Australia in India, 2012-13 March 12, 2013

Where to for Watson?

Shane Watson is Australia's vice-captain but he needs to lift his game off the field and on it
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The so-called homework task set by Mickey Arthur last week required a great amount of reflection from Australia's players on the way they and the team were performing. Few members of the squad had as much cause for self-assessment as Shane Watson. That is even more so now, after his axing from the side and subsequent departure from the tour. Put simply, Watson needs to lift his game both off the field and on it. He is the vice-captain, but whether he remains so is yet to be seen.

It must be said that the severe penalties handed out to Watson and three other players were not solely the result of failing to complete Arthur's task. Throughout the tour the attitude from the wider playing group has been lax. Players have missed appointments with the team physio, arrived late for team meetings, worn the wrong uniforms - there have been all manner of minor infractions that built up to the team management saying "no more".

But that is all the more reason for the vice-captain to help lead a young side by example. He should have been proactive. He should have been doing everything in his power to help the side lift. If part of that was coming up with ways he and the team could improve, he should have been brimming with ideas. Michael Clarke didn't forget about the task or misunderstand when it was to be completed.

In the past year the Test team has lost three senior men: Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin. That leaves Clarke with an enormous burden and there is a feeling that Watson has not helped him carry it adequately. Perhaps in the homework task he could have highlighted his leadership as an area for improvement. Perhaps not completing the task in an embarrassing week for the team said it all.

After the players were informed of their fate, Watson flew home to Australia to be with his pregnant wife. There is no problem there. But when asked by journalists to comment on the penalty, Watson could have accepted the decision with grace and conceded that he had erred. He could have said Test cricket remained his priority. Instead he called it a "very harsh" punishment and said he would weigh up his future at home. They were not the words of a leader of men.

Watson's relationship with Michael Clarke has never been strong. They are not enemies, but nor are they close confidants. On Tuesday, Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's team performance manager, alluded to "issues" between Clarke and Watson. Upon arriving home in Sydney, Watson said things were "going really well" between himself and Clarke at the moment. His comments in Chandigarh won't have helped that.

If Watson wants to weigh up his future, he would do well to consider his past. And here is a fact that should jolt him: in the past two years, Rob Quiney is the only top-six batsman with a worse Test batting average for Australia. In that time - which corresponds with Watson becoming vice-captain - he has played 13 Tests and averaged 25.20 with the bat. He's made four half-centuries in 24 innings. No hundreds.

Consider some of the players with better batting averages than Watson in that two-year period: Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja, Ed Cowan, even James Pattinson. It might seem disingenuous to look only at his batting, for Watson has also collected 19 wickets in that time. But his primary role in the side is as a top-order run scorer. On that alone he is failing to deliver. Watson's experience is valuable but he is not an indispensable member of the team.

It could be argued that Watson's struggles have also coincided with his move down the order. The only two centuries in his 40-Test career came as an opener. But in his time as vice-captain and opener, he scored 192 runs at 20.22 on tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa. A calf injury then ruled him out of the 2011-12 home summer and allowed Cowan and David Warner to settle in as a consistent opening pair.

By the time Watson returned for the next tour of the West Indies, the opening spots were taken and he had to make do at No. 3. His slide down the order continued to No.4 when Phillip Hughes rejoined the side at first drop after Ricky Ponting's retirement. And the lack of runs that began when he was still opening continued. He had looked in reasonable touch in the first two Tests in India but could not survive for an hour in any one of his four innings.

The Mohali Test might have provided some relief for Watson, for it was at this venue, two and a half years ago, that he scored his last Test hundred. Now he won't get the chance to reprise it. Instead, he will be at home, waiting for the birth of his first child. And thinking about his cricketing past and future. He will look back at a disappointing Indian tour, and at an as-yet unfulfilled Test career.

His injury-prone body has not helped. Since his Test debut, he has missed 51 of a possible 91 Tests, the majority through injuries. For now, he has given up bowling in an effort to stay fit, but he has never shown any inclination to give his body a rest by reducing his non-Test commitments, the IPL for example. Chances are he won't be back in India for the fourth Test, but will be for the IPL that follows.

