Australia news

Watson stands down as vice-captain

Brydon Coverdale

April 20, 2013

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson became Australia's 44th Test captain, India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi, 1st day, March 22, 2013
Shane Watson captained Australia in the fourth Test in India © BCCI
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Shane Watson has stood down as Australia's vice-captain across all formats three months out from the Ashes, declaring that he wants to focus his attention on his own performance. Watson's role as Michael Clarke's deputy was the subject of significant public debate during the recent Test tour to India when he was one of four players suspended for a match for failing to complete a task set by the coach Mickey Arthur.

Later the same day, Watson flew to Sydney for the birth of his first child and while checking out of the team hotel said he would use his time at home to weigh up his cricketing future. However, a few days later Watson committed himself to the team in the long term and rejoined the squad in Delhi, where he captained Australia in the fourth Test when Clarke was unavailable due to his back injury.

But during that match, Watson's disappointing run of batting form continued and he finished the tour with 99 runs at an average of 16.50, a miserable return given that he had chosen to embark on the trip as a batsman only. Watson has not scored a Test century since October 2010 and since becoming vice-captain in 2011 he has managed only 627 Test runs at 24.11.

"Making the decision to step down wasn't easy but it's something I've been thinking about since the Test series against India ended," Watson said. "I think it's the right time for a change for both the team and me. I'll be honest and admit I wrestled with the decision for some time, however once I made up my mind, I informed Cricket Australia so the selectors could consider their options for the Ashes given the squads will be announced soon.

"I want to be the best Test player I can be for Australia and think I can do that by stepping down from the vice-captaincy to focus my attention on scoring runs, taking wickets and doing whatever is necessary to help the team achieve success. I won't be the vice-captain in title but I think I can still be a leader and strong contributor around the group.

"Yesterday I rang John Inverarity, Mickey Arthur and Michael Clarke to advise them of my decision and they respect that decision and agree with me that this is the best outcome for me and the team. I thank Cricket Australia for the leadership opportunity over the past two years and I'm really looking forward to this next phase. In my conversations with Mickey and Michael I reaffirmed my commitment to the team and support for them as we fight to win back the Ashes and get back to being ranked number one in the world."

John Inverarity, the national selector, said: "Shane Watson should be commended for making the tough call to step down from the vice-captaincy to focus on playing. Regardless, he will still be an important senior leader within the team. The national selection panel will now consider and then put a vice-captaincy recommendation to the Cricket Australia Board for its approval."

Watson was named vice-captain to Clarke in March 2011 after Ricky Ponting stood down as the team's leader. He filled in as Australia's captain in nine one-day internationals for five victories as well as leading in the Delhi Test.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by hycIass on (April 22, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

@Jono_hakim some very wise words, hopefully the selectors are listening.

Posted by Mary_786 on (April 21, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

SirViv1973 spot on, we can't make a bloke who is averaging 30 our VC, it has to be Siddle or Warner.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

@Fleming_Mitch, You are right about the rotation policy, the revolving door of selection means that we now have no real clue of what the best xi really is and the departure of Ponting, Hussey and perhaps Watson really exacerbates that. I'm not really sure if we can lay the blame for all the departures at the feet of the selection panel but the hocus pocus attempts to build a solid xi has left a lot to be desired. The shielding of Hughes, the rotation of bowlers, carting Ussie around the world and not playing him, all far from ideal and it makes it hard to take decisions on players going forward, such as making them VC for example.

Posted by Amith_S on (April 21, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

But Pup and Watto don't seem to be on each other's christmas card list despite, having so many obvious things in common.Same age, both like shopping and fashion lol, similar childhood, so maybe one had to go and it was Watto who jumped first.Which is a shame as these 2 have so much in common they could of put aside there natural dislike for each other and work together. If i had to pick a replacement it would probably be Siddle or Johnson. Warner and Khawaja possibly but let these 2 guys focus on their batting as they are needed in the ashes. The guy with the most courage is Siddle and we need a bit of that right now.

Posted by KhanMitch on (April 21, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

Siddle is by far the best option. For a start he is committed to test cricket only, no conflicting priorities and his performances reflect this. CA have got themselves in a bit of trouble here; by the very nature of their self made rotation policy they have made it near impossible for themselves to pick a VC. No one in the current (or most recent) team seems capable to me; personally I would have to make Siddle VC, bring in Khawaja for the ashes and give him a full series as he adds beef to our batting, because if clarkies back goes bust again it could be like a bunch of headless chooks with no-one certain of their position and lack of solid batting.

