Sunday, March 17, 2013

Watson to return to India tour after 1-test ban

MELBOURNE, March 18, 2013 AP

Australia vice-captain Shane Watson will return to India on Monday after serving a controversial one-test ban.

Watson left the tour last week only hours after he and three teammates were suspended for a match for failing to submit self-critiques to Australia coach Mickey Arthur by a set deadline.

At the time, he said he was flying home to be with his pregnant wife before the birth of their first child and needed to consider his cricket future.

The timing of the exit eventually proved to be fortuitous for Watson as his son, Will, was born last Thursday.

The severity of the punishment divided public opinion in Australia, with many ex-test players pouring ridicule and scorn on the ban but some commentators supporting a stricter approach to team discipline as the team tries to regain the No. 1 test ranking.

Fast bowlers James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson and backup batsman Usman Khawaja were also suspended for a test after failing to comply with Arthur's instructions, prompting the harsh crackdown.

Watson was the central character in the fallout, particularly after Cricket Australia's high performance manager Pat Howard described the 31-year-old, 40-test veteran as a team player "sometimes."

Cricket Australia issued a statement on Monday saying Watson would rejoin the squad ahead of the fourth test starting March 22 in New Delhi.
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