New Delhi: A week can be a long time in sports, as Australian allrounder could well attest to later this week. Twelve days after he quit the tour and headed home to Australia, Watson could find himself leading the team in the final Test against India starting Friday in New Delhi if Michael Clarke's back rules him out of action. On account of being Australia's vice-captain, Watson would be designated to lead following the announcement on Monday that he was returning to link-up with the team.
Last Monday, hours after being dropped from the squad for the third Test in Mohali, Watson pulled out of the tour and returned home to Australia amid doubts over his future as a Test cricketer. Australia's already hellish tour had suddenly turned fractious, after it was revealed that Watson and three other members of the squad had failed to adhere to team protocol, this leaving the Australian team without their second most experienced cricketer.
Watson has struggled so far on tour, scratching together just 77 runs in four innings. Earlier, Australia coach Mickey Arthur had called on the 31-year-old to make an impression as the beleaguered tourists searched for ways to keep the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in their grasp. With the series surrendered on day five in Mohali, Australia have only wounded pride to play for.
Having patched up with Cricket Australia after pulling out of the tour, Australia's vice-captain could find himself leading for the fourth Test due to Michael Clarke's back injury.
Watson has not scored a Test century for 37 innings dating back to the tour of India in 2010. He is due to land in India on Tuesday, and by Friday he could be Australia's Test captain. Clarke's back problems flared up in Mohali and with just three days to prove his fitness, it could well be that Clarke has to sit out.
''It's been a very interesting week really - the most amazing week of my life with the birth of my little boy,'' Watson said before departing from Sydney on Monday. ''There was a lot of different emotions running through my head at that time. It's nice things have panned out the way they have ... I'm really excited to get back on the plane and back in the team.''
From being ousted one week to leading Australia the next, Watson could find himself completing a quite dramatic turnaround.