Posted by   on (April 21, 2013, 0:11 GMT)

Watson should never have been given the vice captaincy in the first place and his selection was a damning indictment on the lack of leadership options in the side. As for his future in the side, the only way I can see him justifying a place is if he is in there purely as a bowler and not as an all-rounder as some are suggesting. His main task as bowler would be to tie down an end building pressure with wickets being a bonus. The end game is for his bowling to continue improving to the point that he could be used as a regular wicket taker. Let's face it, Watson's batting is overrated and it's been based more on hype than on results. An average of 35 and just 2 centuries from a decade of test matches for someone who wants to be called a top order batsman is pathetic.

Posted by RodStark on (April 20, 2013, 23:21 GMT)

I think Australia make far too much fuss about having an official vice-captain. However, that said, they do need someone experienced who could take over if Clarke is injured rather than try to find their next permanent captain at this point. Best choice would be to persuade Hussey to un-retire. Haddin would be a good choice, but they seem to have no desire to drop Wade which that would entail. (I know there's an argument that Haddin could play as batsman, but really?). A very good idea would be Chris Rogers as a short-term fill-in to add the experience and provide the captaincy back up. He's played in england a lot, frequently as captain of a county side.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 21:37 GMT)

Be best now if George Bailey became vice-captain and slotted in at 5 or 6.He is a focused, mature person who just gets on and does the job and takes real pride in his professional efforts.

Posted by hoodbu on (April 20, 2013, 19:21 GMT)

Clearly, bowling in the IPL is more important to him than Australia. Stepping down from vice captaincy is, therefore, no surprise.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

i think australia has one of the best bowling attacks to take advantage of seam and swing conditions if available this summer in england. the only problem is how will the aussie batsmen cope with the swing and seam movement. i can guarantee that its going to be harder for england to beat australia though. the conditions in india are different, so u cant really use that to judge australia for the ashes.

Posted by whoster on (April 20, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

A couple of years ago, Watson was the only other world-class all-rounder after the great Jacques Kallis. Australia have got real problems now his runs are drying up, and with such uncertainty about any future bowling. Unless Watson has an absolute nightmare with the bat leading-up to The Ashes, his place should be safe, simply because the rest of the batsmen, bar Clarke, are also struggling - and his experience should save him. Having said that, I can't imagine that Watson and Clarke are getting along brilliantly after the India fiasco, and if Watson can't contribute with the ball, the management may be tempted to get rid of him. Possibly the biggest problem of all for Australia is that they're hardly overflowing with players of enough quality and experience to take on the Vice Captaincy.

Posted by Batmanian on (April 20, 2013, 16:26 GMT)

@SirViv, I guess the stat that I really like in determining a first-choice quick is the ratio of four or more wicket innings hauls (4+wis). This is the real marker - the bowler's ton (with inflation, the traditional 5wi is now the bowler's 150, which is also the modern batsman's ton, at least in first innings - I'm looking at you, Shane Watson). 4+wis, first class and Tests, both. Pattinson has got a 4+wi once every four innings FC and 5/17 in Tests, which is Bradmanesque (small sample, I know). Siddle is more than six innings to the 4+wi in Tests, and a little better FC - a stock bowler. Which we do need, often but not always. McGrath maintained a record of far fewer than five innings to the 4+wi and got as many 5+wi as 4wi - that's what we want to see a Pattinson or a Cummins achieve, although managing their bodies is nail-biting. So, yeah, can't make Siddle or any other pace bowler VC the way Australia rolls these days.

Posted by runout49 on (April 20, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

Tim Paine. Better batsman and gloveman than Wade. Was Australia's U19 captain in 2004 World Cup.

Posted by ozziespirit on (April 20, 2013, 15:48 GMT)

There goes our chances for any of the Ashes then. Watto was the only top order player who could tackle swing. Hughes, Cowan Clarke are all vulnerable against quality swing bowling, which Australia will be up against.