After that, who knows? But if Watson didn't have time for reflection last week, he certainly does now.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dangertroy on March 12, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Good article Brydon. I agree with your comments regarding the way he should of responded to his being dropped. This is not the way a vice captain should behave, it shows a lack of leadership, and a lack of class. I can't see how he can carry on as vice captain after all of this. What I'm not sure of is who takes his place as VC. Apart from Clarke, whose place in the team is secure? Wade, Warner and Cowan are the most stable, but there has been calls for all three to be dropped in recent times. Siddle is also fairly stable, but as a bowler is likely to be rotated, and the vc should be there for all matches. I'd like it to go to Cowan, he seems the most mature, and I think a show of support like that can only help his confidence.

  • Barnesy4444 on March 14, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    Mike Hussey states he only had a few days to prepare for an Indian tour in 2010. He performed badly, and that poor form continued for the next series and it nearly cost him his place. How will Watson prepare for the 2 Ashes? IPL? One score of 80 against Sri Lanka at home is all he will have in 8 months. Punter did use him much better though, opener and only a few overs. Clarke has misused him. I have never seen Watson as Vice Captain material I'm afraid.

  • jwfa on March 14, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    I think Watson has a serious problem with authority. Maybe he should not play again for Australia. His comments on arrival do nothing to advance his case for reinstatement . He has obviously learnt nothing. Let him go.

  • on March 14, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Shane Watson now faces a fundamental problem: he is an all-rounder attempting to pass as a specialist batsman. Whilst I can still recall the prolific run scoring he contributed as an opener (mainly against pace bowling, but nevertheless high quality pace bowling) I have always felt Watson is a confidence player in the same vein as Mitchell Johnson-top bowling leads to top batting. And really, why wouldn't it? Batting is a cruel art, with that nagging possibility of being subjected to a jaffer on your first ball faced; or the (now mostly alleviated) possibility of copping a shocking lbw before you've got a start. It's little wonder that for Watson top quality bowling was a safety net that gave him the mental confidence to bat so beautifully a couple of years ago. I remember lamenting the news that Watson would no longer bowl, because I felt there was a good chance he would no longer bat as well. Here's hoping the joy of a new child (may he/she be healthy) will symbolize a dad's rebirth.

  • elsmallo on March 14, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    I felt sorry for Watson initially - one can hardly argue that he's not worked hard to represent Australia given the long months he's spent out of the game. Long hours in, I'd assume, some considerable physical pain, not to mention disappointment and frustration at not being able to play. I'd probably take this punishment as a slap in the face given the injury history alone - he probably feels he's had a hard time and his 'unfulfilled' Test career will be a source of regret for him as much as any. The numbers don't paint a great picture, however, and in a way he sums up Australia's essential current problem - the players just aren't quite as good now as they once were. I wonder if this is something we can blame on 20/20 - has the Sheffield Shield, for so many years lionised here in England as the source of Australia's many world-class cricketers - mentally, technically and physically tough players - been tarnished by the easy success formula of 20/20?

  • CoverDrive888 on March 14, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with Bob Young. Dropping the vc because the team as a whole is a bit sloppy on stuff that would only be of concern in the military just reflects on teh quality of the management team.

  • on March 13, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    The author does raise some good points but still there is a nagging feeling that he's avoiding the elephant in the room. Although, as a New Zealander I suppose if this keeps up a few more Tests might go our way ;)

  • big_al_81 on March 13, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Nailed it again in this article. Spot on throughout. And for those saying how indispensable Watson is, perhaps you could engage with Watson's average as a top order batsmen a) overall and then b) in the last two years. It seems significant that several of Watson's defenders are Indian and I fear that Watson's undoubted excellence in short form cricket has blinded many to his obvious failings at Test level. With 2 centuries from 40 tests several other nations would have given up on the batting experiment by now. IF he has a test future, and I think he could, it's back at 6 or 7 as the best all-rounder Australia currently have.

  • on March 13, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    true that! but i think its too harsh and deep down everyone knows what he is capable when at his best. So certainly losing him from the test squad would be naive step towards disaster

  • CustomKid on March 13, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    If this means Watson never plays another test I'll be a happy man.

  • Dangertroy on March 12, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    Good article Brydon. I agree with your comments regarding the way he should of responded to his being dropped. This is not the way a vice captain should behave, it shows a lack of leadership, and a lack of class. I can't see how he can carry on as vice captain after all of this. What I'm not sure of is who takes his place as VC. Apart from Clarke, whose place in the team is secure? Wade, Warner and Cowan are the most stable, but there has been calls for all three to be dropped in recent times. Siddle is also fairly stable, but as a bowler is likely to be rotated, and the vc should be there for all matches. I'd like it to go to Cowan, he seems the most mature, and I think a show of support like that can only help his confidence.

