Shane Watson hits back at Pat Howard as Australia row deepens
Last Updated: 12/03/13 2:28pm
Shane Watson faces the media on his return from India
Shane Watson has hit back at Pat Howard after Cricket Australia's high performance manager said the all-rounder was only "sometimes" a team-player.
Vice-captain Watson was one of four players dropped from the Australia squad for the third Test with India in Mohali for failing to produce - as demanded by management - an assessment of where the team could improve following their defeats in the first two matches.
James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were the others, but Watson has flown home to be with his pregnant wife and to assess his future.
Howard - the former Leicester and Australia rugby union star and now part of the cricket management team - said Watson was only "sometimes" a team man, and was critical of his relationship with captain Michael Clarke.
On hearing of Howard's comments, Watson said: ''The way relationships work, there's always ups and downs like there is in marriages, friendships and everything.
"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 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. 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."
Watson said he had spoken to Clarke straight after getting off the plane "because he'd heard about the comments Pat made".
On the accusations that he is not a team player Watson said: "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.
"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,'' he added.
"They (the leadership group) obviously thought that was the right decision for the team at this point in time. 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.
"I've missed Test matches and games through injury throughout my career. I feel like I've worked hard 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."