Posted by Beertjie on (April 20, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

Sensible decision by Watto who wouldn't have played test1. Can't believe some of the comments! Really @Durkheim, Wade? I'm with @Simoc. Haddin for Ashes will give the NSP the chance to see who's taken their chance and solidified their place. After 4 tests anyone else might be dropped on poor form. And who would captain if Clarke were to miss the final test again? Cowen, Warner, Khawaja, Hughes, Wade (as keeper) could all fare badly enough in England to warrant being dropped, so none should be granted immunity of being vc. So given that Clarke needs an experienced player to support him, Haddin has to be that man. Siddle would be second choice, but he may not be first choice bowler for all tests. Once Ashes I is completed the NSP will have a much better idea of what a settled team looks like and can then dispense with Haddin as vc (perhaps even as wk, if Paine has a better start to next season as bat than he had last series). Actually long term he might be the permanent vc as Gilly was.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (April 20, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

Judging from his performances over the past 2 and half yrs Watson is not good enough to be in test team, let alone being VC. Never thought i woud see the day men wearing baggy greens would be so mediocore all round except their captain

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 20, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

@Dr Scott, your absoutley right. Despite a few dogged performances in Ind Cowan's overall record of a 33 ave in 30 inns with 1 ton, not to mention a SR hovering around 40 simply isn't good enough for an opener in modern test cricket. If Aus choose to give him the VC they will have the same problem they have had with Watson, a player with a poor record largely being kept in the side because he is the VC.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 20, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

@Batmanian, Of the octect of bowlers you mentioned PS is the only 1 who has played a significant amount of games & been consistent. For that reason alone he has to be an automatic choice. DP would be the other providing he is fit but so far in his short career his fitness has been suspect. MS though promising remains a work in progress as does JB, who has only played 2 tests against a SRL team who recently struggled to beat a Bang team who have just been beaten by 300 runs by Zim! so very little can be read in to his display in those 2 games. Of the others RH has done well in the games hes played has not played a test in yr due to injury & surely it will just be a matter of time before he bows to the invetiable & retires from the longer format. When MJ gets the ball to swing he is a handful but thats about once every 10 tests, the rest of the time he is a liability, BH is quite similar. As for PC,hes has only played a handful of FC games & not 1 for 18mths.

Posted by 214ty on (April 20, 2013, 14:43 GMT)

I think Mitty2 is on track with his comments. Watson did himself and CA a favor. I cannot see Watson being on the team for too long unless his batting improves dramatically. As I said before test batsmen need to score centuries and big scores, and Watson does not fall in that category. In fact, he does not even have the technique of a test batsman. I dont understand why everyone believes Watson is such an asset to the team.

CA needs to go around the country looking for 3 good young spinners and train them, cause those they have there right now cannot make them win matches. Variety in bowling is the key, and none of them possess that.

Posted by AKS286 on (April 20, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

Sure Clarke is preparing for the farewell of Watto. Some fans tried tooooo hard to convince us that very ordinary below average usman is bradman but the fact is he not good enough to represent queensland.If khwaja come back back again it proves that the quality of batting is fall from 90 degree in Aus.

Posted by Mitty2 on (April 20, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

To be honest, this is great news. The first among inevitable forthcoming steps for him being forever out of the team - the sooner the better.

There's been a long term consensus that he's lazy, laid back and most of all a bad leader. His leadership is clearly epitomized with him not completing the simple task as vice captain in an inexperienced and struggling team - pathetic. His batting has no positives and despite what many say (yes Ian chappell looking at you): "he has the ability to take the game away from a team in a session" - his strike rate is below 50 and he has never posted a high score. He doesn't have the temprement nor the mental wherewithal to be an adequate test batsman.

His bowling is the only positive, but his batting is such a liability that I couldnt care less. It would be better to have five bowlers and no Watson.

On the vice captain note, you'd say it would go to Cowan if his position was more established, and the only next one I can see is siddle.

Posted by Dr.Scott on (April 20, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

I cannot believe people are suggesting Cowan as VC, he should not be in the team at all. He should not even be in the Ashes squad. Cowan is a failure, he is not good enough, he should never play another test for Australia let alone be vice-captain. The three openers for the Ashes should be Warner, Hughes and Rogers.

Posted by Simoc on (April 20, 2013, 12:31 GMT)

Put this one in the to hard basket. Bailey would be good if he could bat but his record was woeful last season. Maybe bring back Haddin. The rest give no confidence at all as leaders which is a likely scenario given Clarkes woes.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (April 20, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

I have to wonder amidst all these developments in Aus cricket in the last year whether actually Clarke as captain is not the problem? Eventually one has to look further than the obvious.

