Johannesburg, Mar 14 (ANI): Australian captain Michael Clarke has said that axed vice-captain Shane Watson can make up his own mind if he wants to return to the side for the fourth Test against India in Delhi on March 22, adding that he hoped for a positive response from him.
Watson has returned home to Sydney for the birth of his first child and is considering possible retirement from Test cricket after he, Test quick James Pattinson and squad members Usman Khwaja and Mitchell Johnson were all stood down from selection for Thursday's third Test in Mohali for failing to complete a homework assignment, Sport24 reports.
However, Clarke is hoping for a more positive response from the vice-captain, and said that Watson had told him that he had gone home to be with his wife for the birth of his first child and hinted at a possible return to vice-captaincy.
According to Clarke, Watson's wife will be having the baby in the next few days after which he can be back on the squad for the fourth Test in Delhi, adding that Watson is a necessary and an integral part of the team.
Clarke further said that there is no pressure from the team on Watson and added that the decision to come for the fourth Test is completely Watson's own.
Denying a rift between himself and Watson, Clarke further criticised Cricket Australia's high-performance chief Pat Howard questioning Watson's team ethic and said that Howard had not been involved for long in the game and it is not fair of him to criticise Watson. (ANI)