cup to sustain him. But it is now plausible that at 31 he has played his final Test match.

"Any time you're suspended for a Test match unless you do something unbelievably wrong, and obviously everyone knows what those rules are ... I think it is very harsh," Watson told reporters at the team hotel in Chandigarh. "At this point in time I'm at a stage where I'm sort of weighing up my future and what I want to do with my cricket in general, to be honest. I do love playing, there is no doubt about that, but at this point in time I'm going to spend the next few weeks with my family and just weigh up my options of just exactly which direction I want to go.

"There are lot more important things in life - I certainly do love playing cricket and that passion is still there and I feel like I'm in the prime years of my cricket career. From that perspective I still feel like I've got a lot to give. But from a holistic perspective I've got to sit down with my family and decide which directions they are."

Watson, along with James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson were told this morning by the coach Mickey Arthur that, in an unprecedented decision, they would not be considered for the third Test. After the loss in Hyderabad, inside three and a half days, Arthur had asked every member of the squad to let him know three points on how their individual performances and those of the team could be improved. These four players did not comply with the directive.

Watson said he had been going to tell the team management that he would need to miss the fourth Test to be with his wife, who is due at the end of the month, but had been informed of his axeing before he could do so. "I was about to communicate that to Mickey and the leadership group today but they obviously beat me to it by telling me I wasn't selected for this Test match," he said. "Also overnight, things have changed and Lee wasn't going to tell me things had changed because she knew how much it meant to me to be able to play this Test match. It was due in a couple of weeks but it's looking like things have sped up a little bit."

With four players unavailable, Australia's squad is down to 13 players for the Mohali Test, and if wicketkeeper Matthew Wade's ankle does not heal, they will have to pick a team from 12.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on March 12, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    @landl47. Couldn't have put it better myself. Still, to this day, I can't see how Watson's selection as a batsman could ever be justified based on his performances at fc the past 3 seasons & it doesn't half show up, does it? It was good enough for the rest of the team to follow management instructions (something they agreed to do when they signed their multi-million dollar contracts) yet they felt they were above this request? Is this how you show team unity & how you show you care about the fortune of the team? Pattinson, to his credit, apologized for his effort, & it's difficult to comprehend that he is almost 10 years younger than Watson. Watson is destined to play out his future in the short form where he is much better suited. Aussie cricket will move on from this as it has done with even bigger turmoil in the past. I think the term "line in the sand" aptly sums up the whole episode. Something needed to be done & it has, & of course, not to everyone's approval, but que sera, sera,

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    I have to say without a shadow of doubt that I agreed with all these comments bar one EG: Andrew from Oz although there is a little truth in what he said. In fact we have not performed to our usual standard at all really with a few exceptions. If we carry on in this vein we will lose respect throughout the cricketing world

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    I feel sorry for you Watson, if your decision to quit is true or contemplating for it.

  • prabhakar on March 12, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    now thats why dhoni is called captaincool. see how clarke the so called tactically best captain's behaviour when he starts losing ...this is not the way to treat shane watson....we indians know well what is the value the allrounder provides to the side,....that too of shane watson's caliber

  • Haroon on March 12, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Mr Arthur needs to grow up. His role is to coach his team on or off the field. Their are other more engaging ways to extract feedback from players rather then giving them a pen and paper to right essays. Before it gets too late, ACB needs to act quickly to remove this shambolic coach who has created a totally unwanted scenario due to his strange sudden brainwave. To suggest that a 3 point assessment essay would have turned around Aussie fortunes in this series is laughable. Please JUST COACH if you can and don't take the MICKEY.

  • Dummy4 on March 12, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @ VivGilchrist ..... there is no reading between the lines.

    Clarke showed everyone how he behaves when he is losing. His little tantrums in the 3rd SA Test. After two losses in a row this farce was inevitable.

    You are one of the selectors, you picked the touring team, you picked the test teams that lost .... totally incompetent!!! It's time to grow up and face your responsibilities, you have to find solutions, you have to rebuild their confidence and lead them.

    Your disgusting treatment of your teammates is abhorrent, trying to shift the blame and move the spotlight.

    Once again proving to me that you are a hopeless captain!!!

  • COLIN on March 12, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Clearly he's had his mind on other matters (potentially more important) and has been failing in his role as vice captain (for whatever reason).

    This does seem a laughable outcome - but hey they are being slaughtered by a pretty average team, and presumably the management need to do something to set some standards.

  • Andrew on March 12, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    This suits Watto. He can't bowl in tests and his batting is not good enough to justify his place. His body is brittle - constantly injured - and he is basically immature. So off to the 20/20 circus and let the proper cricketers get on with the real cricket.

  • Basil on March 12, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Katich, Symonds, OKeefe, Watson do not worship Clarke. Enough said.

  • shyam on March 12, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    such atragedy for asutralia..this is the same australian team who are used to aks their best players to retire after certain age just bcos to give much hungry young lads..see now..