Posted by Batmanian on (April 20, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

@SirViv, Siddle not under threat? Siddle is solidly in a pace octet (with Pattinson, Starc, Harris, Bird, Hilfenhaus [don't laugh - it's England], Johnson + Cummins once fit). Siddle's the workhorse and heart, true, but that's not un-restable. Pattinson when fit (and not rested) is the first picked, but which other two or three depends on context, conditions, and workloads. Even batting comes into it in a team so frail that the Third Coming of Usman Khawaja is seriously on the cards. All of these bowlers can bat a bit, but are suited to different scenarios.

Anyway, if we ever have Pattinson and Cummins fit and in form at the same time, and a decent spinner, it will be like trying to remember who was bowling with McGrath and Warne - just won't matter.

What does matter is it is hard to say who will vice captain - Clarke could be injured, and in any case he needs wise counsel on the field (not sure Ponting or Hussey are missed in terms of tactical nous, but they were experienced)

Posted by Aussiesfalling on (April 20, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

It says something about both Watson and Australian cricket that him resigning as Vice-Captain is an issue and one that the media is focusing on. In comparison, England's change of Test Vice-Captain from Stuart Broad to Matt Prior during the winter sparked little media interest, despite the fact that Broad was actually replaced rather than stepping down of his own accord. Meanwhile, Aussie cricket continues to decline.

Posted by inefekt on (April 20, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

I don't agree that Warner should get the job. The position of Vice Captain requires a certain level of maturity and intellect. Warner has neither.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (April 20, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Not sure how this is 'Ashes woe' as described on the front page. Wasnt appropriate for Watson to remain in this position and hopefully he is going to put all his effort into becoming a better Test player. If he can he can be vital at 6 with his bowling but on current form his place is in jeopardy. My current first Test eleven would be 1. Warner 2. Cowan 3. Rogers 4. Clarke 5. Khawaja 6. Watson 7. Wade 8. Pattinson 9. Starc 10. Harris 11. Lyon

Posted by Meety on (April 20, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

If it wasn't for rumours of being a square peg in a round hole, I think it would be perfect to select Rogers & say "oh by the way your VC too!". A year ago I thought Wade was destined to captain Oz & was the BEST choice to be VC in the short term. Given Wade has not come along with his prime suite (ah keeping), as much as I'd of thought, he probably is the Watto category of needing to concentrate on himself. I suppose it all depends on the job specifications - if it is a just a couple of initials & no extra responsibility - it should go to Warner. If it is as a genuine deputy position, it becomes a bit awkward & I think Cowan is best placed to deal with it - or maybe a return for Hadds?

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 20, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

@Mary_786, I understand what you are saying but I also think it is important to remember that Clarke does have this recurring back problem. Test series are played within a short space of time nowadays and if the issue was to flair up early in a series then it could rule him out for 3 or 4 games at which point the VC would find himself in charge for a lot longer than the odd drinks break!

Posted by Meety on (April 20, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Great news. The worst thing to ever happen to Watto (including injuries), was to get the VC. He hasn't got the mental capacity for the extra burdern. It really means - he will be judged on merit as a player, which is what needed to happen a yr ago. Now it means that Watto should be judged as a player not a player/brains trust member, by the NSP!

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 20, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Interesting to see that almost everyone who was in Ind + Bailey have been mentioned as potential VC, I guess that just shows the lack of stability within the Aus side at the moment. For what it's worth I would probably go with Warner. Other than Siddle he is probably the only player who's player is not under threat right now.

Posted by atpoint on (April 20, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

My best guess is that Watson was asked by the NSP to step down because of the ongoing friction with Michael Clarke and ahead of the naming of teams for England. The panel will select Wade as VP but not with any intention of him taking over captaincy. The search for captaincy candidates and long-term young batting prospects continues ...

Posted by SirViv1973 on (April 20, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

This must bring in to question Watson's place on the ashes tour & his whole future in the test side. His record as a middle order batsman is poor although his stats as an opener are quite good despite the lack of 100s. I think Aus will stick with Cowan & Warner for the ashes which would rule out a return to the top of the order, so unless Watson is fit enough to bowl it's difficult to justify his selection as a specialist middle order batsman. The problem is if he is selected as an allrounder he has a history of breaking down. The logical decision would be for Watson to retire from test cricket & continue as a ltd overs specialist where his game has always seemed better suited.

