Australia news June 29, 2011

Watson disappointed by Katich axing

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Watson has joined Ricky Ponting in expressing disappointment at the axing of his opening partner Simon Katich from the contracts list by Cricket Australia earlier this month. "I've built up a really good friendship and opening partnership with Simon over the last two years and I've had a lot of fun batting with him," Watson told AFP.

Katich, 35, who had been extremely consistent in the years leading up to his axing, had called the decision "absolutely ridiculous", an outburst which Ponting said was justified.

With 2928 runs at 50.48 since he was recalled to the Test team in 2008, Katich has been not only Australia's most reliable batsman but among the most bankable in the world. In that time only Alastair Cook has scored more runs.

Watson had formed a productive opening partnership with Katich in the last couple of years, adding 1523 runs in 28 innings at an average of 54.39. He felt that Katich could have gone on for some more time instead of being forced out.

"I still felt that he had another at least year or two of good cricket still in him. Being an opening partnership you do become a lot closer because you are taking on the best bowlers in the world together and you need a mate out there to be able to help you out."

Katich's axing is the latest move by Australa's selection panel in a bid to rebuild the side following a home Ashes loss and a World Cup quarter-final exit. Watson was earlier appointed deputy to new captain Michael Clarke as Ponting stepped down after the World Cup exit.