Proteas in Australia

Clarke denies rift with Watson

2012-11-21 09:16
Michael Clarke (Gallo)

Adelaide - Australian skipper Michael Clarke on Wednesday denied any rift with vice-captain Shane Watson as the all-rounder was ruled out of the second Test against South Africa.

Watson has been troubled by a calf injury and tried this week to prove his fitness after missing the drawn series-opener in Brisbane earlier this month.

But Clarke said doubts about Watson's injury prompted Australia to go with an unchanged team for the second Test in Adelaide, which starts on Thursday.

"He has improved a lot over the last few days... but is probably a few days short of being 100 percent," Clarke said.

He added that his vice-captain would have time to get himself right for the third Test, which starts in Perth four days after the scheduled end of the Adelaide showdown.

"Once we got here, our intent was to give Watto every chance, as a very important player and vice-captain of the team but unfortunately we've run out of time," Clarke said.

The captain dismissed speculation of a rift with Watson, stressing there was no communication breakdown with his deputy ahead of the Adelaide Test.

Clarke said he was aware of rumours suggesting he and Watson were failing to see eye-to-eye, but added that both senior players had a good personal and professional relationship.

"I know there's been talk of that being a little bit different," Clarke said.

"(But) not at all. We have a great relationship.

"Watto and I, our friendship and our professional relationship when it comes to captain and vice-captain, is as close as I can certainly ask for."

Senior batsman Ricky Ponting warned this week against playing a not fully fit Watson, saying it would place too much pressure on his teammates if he was used against the Proteas while injured.

"No one can go into a Test match 70 percent fit," Ponting told reporters on Tuesday. "I don't care if you're a batsman and a slip fielder. If you can't bat at 100 percent, then you are putting pressure on other blokes as well."

Rob Quiney, who made his Test debut in place of Watson in Brisbane, is expected to bat again at number three, while left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc remains the 12th man.

Clarke said he and the selectors stuck with swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus because of the improvement they saw from the bowling attack in the latter days of the Brisbane Test.

"I thought the bowlers came back really well. We took 14 South African wickets where they took five of ours," he said.

"I think we've got a good combination. We've got a good mixture of aggression but also bowlers who can bowl long spells and dry runs up if required out there on that wicket.

"Generally in Adelaide, you have to bowl quite tight during periods of the game."

Australia - Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Rob Quiney, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc (12th man).



Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Lood is a tackling machine
Butch thrilled for 'good guy' Habana
'Remember England', Samoa warn Scotland
Folau fit, Wallabies change 3 for Wales
08 October 2015
India v South Africa, Kolkata 15:30
11 October 2015
India v South Africa, Kanpur 05:30
14 October 2015
India v South Africa, Indore 10:00
Previous Results

Date Match Result

The Proteas have wrapped up their Test series against Australia with a 1-0 victory. Which international opponent gives you greatest pleasure in beating?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.