  • Barnesy4444 on March 14, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    Mike Hussey states he only had a few days to prepare for an Indian tour in 2010. He performed badly, and that poor form continued for the next series and it nearly cost him his place. How will Watson prepare for the 2 Ashes? IPL? One score of 80 against Sri Lanka at home is all he will have in 8 months. Punter did use him much better though, opener and only a few overs. Clarke has misused him. I have never seen Watson as Vice Captain material I'm afraid.

  • jwfa on March 14, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    I think Watson has a serious problem with authority. Maybe he should not play again for Australia. His comments on arrival do nothing to advance his case for reinstatement . He has obviously learnt nothing. Let him go.

  • on March 14, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Shane Watson now faces a fundamental problem: he is an all-rounder attempting to pass as a specialist batsman. Whilst I can still recall the prolific run scoring he contributed as an opener (mainly against pace bowling, but nevertheless high quality pace bowling) I have always felt Watson is a confidence player in the same vein as Mitchell Johnson-top bowling leads to top batting. And really, why wouldn't it? Batting is a cruel art, with that nagging possibility of being subjected to a jaffer on your first ball faced; or the (now mostly alleviated) possibility of copping a shocking lbw before you've got a start. It's little wonder that for Watson top quality bowling was a safety net that gave him the mental confidence to bat so beautifully a couple of years ago. I remember lamenting the news that Watson would no longer bowl, because I felt there was a good chance he would no longer bat as well. Here's hoping the joy of a new child (may he/she be healthy) will symbolize a dad's rebirth.

  • elsmallo on March 14, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    I felt sorry for Watson initially - one can hardly argue that he's not worked hard to represent Australia given the long months he's spent out of the game. Long hours in, I'd assume, some considerable physical pain, not to mention disappointment and frustration at not being able to play. I'd probably take this punishment as a slap in the face given the injury history alone - he probably feels he's had a hard time and his 'unfulfilled' Test career will be a source of regret for him as much as any. The numbers don't paint a great picture, however, and in a way he sums up Australia's essential current problem - the players just aren't quite as good now as they once were. I wonder if this is something we can blame on 20/20 - has the Sheffield Shield, for so many years lionised here in England as the source of Australia's many world-class cricketers - mentally, technically and physically tough players - been tarnished by the easy success formula of 20/20?

  • CoverDrive888 on March 14, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with Bob Young. Dropping the vc because the team as a whole is a bit sloppy on stuff that would only be of concern in the military just reflects on teh quality of the management team.

  • on March 13, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    The author does raise some good points but still there is a nagging feeling that he's avoiding the elephant in the room. Although, as a New Zealander I suppose if this keeps up a few more Tests might go our way ;)

  • big_al_81 on March 13, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    Nailed it again in this article. Spot on throughout. And for those saying how indispensable Watson is, perhaps you could engage with Watson's average as a top order batsmen a) overall and then b) in the last two years. It seems significant that several of Watson's defenders are Indian and I fear that Watson's undoubted excellence in short form cricket has blinded many to his obvious failings at Test level. With 2 centuries from 40 tests several other nations would have given up on the batting experiment by now. IF he has a test future, and I think he could, it's back at 6 or 7 as the best all-rounder Australia currently have.

  • on March 13, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    true that! but i think its too harsh and deep down everyone knows what he is capable when at his best. So certainly losing him from the test squad would be naive step towards disaster

  • CustomKid on March 13, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    If this means Watson never plays another test I'll be a happy man.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on March 13, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Its a sign of the low ebb that Australia's batting stocks have reached that they have bent over backwards to accomodate a batsman who is rarely fit and has averaged in the 20's. Am sure there are plenty of fringe players from years gone by (Law, Hodge, Moody etc) who wish they were born into this era. Watson has talent but does he have the toughness and the ticker? Ive always doubted it and will say again that he will never play in a winning Ashes side. In the absence of a wide number of options I'd rather see young players blooded (who will obviously fail at times) but at least look to the future. When Australia were beaten at home by England in 1986/87 they ended the series with the likes of Geoff Marsh, David Boon, Dean Jones & Steve Waugh in the top order. By the time they got to 1989 they added Mark Taylor and won 4-0. Its time to turn to the likes of Mitchell Marsh (if Watson is to be replaced as an all-rounder) or Joe Burns & Alex Doolan as batsmen.

