New Delhi: Australia opener Ed Cowan on Wednesday backed Shane Watson to lead Australia in the fourth Test if Michael Clarke fails to recover from his back problem, describing the vice-captain as a good player and good leader in his own right.
Watson, who was in the centre of controversy last week due to disciplinary issues and returned before the third Test in Mohali, flew back to India on Tuesday to play the final Test at Delhi.
When asked how ironical it would be to see a banned cricketer in the previous Test returning to the field as captain, Cowan said Clarke was not yet ruled out for the Kotla match.
"Firstly, it is important to know that Michael is expected to play…So at the moment Shane Watson isn't the captain of the team.
"If that happens, then the team is very happy with that because he is the vice-captain of the team for this tour, who has always stepped in if the captain is injured. Shane is quite a good player and a good leader in his own right. It will be a good opportunity for him," Cowan said.
The absence of Shikhar Dhawan, the Aussie opener admitted, would be a huge relief for his team. "That's great news…he played like Don Bradman in Mohali," Cowan said with a laugh.
"Dhawan's knock in Mohali was as good an innings I have seen from any player in the world. The fact that he did it in his first Test innings was great. We bowled a lot of variety, he treated every ball on its merit and at the same time, there was little room for error. It was a hell of an innings," observed Cowan.
The Aussie opener said he was impressed by the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. "He has got me twice in six innings…he is a different bowler from (Ishant) Sharma because he gets the ball to skid. He doesn't bowl very quickly but bowls every ball at a height that can hit the stumps. He is a very canny bowler and bowls every ball at a height than can get you lbw," said Cowan.
Cowan said that playing in India, especially against spinners, is a challenge for Australian batsmen. "You face a lot of spin over here and the conditions suit spinners. Back home, we don't face many spinners. We have had to speed up, it has taken a while but I think we played spin a lot better in Mohali than in Hyderabad," he said.
Cowan accepted that not scoring big hundreds like the Indians, has been one of the prime reason for Australia's disastrous show in the three Test matches so far.