Posted by FIPL on (April 20, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

I think Australian Cricket Board should SERIOUSLY CONSIDER bringing CAMERON WHITE in and made him deputy to Clarke. White definitely has the potential to become a good leader

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (April 20, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

Watson will continue to be an important member of the team with ball and bat. We are fortunate to have a great captain in Clarke and so nothing changes. Agree with the options listed by most folks in Siddle, Warner and Wade, I think it will be one of them. Khawaja is a good future choice too but he needs to get a chance which i am sure will be in the ashes as he is a class act.. Haddin could also be a choice but I think Wade is ahead of him as long as he holds on to his catches, but we are lucky to have a guy of Haddin's class as our second man in waiting.

Posted by Clyde on (April 20, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

It is no use batting Watson anywhere but opener. He should open with Cowan, who may come good for runs in a few more years (if he doesn't, dispense with him). Warner is still just a roll of the dice as an opener and I don't see this improving if he stays an opener. To focus his mind, he needs to go right down the list to where he may run out of batsmen at the other end. And his muscular technique lends itself to hefting slower bowling to the fence. I would also bat Hughes well down, as he his just not much good yet. I would advocate not trying to win the Ashes, but playing them well. It means finding some potentially good batsmen and trying them out and accepting a lower Australian result profile in Test cricket. We need new batsmen who play well and we need to leave it to them whether they score runs or not. Australia will never succeed while the coaches and other cricket professionals are all over batsmen, adding to pressure from the proper, on-field opposition.

Posted by hycIass on (April 20, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

There is a leadership vaccum in the Australian Test XI at the minute. There are no viable options to replace Shane Watson and it makes you wonder if Arthur wants to create a YES MAN culture in the TEST XI. On a second point, the responsiblity of a lack of future leaders should rest on the previous selectors who failed to blood in young batsmen (Khawaja, Finch, Marsh, Moses and Warner)in 2006-2009 to prepare them for leaders. As for now Siddle or Lyon should get the node, possibly Warner. And Edward yes Khawaja is a great future prospect but let him get a few games under his belt first and its tough to go past a guy such as Siddle, the kind of guy you want on your side in a tough siutation. And yes I am Victorian but that doesn't come into the equation of who the VC should be.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (April 20, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

Mary is spot on. The captain calls the shots, and the vice captain is ONLY there in case the real captain can take no further part. Hence the term VICE-captain. Does a Naval captain call the shots, or his 2nd in command ? Does a CEO call the shots, or does his assistant ? It all looks good on paper and lets the next in line [vice] know that "we're thinking of you", but has little meanin after this. In the options I would go for Warner too and Siddle is not bad, but keep in mind Haddin if he wins his spot back from Wade. Khawaja is a good future captain as well but I would first focus on giving him his hit which he hasn't had yet. Smith is also not ready. Watson needs to bowl again and i am sure he will in the ashes.

Posted by Mary_786 on (April 20, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

@Sunil some valid points, i am dissapointed to see Watson go as VC but keep in mind that this role is not that important. When the skipper goes off for a drink!!!!! the VC takes over on the field. The administration pick the team, the skipper makes the bowling changes and sets the field. Stepping down as VC is like changing your brand of deodorant. Initially you notice a difference then everything goes back to normal or in Australia's case back to dreadful - (at the moment), lets hope the administration make one good decision this year.Personally i would go for either Warner or Lyon, but it has to be a player who feels safe about their position in the team. Khawaja comes in regardless of who the VC is as that doesn't impact who our top 6 batsman is, and yes Watson must bowl, he is too valuable not to be bowling.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

I think they┬┤ll hand it over to Cowan for the Ashes series to start with and longer term if he does well there. Having already captained the A team on its tour of England last year I think its an obvious move, the selectors will just be wishing he had more runs against his name. Warner, Hughes, Wade, Smith et al need to be allowed to continue to focus on their own personal performance. Picking any of them now would suggest they will succeed Clarke as captain but it is far too early for any of them to be given that burden, far better to give it to an old head.

Posted by wix99 on (April 20, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

I am not sure if it is that important to name a permanent vice captain. It can be done on a series by series basis. I think Wade and Warner are the two obvious candidates and the selectors should give them some captaincy opportunities in some of the tour matches or limited overs games.