  • on March 13, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    The punishment should fit the crime. Banning the players from a Test match is similar to sentencing someone to twenty years hard labour for stealing some bread. Perhaps a reprimand or a fine or both would have sufficed.

    And regarding the IPL, as the Ashes are coming up, Clarke should also take the hard decision of not playing so that he is fit for the Ashes. But I doubt whether we will see that ever happening. Rules like everyone is equal, etc. are applied to people based on their position, meaning that Clarke, as leader of the side is immune from these types of punishments.

  • amitgarg78 on March 13, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Interesting article. While Watson's comments around "weighing up future" do seem out of line as a leader in the team, the question to ask is what was the communication to him up until that time? Was he told of all the things that led to it or was he given the impression that his inability to respond in time was the only reason? The subsequent comments from Mr. Howard, criticizing Watson don't help either. Someone clearly needs to get both sides to sit and talk through this mess.

  • laduma on March 13, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Micheal Clarke has once again shown his heavy handedness when dealing with players as in the case with Simon Katich. this punishment is rather harsh. This shows a reactionary type of management rather than pro-active. Clarke is failing in man management

  • on March 13, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Managements fault. totally. !! Why did the management let all these infringements of the code or team ethic, call it what you will, get to the state when they needed to hand out such harsh punishments. That's the major failing here, not the performance of Watson. Whether or not Watson is a good enough player and vice-captain of this Australian side is again a management failure. He's been around the system long enough now for people to know his capabilities, and they selected him and promoted him. Being a Pom, I have no particular axe to grind about Watson, but I feel he is now copping the flack for a whole series of problems created within the hierarchy. It's handy to have a scapegoat, but it isn't the fault of just one man that this Australian side is one of the worse to ever don the Baggy Green.. That failure rests with CA, not with Watson

  • venkatesh018 on March 13, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Let us not over analyse this. Watson made a mistake and he has been punished for it, rightly or not. But all the talk of Watson failing to contribute on the field is rubbish. He has looked Australia's best batsman after Michael Clarke. And he is gold dust in a team comprising Hughes, Wade and Warner in the top six!

  • SRK666 on March 13, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    Good article, raising a number of relevant points. But I think this episode is unflattering for both Watson and Clarke/Arthur/management.

    It reflects poorly on Watson because he's officially a leader of the team, and he's a senior player in a young inexperienced side. He may well be unhappy with some aspects of management (whether or not that's justified); but it's bad form, and a bad example, for him to show this dissatisfaction by simply ignoring the coach's requests. He could have spoken to Arthur that he's feeling worn down by all the micromanagement and so on, and they could have tried to reach a compromise.

    This also reflects poorly on Clarke/Arthur/management because even though Watson's form has been mediocre, he would certainly have loomed large in Ashes planning. There'll need to be a lot of patching up to do before Watson comes back into the fold, one thinks. If Clarke/Arthur had been more flexible and sensitive to individual requirements, Watson may not have blown up.

  • righthandbat on March 13, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    Very simple for Watson - no more test cricket, focus on being the world's best allrounder in ODIs and T20.

  • LisaDun on March 13, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    For injury-prone players like Malinga and Watson, IPL is not as risky as test cricket. The article makes it sound as though players participating in IPL are selfish sinners.

  • on March 13, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Nice article by Brydon Coverdale. You have to be very disciplined at this level.As a vice-captain, he should have submitted the homework to coach.He seems to lack quality of being a good leader as vice-captain. It was not big task asked to do. A short SMS to coach could have saved him from being axed from test match. Brave decision taken by Michael Clarke, a good leadership quality.

  • HatsforBats on March 13, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    @baghels.a, you have missed the point of the article by a very wide margin. This article is about Watson's commitment to and role within the Australian test team. The IPL is mentioned to indicate that in no way are test matches his priority. A bit defensive maybe?

  • on March 13, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    To be honest I consider Watson to be a better bowler than a batsman. When the pitch is doing a bit or has uneven bounce, he is probably the most dangerous bowler in the side. He just knows how to get the ball in the right areas. His batting is unreliable and he doesn't seem capable of playing long innings. He often gets starts but gets completely bogged down after making 50 or so. He just runs out of steam. For him to warrant a place in the side he needs to start bowling again, but he seems to have ruled that out.

