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12th Mar 2013 4:00pm | By Editor
Stood down Australian cricket vice-captain Shane Watson looked more a bloke happy to be home than one who’d been dumped for a discipline breach and criticised by team management while he’d been in the air.
The injury-prone batsman admitted he was "extremely shattered and disappointed' to be dumped from the third Test in India after he was one of four players who didn’t complete a personal and team critique at the request of coach Mickey Arthur.
"I accept I did the wrong thing with what I did, but I will always find it hard to accept being suspended from a Test match for my country,'' Watson said.
"I absolutely love playing cricket, I love nothing more than to have the opportunity to represent my country.
“When something is taken away from me with suspension ... the guys back in India realised how much it hurts me.''
While Watson was winging it home having quit the tour to be with his heavily pregnant wife Lee and consider his cricketing future, Australian team performance manager Pat Howard said he was only a team player “sometimes”.
Watson had a brisk response on his arrival at Sydney Airport.
"Pat Howard doesn't particularly know me very well, he has come from a rugby background, and he hasn't been in and around cricket very long,” Watson told a large media contingent.
“The best people to ask are the players I've played cricket with. They'll be able to give you an honest opinion.”
Howard also hinted that Watson’s relationship was rocky with skipper Michael Clarke, part of the selection and management team who decided to dump Watson along with James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson.
Watson’s response: "I've been playing with Michael Clarke since I was 12. We have a lot of history as people, obviously we're quite different people in certain ways, but very, very similar in lots of ways as well. In the end it's like every relationship, it has its ups and downs, it's going really well at the moment with me and Michael.”
"With Pat Howard, he's come on board the last year and a half, and myself and Michael go a little further back than a year and a half.
Image via Getty