Posted by srriaj317 on (April 20, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

Not a bad decision - might help Watson fight for his place with performances. However who's going to take over? By experience, it should be Haddin or Bailey but are they in the team? I just hope it's not going to be Wade who is simply costing the team with his keeping and is certainly no better than Haddin/Paine at batting. If Cowan can convert his numerous failed starts, he might have a chance at it.

Posted by Teachers on (April 20, 2013, 6:30 GMT)

This is going to be an interesting development. With Watson now out of the v/c job, the selectors have an open field to pick the new v/c from the team selected for the tour. I believe that Clarke's risky back will always be an issue. Ideally, making Haddin v/c would have been a good choice if he was first choice keeper (there is a good chance that he will make the tour as back up keeper anyway, as also for his experience), which is why I believe that it will be either the reliable Cowan or the undependable Warner who will be picked for v/c, none of whom have any real experience in captaining. There seems to be no other choice at the moment, this could change when the they return to play the Ashes at home.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (April 20, 2013, 6:23 GMT)

Warner, Hughes and Wade aren't good enough for tests and shouldn't play in the Ashes, so the VC is still up for grabs for tests at least.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 20, 2013, 6:06 GMT)

I'm not sure there is any worry about a new VC - they rarely get to lead the team - most senior players have as much say as the VC along with the Keeper on the field... The biggest problem is those seniors have all left in recent months - Huss, Punter or dropped in Haddin.... Much will depend on the squad - Warner was named as a potential captain years ago, Cowan has lead Aust A - other possibles haven't shown leadership skills recently... Smith could be a future candidate if he gets game time & runs... As much as I see Bailey as the best FC captain in Oz by a big margin he would be seen as a "senior" if he gets any Test starts - he needs to be picked first... No one has mentioned the fact that Clarke himself will have a big call on who he wants as his VC - that in itself could be a story worth following...

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 20, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

Nothing surprising in this news - Watto has been the worst performing batsman for the last 2 years, with his bowling just keeping him in the team... Hughes, North were dropped when in better form - North at least managed 5 centuries in his 35 Test innings to Watto 2 centuries in 75 innings...

I've never heard of any Oz player who gives out nearly weekly press releases on what he wants to do in the team next - bat as opener, no.3/4, anywhere if needed, then bowl, not bowl, leave a series in a hissy fit then gets selected as captain after disciplinary action - he is more of a distruption to the team focus & performance than anything he brings to the team on the field... Either perform regularly & get decent runs or get dropped - its as simple as that...

Posted by Rajit on (April 20, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

Watson has been an overrated test cricketer anyways so doesn't make sense keeping him as the "man in waiting" if he isn't a good contributor in the longest format.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

well he would have been kicked out anyways. aussies should in the same vein make warner step down, Watson, Warner, Maxwell , Henriques , doherty, steve smith and hughes are excess baggages. the selectory should bury their egos and recall chris rogers, Brad hodge and give baggy greens to Cosgrove and fergusson. we need serious batters and bowlers, even if they are inexpereinced and not some one who can do bits and pieces of both. my ashes squad will be Cowan,Rogers,Cosgrove,Khwaja,Clarke,Fergusson,Wade,Pattinson,Starc,Bird,Lyon, Siddle, Harris,Hartley,Burns

Posted by Thefakebook on (April 20, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

I respect your decision Watto. He knows his test future is too bleak and if he fails in Ashes that's it for him.Hope this move improves his performance bit better as there will be less pressure.As far as VC post goes its a bit tough but Warner is the only guy who is a regular in all 3 formats so too obvious isn't it?

Posted by Gun79 on (April 20, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

Watson is a one of best all rounders Australia ever produced. He is a gentlemen and true leader. This is a bad period of Watson since he was out of form. So I wish him all the best and hope he will get back to his colors and drive Rajestan for the second win. By the time if Australia want to avoid a shameful defeat against England, They should consider call back the inform old machines such as Mr Cricket, Hodge, Marsh, Tait, and White

Posted by AKS286 on (April 20, 2013, 5:39 GMT)

The problems of Australia regarding management, senior players, ego, dual parameters, selection, etc only be solved if clarke's step down as a captain. Steven Smith or a unknown player is a good option for captaincy. remember when Graeme Smith becomes captain.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 5:37 GMT)

The best choice for the Aussies team to select vice-captaincy for the long term basis is Steven smith... i think he is a very talented young player being wasted without given much of a chance.. he is very aggressive by a nature and i feel he certainly has the potential to lead the team in near future. He will certainly succeed to Clarke as captain given his true abilities.....

