Watson becomes Test captain, undeservedly

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Australian batsman Shane Watson . AFP PHOTO/William WEST

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Just when we thought this tour of India could not get any worse, Cricket Australia has decided to install Shane Watson as the 44th Australian Test captain.

This is an embarrassing decision that reeks of weakness and hypocrisy and can only cripple the culture of the Australian cricket team.

Yes, Michael Clarke was unavailable and yes, Shane Watson was next in line thanks to his role as vice-captain. However, this should have changed during homework-gate last week to ensure that Watson would not be able to become captain in the likely case of Clarke’s back playing up.

Shane Watson was disciplined for not completing a team order, an order that as vice-captain he should have been the second to complete only behind Pup.

Instead, with complete disregard for the responsibility bestowed upon him, he decided to completely disrespect his fellow teammates as well as those in charge by ignoring that now infamous instruction to hand in a personalised report on how the team could improve.

Now unless Shane Watson decided to not do the work as he thought he might pull a hamstring again, which although possible is highly unlikely, he should have been stripped of his vice-captaincy then and there.

If the vice-captain cannot respect authority then he does not deserve it himself.

He was not though. He then compounded his senselessness with his petulant behaviour when he arrived back home.

Rather than accepting his light punishment gracefully like James Pattinson, Mitch Johnson and Usman Khawaja, he declared he would have to reconsider his immediate Test future.

What a spoilt brat. (Note his decision to return home for the birth of his child was not what I deem petulant; it was his declaration that he would have to “reconsider his Test future”, all because he had done the wrong thing).

All of this behaviour makes it blatantly obvious that is he is not fit to be leading our nation out on to the field, particularly in a time of crisis. Yet somehow, here we are.

Shane Watson did the wrong thing by his coach, his captain, his teammates and his nation, yet as a punishment he has been rewarded with the highest honour that an Australian cricketer could receive, the Australian captaincy – the second most important job in the country behind the PM.

This situation should never have been allowed to happen and Cricket Australia should be highly embarrassed. It is hypocritical and sets a horrible example to cricketers in Australia.

Only leaders who put the team first and respect authority should have the honour of leading Australia. After all, if the now captain will not respect it then why should those playing under him?

Australia needs to stop making decisions in regards to the Ashes and start making the correct decisions that will reinstate Australia as the best cricketing nation in the world.

Or at least the least ridiculous.

Eds’ note: This piece was submitted before the first day’s play of the fourth Test in Delhi

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