  • RodStark on March 13, 2013, 1:10 GMT

    It seems as though Watson is becoming Australia's KP without the talent that makes him vital to his team.

  • Josh1942 on March 13, 2013, 0:50 GMT

    Watson is,I believe, 31. (only 6 years younger than Kallis but light years away from that class!) If he wants to become a proven classy test all rounder then perhaps he better make a start don't you think? Somewhere along the way he believed all the praise written about him and so far performance has not matched expectations.A leader has to show some guts. It would have been quite simple for him to front up to Arthur and tell him he did not agree with the task and why. But, apparently, he said nothing during or after the team meeting. If so, a gutless act and time he had a good look in the mirror. If he had been performing up to his hype he may have got away with it. But the fact is he is an under performer and too much of a distraction because he does not want to be a team player. Arthur's record as a coach is outstanding.He has the runs on the board. Does Watson?

  • davidintheusa on March 13, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    What did Jaques Kallis do when South Africa were struggling with their change-of-the-guard....?

    Oh yes! He committed himself, his considerable talent and his leadership skills to the rebuilding and development of the team and the nurturing of his new skipper.

  • on March 13, 2013, 0:20 GMT

    Spot on, Brydon. Will be interesting to see if his reflections lead him to any conclusions of value to Australian Test Cricket.

  • bobagorof on March 13, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    The penalties handed out show a failure from the management in communicating with the players - communicating the expectations, and communicating the penalties if those expectations are not met - which culminated in a 'one size fits all' penalty for this "line in the sand" task, regardless of any previous infractions by that player. Did the players know that failing this task, as opposed to numerous others, was a sackable offence?

    Having said that, I've never been impressed by Watson's maturity or sense of responsibility and I was surprised he was made Vice-captain - a decision prompted, I think, by a lack of alternatives. After this lapse in judgement and not promoting the new team culture, I think Watson faces an uphill battle to retain his position. I believe he can do it, but he will have to work very hard to justify his retention. Over the last 18 months, I think Cowan and Warner have emerged as other potential Vice-captaincy candidates as their positions are somewhat secure.

  • on March 12, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    Brydon, the dig at Watson for playing in the IPL is nonsense. Go and see who he was playing for during IPL2. You'll find he was playing for Australia against Pakistan. If you're going to blast a man, at least be professional enough to get your facts right.

    Compare and contrast the two men and how they've been treated. Clarke was the boy wonder, the eventual heir apparent. After his run scoring prior to this tour, he should have moved up. Watson on the other hand has been shunted all over the place and taken on an all-rounder role when he really should have quit and focused on batting. Watching him warm up before the 2009 Cardiff Test, he moved like an arthritic armchair.AS as CA can't sort out its spinners, its blind insistence for too long that Watson should be an all-rounder cost Australia a true top 6 batsman.

  • Dave1970 on March 12, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    The job of a 2IC in any organization is to support & reiterate the directions of the management - in this case Clarke and Arthur. When the 2IC does not then the chain is broken.

    Regardless whether or not the 2IC agrees with the way things are going. The 2IC can also find ways to suggest or implement ideas in the existing network. Watson has failed in all these areas. This is an observation, not a personal attack on his personality.

    No-one is doubting his talent, nor should they, he has loads of it. It is the application and the ability to go through tough periods which appears lacking.

    His record is mediocre, agreed at the moment majority of players have the same, but Watson is a senior player and needs consistency - he has failed to do so.

    Watson would have one more people with accepting he failed & taking responsibility for it. Prove how wrong the perception is by coming back hard with performances & a leadership quality.

    Cowan fo VC. Maturirty, leadership. Now performance

  • miyer_cricinfo on March 12, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Brydon, how come the vice-captain of the team, was not considered worthy of being part of the leadership team? Judging by what I've been reading, I imagine he was not consulted before coming up with the homework exercise, nor has he been a part of the think-tank. If Watson was considered by CA, Arthur and Clarke to be good enough to be appointed vice-captain, how come he seems to be treated as just another player? In case Clarke was injured or off the field for some reason, was not Watson expected to take over as captain? If yes, should he not have been privy to the plans for the game? I can't help but feel that there is more to this than meets the eye. There are better ways to instill a strong work ethic right from the foundations, and being a professional organization, CA should be introspecting and figuring out ways to build a better system. Just like BCCI should be.

