Suspended Australia vice-captain Shane Watson is determined to play for his country again and dismissed on Tuesday suggestions that he had a poor relationship with captain Michael Clarke.
Watson was one of four Australia players suspended from the third test in India for a breach of discipline because they failed carry out a task set for them by coach Mickey Arthur which was to present three ideas on how the team could improve.
Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja were also dropped for the same reason.
Asked whether this would be the end of his test career, Watson, quoted by local media, replied: “I hope not.”
Watson, who returned to Australia earlier in the day to be with his heavily pregnant wife, accepted responsibility for his actions but questioned the severity of the punishment.
“I accept that I did the wrong thing with what I did, but I will always find it very hard to accept being suspended from a test match for my country,” he was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
“I’ve missed test matches and games through injury throughout my career. I feel like I’ve worked my absolute bum off to have an opportunity to represent my country.
“When that’s taken away from you, you think the actions must be very severe. That’s where we differ on our opinions. I think it’s extremely harsh. I expressed my extreme disappointment with the punishment. But everything happens for a reason in your life.”
Watson took aim at Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard, who had earlier said Watson was only “sometimes” a team player.
“All I can really say is go around and ask every person I’ve ever played cricket with and that will give you the best indication of whether I’m a team man or not,” he said.
“Pat Howard doesn’t particularly know me very well. He’s come from a rugby background and hasn’t been in and around cricket very long.”
He also challenged Howard’s view that he and captain Clarke needed to “sort out their issues”, saying that relationships were always complicated.
“I’ve been playing cricket with and against Michael Clarke since I was 12. We’ve got a lot of history as people. We’re obviously quite different people in certain ways but very very similar in a lot of ways as well,” he said.
“In the end, like you do in every relationship, it goes up and down and things are going really well at the moment with me and Michael.”
The three other suspended players have remained with the team and Pattinson said although it might seem like a heavy punishment there could be long-term benefits.
“People might say it’s a harsh punishment for a small thing, but I think if we look outside the actual thing we did wrong, it’s the other stuff as well and it builds up,” he was quoted as saying on the Cricket Australia website (www.cricket.com.au).
“If you look really deeply like I did at it, you can see why it’s actually happened, I think it’s just going to hold us in a better team, better mentality and I think a better culture in the long run.
“We’ve got a group of young players that are all striving for the same thing, so I think this is just that kick in the bum to make you really realise what we’ve got and what we really want and that is to get to number one.”
India crushed Australia by eight wickets and an innings and 135 runs in the first two tests and the touring side must win the last two matches to level the series.