Previous Australian captain Ricky Ponting has praised all-rounder Shane Watson despite his suspension.
Shane Watson’s former captain Ricky Ponting has given his backing to the all-rounder in the wake of a mini-crisis for Australian Test cricket, after Watson and three teammates were controversially dropped by the Australian hierarchy on Monday for ‘failing to do their homework’.
The axed player, along with Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson, were suspended for the third Test against India in Mohali – day three of which is due to start on Saturday.
Now Watson is having to decide whether he will return for the fourth Test in Delhi, after not only being snubbed by his coaches and captain, but also having the birth of his first child on Wednesday.
Despite the criticism that was aimed at the vice-captain after he was dropped – primarily from high performance manager Pat Howard who said Watson was “sometimes” a team player – Ponting had nothing but praise for his former player.
“Shane worked as hard as anybody around his cricket, there’s no doubt about that,” the ex-international was quoted in the Guardian.
“I’ve never known him to be anything other than a very good team player.”
This statement is in complete contradiction to Howard’s comments and only adds fuel to the fire in an internal debate within Australian cricket,which doesn’t look like ending anytime soon.
Australia, without Watson and the other dropped players, have had an indifferent start against India finishing day two of the third Test on 273-7.
Watson’s batting positions, usually three or four, have seen a combined total of two runs in the vice-captain’s absence, giving Australian fans even more reason to want the all-rounder back in the team.