  • jezmondo on March 12, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    there are always players from other countries/teams that you dislike. watson is one of those. never liked his attitiude or body language. As has previously been said he always seemed to be out for himself and this response has not allayed that assumption. I know its difficult to judge from the sofa but thats the vibe that he gives.

  • Chris_P on March 12, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    Absolutely spot on, Brydon. As an allrounder, he was an integral part of the team, but as a batsman only, he was well down & should never have been considered until given some time to get runs. Why he was asked to play those meaningless ODI's when returning from injury instead of trying to get some form in the longer version was both baffling & frustrating. It looks like his future is in the short form of the game where he is ideally suited, I believe he has played his last test.

  • UndertheGrill on March 12, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    Can't really see the point of Watson in the team following the emergence of Henriques, and he also looks like a liability to team unity when on tour. It wouldn't be surprising if the selectors, Arthur and Clarke do Watson's 'considering' for him, and drop him completely, leaving him free to follow the Twenty20 dollar around the globe - it's clearly the form of the game he is most adept at.

  • skilebow on March 12, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    baghels.a -you have completely missed the point. Coverdale is implying criticism of Watson by speculating he will play in the IPL but not his country. As in his priorities are not right. Even KP allows his england commitments to come above the IPL. He is not bashing the IPL at all. He is having a go at Watson.

  • wix99 on March 12, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Shane Watson has effectively been sacked as vice-captain. It is also doubtful as to whether he will be selected to play Test cricket for Australia again. Moises Henriques has shown the potential to be the next allrounder batting at No. 6 for Australia. Others like Glen Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh could also potentially fill the allrounder role in the team. Plenty of other batsmen at least deserve the opportunity given that Watson has failed to make runs. Cowan's position in the team has constantly been questioned, but as this article points out his average is better than Watson's during the same period.

  • on March 12, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    I attended an event where Imran Khan was asked about how Shoaib Akhtar was managed by Inzimam Ul Haq. He said that a good leader is the one who can get most out of his players and inspires them to perform up-to their true potential. Imran then gave example of Sarfaraz Nawaz (harder to manage according to Imran then Shoaib Akhtar) and how Imran got the best out of him. It is not about making everyone follow your own path of how success can be achieved. Getting to the meetings or training on time, wearing the right uniform or sending failure reports to coach are things that may be important to Clark but on field contribution towards the team cause is what really matters in the end. It is about the result and getting the best out of a player and team. That will define success of Clark as a leader in the end. Loosing talented players like Katich, Symonds and Watson rather than getting best out of them is just failure of Clark as a leader.

  • baghels.a on March 12, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    How i am not surprised IPL bashing has commenced ,it is Mr Coverdale now and then there will be other, if Watto would be there for IPL so would be Michael Clarke most probably captning his side when unlike Watto his skills are not suited to T-20 format.Watto not only get big bucks for IPL but is greately adored by Indian cricket fans and treated as a rock star by Rajasthan Royals management, in short he feels loved and wanted there .Mr Coverdale there was no need to drag IPL in to all this, I am sure you love your AFL,NRL EPL but why have problems with idea of clubs in cricket ?? let me reiterate i am an Test enthusiast as well ...

  • phunny_game on March 12, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    Watson is a great addition to any team in the world because of has all round skills... But lets face it, as a pure batsman... Not quite the same... He may produce an exceptional inning in one out of 15 test matches... But i think others can do that as well, maybe a li'l more frequently than him... He isn't in the form of his life either... But he shouldn't quit test cricket. Once he starts bowling, he again will be the valuable player that every team needs...

  • JMassive on March 12, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    Good riddance. I used to like Shane Watson, and he is a very talented player, but the way he has behaved over the past few months has been totally classless. Giving up bowling then trying to upset Ed Cowan with his talk about opening. You didn't see Phil Hughes whinging about being pushed down the order. We don't need players who think they are more important than the team.

  • JMassive on March 12, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    Good riddance. I used to like Shane Watson, and he is a very talented player, but the way he has behaved over the past few months has been totally classless. Giving up bowling then trying to upset Ed Cowan with his talk about opening. You didn't see Phil Hughes whinging about being pushed down the order. We don't need players who think they are more important than the team.