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

Watson You Beauty really...good decision..as am one of ur Indian Fan, i liked it..;-))

Posted by AKS286 on (April 20, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Clarke fails in this decision or hits in this decision ? Clarke don't accept him as VC or this is the fair well of Watto. axing senior in a old bottle with a new wine. wisely to retire Watto by Clarke. @Posted by Ms.Cricket on (April 20, 2013, 4:43 GMT) Fella Clarke's boys fails in home as well in overseas and domestic too.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Good decision if you are struggling to do well. a VC comes into play only when the skipper is out of action. Else any player can contribute to ideas and strategies in team meetings and even run in and have a word with the skipper while on the field. Only the team culture should make it clear and open for that to happen. Atm no obvious candidate seems to suggest himself for the summer tour but I guess Ed Cowan wd be the best possible choice amongst the near certainties for the tour. Siddle or Mitch Johnson wd have been better choices but with fast bowlers one does not know when an injury may sideline them.

Posted by 58cans on (April 20, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

The NSP should take a punt on Bailey name him VC .He has a good cricket brain,runs and would much needed steel for the middle order

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (April 20, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

I was surprised that Watson was picked as vice captain in the first place, because Watson is a player that needs to be managed, to make sure that he bowls enough but not too much that he gets injured, that he bats in the right spot, and so forth. As for an alternative, what with players being chopped and changed all over the place, there are really only 2 choices: David Warner or Matthew Wade. My money is on Warner to get the nod.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

That's honest by one of my favorite cricketers worldwide... Shane Watson... He will now be completely focused on scoring runs and taking wickets and that will be beneficial for both the team as well as himself... But the question here is, that who will take over now?? As they don't have much senior players in the team who are permanent... I guess they only have the option of David Warner...

Posted by Bigskyrocket on (April 20, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

When has Australia ever kept consistently selecting a batsman who averages in the mid twenties? not since the 1890's. there were reasons for that then. In the meantime a fine batsman like david hussey who averages in the low 50's in first class has probably missed his opportunity to ever play test cricket for his country. add other consistent performers like rogers, ferguson, khawaja, and even bailey. all could have deserve a chance in the last two years. its criminal.

Posted by Batmanian on (April 20, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

@landl47, the specialty captain isn't totally new to Australia. What about the second incarnation of Bob Simpson? Not that he didn't bat well too, at times. Bailey should get a look in. White just had too many desultory performances in the spotlight - it was pretty clear his inconsistent batting (which is great when it flows) would be cut a lot of slack for his cricket brain... if only he had stuck with his bowling - however unpromising -, he'd half-tick enough boxes.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (April 20, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

Dissapointing to see him go as VC but it gives a younger player such as Warner or Siddle the chance to become VC. @nthuq I would also bring in Khawaja as the speciaslist bat and the conditinons in England will suite him. Also we need Watson bowling, his as a batsman alone may not work.

Posted by xylo on (April 20, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

Watson has made the right decision. Now, it is up to CA to make the right decision and drop him from the Test side.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (April 20, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

This seems a forced decision with Clarke, Arthur and Inverarity always criticizing Watson in the media lately. Watson would have been best choice for vice-captain for the Ashes. Lots of overseas batsmen including Ponting have failed in India so Watson failing was no bg deal except that the current selectors, coach and captain seem to make it so.

Posted by landl47 on (April 20, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

England has something of a history of bringing players in specifically to captain (Illingworth, Lewis, Denness, Brearley) but it's something new for Australia. However, since this is only the VC position, it's hard to think that anyone would be brought in who wouldn't otherwise be in the side. There really aren't a lot of candidates; Cowan and Warner would seem to be the most likely. I guess Siddle is a possibility, but fast bowlers have to take a lot out of themselves on the field anyway, without adding captaincy to their burden.

The best candidate to replace Clarke as captain if necessary would be Bailey, but he isn't even certain to be in the squad, let alone the side. Still, if he gets the nod to be in the squad, maybe he will pick up the VC role as well.

