Mohali: Australia's already troublesome tour of India has gone from bad to worse in a matter of hours with news that allrounder Shane Watson has pulled out of the tour following his removal from the squad for this week's third Test. Watson was one of four players axed from the Mohali Test starting Thursday after failing to adhere to team protocol, and the news that he will be flying home has Australia with only 13 players in contention for Mohali, and 12 if wicketkeeper Matthew Wade does not recover from an ankle injury sustained over the weekend.
The allrounder checked out of his hotel in Mohali to fly home and be with wife Lee Furlong, who is expecting a baby at the end of the month. Later in the day, Watson admitted that was considering quitting Test cricket.
"Any time you're suspended for a Test match unless you do something unbelievably wrong, and obviously everyone knows what those rules are. I think it is very harsh," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "At this point in time I'm at a stage where I'm sort of weighing up my future and what I want to do with my cricket in general, to be honest. I do love playing, there is no doubt about that, but at this point in time I'm going to spend the next few weeks with my family and just weigh up my options of just exactly which direction I want to go.
"There are lot more important things in life - I certainly do love playing cricket and that passion is still there and I feel like I'm in the prime years of my cricket career. From that perspective I still feel like I've got a lot to give. But from a holistic perspective I've got to sit down with my family and decide which directions they are."
Watson has struggled so far on tour, scratching together just 77 runs in four innings. Last week, Australia coach Mickey Arthur has called on Watson to make an impression in the remainder of the Test series as the beleaguered tourists search for ways to keep the next two matches alive and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"The truth be told, we really need Shane Watson firing now. I don't think it's a technique thing at all. Every time Shane has gone to the wicket, he has looked brilliant. But he's been getting out for 20s. I just pray every time he goes to the wicket there's a big score because I think once he gets that one big score, that will unlock the shackles. We can't be a one-trick pony and we need other guys to stand up. We really do," Arthur had said.
In the aftermath of Australia's innings-and-135-run defeat in the second Test at Hyderabad, Arthur had on Tuesday requested the players to present three ways in which they and the entire team could improve. Barring the four aforementioned players, all of Australia's squad replied via email or SMS or on letters submitted to Arthur under his hotel door before the Saturday deadline.
Watson has not scored a Test century for 37 innings dating back to the tour of India in 2010, when he began the series with a century at Mohali.