Calcutta: Shane Watson, on Tuesday, said that it was “wrong” on his part not to submit the presentation to the coach, but added that such a “harsh” punishment was hard to accept.
Watson and three of his colleagues — pacemen James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson, and batsman Usman Khawaja — were on Monday axed from the team for the third Test for ignoring a team management order.
While he was keen to re-unite with wife Lee, Watson said he would use the time back home to reflect on the drama that had unfolded the past 48 hours and made the Australian team a laughing stock, especially with Ashes rivals England.
But the 31-year-old was adamant he should never have been suspended for the third Test, starting on Thursday in Mohali, and his punishment “extremely harsh”.
“I accept I did the wrong thing with what I did, but I will always find it hard to accept being suspended from a Test match for my country,” Watson said.
“I’ve missed a lot of Test matches and games through injury throughout my career, and I've worked really hard to represent my country. When that is taken away from you, I think the actions (that lead to that) have to be very severe, and that’s where we differ.
“I think it's extremely harsh to be suspended from a Test for your country in any circumstances, be it 0-2 down or if you’re going well ... I’ve got different opinions to the leadership group.
“I absolutely love playing cricket, I love nothing more than to have the opportunity to represent my country. When something is taken away from me with suspension... the guys back in India realised how much it hurts me.”
Earlier, Watson’s father, Bob Watson, said the bewildering move, announced by coach Mickey Arthur, had left the all-rounder uncertain of his future in international cricket and possibly ready to walk away.
He told an Australian daily that playing for Australia was not his son’s only option.
“Playing Test cricket for Australia is the ultimate thing... but if it comes down to it he is pretty good at Twenty20 cricket and the Indian Premier League,” Bob said.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard on Tuesday said that Watson is ‘sometimes’ a team player. “I know Shane reasonably well. I think he acts in the best interests of the team, sometimes,” Howard stated.
But he also admitted that there are loopholes in country’s cricket system which is the reason for not being able to get the best out of Watson.
“I am not going to get drawn into that any more but there are failings in the system in that we are not getting the best out of Shane — that’s our fault,” Howard was quoted as saying.
He also said the vice-captain and Clarke needed to sort through their issues.
Watson didn’t miss Howard when he returned serve: “Pat Howard doesn’t particularly know me very well, he has come from a rugby background, and he hasn't been in and around cricket very long.
“(As for Clarke) I’ve been playing with him since I was 12. Obviously we’re quite different people in certain ways, but very, very similar in lots of ways as well. In the end it’s like every relationship, it has its ups and downs, it’s going really well at the moment with me and Michael.”