Posted by PrasPunter on (April 20, 2013, 4:29 GMT)

Cowan - my pick. I think he did reasonably well in our ill-fated tour of india. Someone who puts a lot of premium on his wicket. A good candidate. Big NO for the big-mouthed Warner. And yes, Ashes I might well be the last for Watto, if he doesn't show up.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (April 20, 2013, 4:26 GMT)

Fawad Ahmed for VC anyone? Seriously this is a joke, there's only two men with relatively secure places in the team other than Clarke and that's Sidds and Warner, surely one of those two has to be the vice captain? More than likely Warner since you can quite easily see Sidds being forced out due to the overwhelming talent we seem to have in our fast bowling ranks: Bird, Pattinson, Starc and Cummins (if he's ever fit). I suppose maybe even Phil Hughes would be worth a shot, I mean he had a good series against SL and even Michael Clarke struggled in India up until the recent series (which was by no means Clarke-esque), either way Hughes just looks to me like he has the dedication to put in the hard work to becoming Australia's second best batsman and VC.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

It is a good decision because without any profound personal performance and being in the team is itself questionable. But again a problem in Australian Cricket about future captain. As once Ian Chapell said, there is no future captain visible from here, so I think Aussies selectors should now think to select some one who could replace clarke in Future.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

Watson made the right decision. As pointed out he has had a terrible couple of years with the bat and must be coasting on goodwill by now. As much as I think he has had plenty of opportunities to make runs other players have failed even worse when put into the test team. Haddin and Ponting were forced out due to terrible form, older replacements like Quiney and Marsh were walking wickets and none of the debutantes in India really stood up and grasped their chances. I honestly can't think of a credible VC swap for Watson with the current batch of players. My crazy pie-in-the-sky idea is to swap out Lyon for Maxwell. Maxwell is aggressive, is an equally good bowler as Lyon and a much better batsman, and let Maxwell learn captaincy with the long-term goal of letting him take the all-rounders spot IF he proves himself. Totally crazy I know but options are very few on the ground.

Posted by Eightfa on (April 20, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

In my ashes squad Sean marsh would be vc and batting at 5 Warner Cowen Hughes Clarke marsh Watson/smith wade starc pattinson Siddle Lyon then kawarja smith/ Watson Harris bird Hartley These guys are probably the best cricketers in Australia at the moment Selectors should forget about bits and pieces players for a while especially for test matches Ps Watson needs to bowl

Posted by DauD_ on (April 20, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

David Warner should be made Vice Captain.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

Good move. Leaves way open for selectors to drop him, which would be the best call. Self-absorbed, over-rated, injury prone. Cowan for vice captain, a dedicated contributor, not a show pony.

Posted by nthuq on (April 20, 2013, 3:50 GMT)

Good decision Shane Watson, I commend you on this. Now we can finally put him back into Shield cricket and buy his way back into the test team with runs, wickets, and a display of durability. He remains a strong fixture for the one day and T20 squads, obviously. I hope they replace him with a specialist bat, ideally Khawaja, and not another bits and pieces allrounder.

The problem is, who to replace him as vice captain?

Posted by TheJake on (April 20, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

Thank god. Nobody wants a vice-captain that is this inconsistent and plays less than half the matches. Without bowling he is nothing but a liability to the Test team. The vice-captaincy was the only thing keeping him from being dropped from Tests. When he opens he gets the opposition to a great start, and even if he bats lower he is not much better than Siddle, Starc or Pattinson. Even Nathan Lyon lasted longer with the bat in India

Posted by   on (April 20, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

Cool Wato..!! Its just u showed a flop show in subcontinental track during tests...Most of the oversea batsman struggle againnst spin !! I am sure you will be explosive @ ashes.......!

Posted by Moppa on (April 20, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

I think the right call by Watto. IMO he was lucky to regain his spot for the 4th Test in India, let alone be made captain. This decision shows that he recognises that his Test career hangs by a thread - it would be amazing, but here's hoping he can finally deliver as a Test batsman during the Ashes, whilst remaining fit to bowl a few handy overs. Having said all that - who will be vice captain?!?! Cowan, Warner, Wade, Haddin, Siddle the only plausible contenders, with my money actually on Cowan. My reasoning is: Warner is too aggressive and not consistently in control of his emotions; Wade is far from cemented in the first team and VC pressures would not help his fragile keeping; Haddin has pedigree but isn't in the team, and I don't think the selectors would change the team simply to bring in a VC; Siddle to me has amongst the best character and leadership potential, but bowlers are not favoured for these positions.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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