  • phunny_game on March 12, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    Watson is a great addition to any team in the world because of has all round skills... But lets face it, as a pure batsman... Not quite the same... He may produce an exceptional inning in one out of 15 test matches... But i think others can do that as well, maybe a li'l more frequently than him... He isn't in the form of his life either... But he shouldn't quit test cricket. Once he starts bowling, he again will be the valuable player that every team needs...

  • baghels.a on March 12, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    How i am not surprised IPL bashing has commenced ,it is Mr Coverdale now and then there will be other, if Watto would be there for IPL so would be Michael Clarke most probably captning his side when unlike Watto his skills are not suited to T-20 format.Watto not only get big bucks for IPL but is greately adored by Indian cricket fans and treated as a rock star by Rajasthan Royals management, in short he feels loved and wanted there .Mr Coverdale there was no need to drag IPL in to all this, I am sure you love your AFL,NRL EPL but why have problems with idea of clubs in cricket ?? let me reiterate i am an Test enthusiast as well ...

  • on March 12, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    I attended an event where Imran Khan was asked about how Shoaib Akhtar was managed by Inzimam Ul Haq. He said that a good leader is the one who can get most out of his players and inspires them to perform up-to their true potential. Imran then gave example of Sarfaraz Nawaz (harder to manage according to Imran then Shoaib Akhtar) and how Imran got the best out of him. It is not about making everyone follow your own path of how success can be achieved. Getting to the meetings or training on time, wearing the right uniform or sending failure reports to coach are things that may be important to Clark but on field contribution towards the team cause is what really matters in the end. It is about the result and getting the best out of a player and team. That will define success of Clark as a leader in the end. Loosing talented players like Katich, Symonds and Watson rather than getting best out of them is just failure of Clark as a leader.

  • wix99 on March 12, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Shane Watson has effectively been sacked as vice-captain. It is also doubtful as to whether he will be selected to play Test cricket for Australia again. Moises Henriques has shown the potential to be the next allrounder batting at No. 6 for Australia. Others like Glen Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh could also potentially fill the allrounder role in the team. Plenty of other batsmen at least deserve the opportunity given that Watson has failed to make runs. Cowan's position in the team has constantly been questioned, but as this article points out his average is better than Watson's during the same period.

  • skilebow on March 12, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    baghels.a -you have completely missed the point. Coverdale is implying criticism of Watson by speculating he will play in the IPL but not his country. As in his priorities are not right. Even KP allows his england commitments to come above the IPL. He is not bashing the IPL at all. He is having a go at Watson.

  • UndertheGrill on March 12, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    Can't really see the point of Watson in the team following the emergence of Henriques, and he also looks like a liability to team unity when on tour. It wouldn't be surprising if the selectors, Arthur and Clarke do Watson's 'considering' for him, and drop him completely, leaving him free to follow the Twenty20 dollar around the globe - it's clearly the form of the game he is most adept at.

  • Chris_P on March 12, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    Absolutely spot on, Brydon. As an allrounder, he was an integral part of the team, but as a batsman only, he was well down & should never have been considered until given some time to get runs. Why he was asked to play those meaningless ODI's when returning from injury instead of trying to get some form in the longer version was both baffling & frustrating. It looks like his future is in the short form of the game where he is ideally suited, I believe he has played his last test.

  • jezmondo on March 12, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    there are always players from other countries/teams that you dislike. watson is one of those. never liked his attitiude or body language. As has previously been said he always seemed to be out for himself and this response has not allayed that assumption. I know its difficult to judge from the sofa but thats the vibe that he gives.

  • miyer_cricinfo on March 12, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    Brydon, how come the vice-captain of the team, was not considered worthy of being part of the leadership team? Judging by what I've been reading, I imagine he was not consulted before coming up with the homework exercise, nor has he been a part of the think-tank. If Watson was considered by CA, Arthur and Clarke to be good enough to be appointed vice-captain, how come he seems to be treated as just another player? In case Clarke was injured or off the field for some reason, was not Watson expected to take over as captain? If yes, should he not have been privy to the plans for the game? I can't help but feel that there is more to this than meets the eye. There are better ways to instill a strong work ethic right from the foundations, and being a professional organization, CA should be introspecting and figuring out ways to build a better system. Just like BCCI should be.