'Harsh punishment tough to accept'

Sacked all-rounder Shane Watson on Tuesday said that it was “wrong” on his part not to submit the presentation to the coach but the “harsh” punishment for such a protocol breach was hard to accept.

“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,” Watson told the reporters at the airport after an 18-hour long journey from India.

“I, with a few other guys, took it as leading into the Test match and I got that extremely wrong, which meant that it’s cost me a Test match. They (the leadership group) obviously thought that was the right decision for the team at this point in time,” he said.

Watson said that missing a Test match on disciplinary grounds has devastated him.
“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,” said the 31-year-old New South Wales all-rounder.

Watson said that everything was fine as far as his relationship with skipper Michael Clarke was concerned.  “The way relationships work, there’s always ups and downs like there is in marriages, friendships and everything,” Watson said. “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. 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,” Watson said.
Watson, however, lashed out at Cricket Australia’s General Manager Pat Howard as the latter has accused him of not always being a team player.

“With Pat Howard, he’s only come on board the last year and a half. Myself and Michael go a little bit further back than a year and a half,’’ he added. Watson said that he had spoken to Clarke straight after getting off the plane “because he’d heard about the comments Pat made.”

“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. Pat Howard doesn’t particularly know me very well.  He’s (Howard) come from a rugby background and hasn’t been in and around cricket very long. I think the best people to ask are the people I’ve played cricket with and they’ll be able to give their honest opinion,’’ Watson said.

Watson, who had said he would contemplate his Test future before leaving India, said his only focus now was the safe arrival of the couple’s baby.

“It’ll give me a chance to reflect on what’s really happened over the past couple of days and be able to absorb what’s happened and have a think about where things are at,” he said.

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