In the eye of storm after ‘homework-gate’, all-rounder Shane Watson was the focus of attention during Australia’s training session at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday ahead of the fourth and final Test against India starting on Friday.
Peeved at being dropped from the playing eleven for the third Test in Mohali after not completing a presentation on team performance, Watson went back home as his wife was due to give birth to their first child.
Watson was back in action during the training session but what was eminently noticeable was the distinct lack of communication between Watson and captain Michael Clarke during the two and half hour session. The skipper, who is suffering from back spasms, is a doubtful starter as he didn’t take part in the training session but not for once did one find the two having a long chat with each other which normally a captain has with his deputy.
Even during the customary net session, Clarke was having a session with the physio when Watson batted for around 35 minutes facing both pace and spin.
While Watson had a bit of discussion with Mickey Arthur, who instructed the spinners Glenn Maxwell and Xavier Doherty to bowl to a particular line, the vice-captain was engaged in a long chat with the young Steven Smith.
Call it pure ‘co-incidence’ but Clarke dropped in at the adjacent net area only after Watson was done with his session.
It was like ‘Exit Watson’ and ‘Enter Clarke’ when Watson went back into the main stadium as Clarke came out to check his boys training.
There have been rumours of possible differences between the two but both have denied any fallout and maintained that they are good friends.
While most of the Australian players were busy at the net area, Watson alone, with the assistant coach, was seen taking slip catches inside the main stadium.
The one who impressed the most during the session was tall fast bowler James Pattinson.