15 Mar 2013

Watson gets backing from Ponting

7:41 am on 15 March 2013

The suspended Australia vice-captain Shane Watson has received the backing of former skipper Rickie Ponting as the crisis surrounding the team rumbled on.

Watson, along with three other players, was suspended for the third test in India after failing to respond to a request from Australia's management for feedback on how the team could be improved.

Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard described Watson as "sometimes" a team player but Ponting, one of Australia's most successful captains, begged to differ.

Ponting says Watson worked as hard as anybody around his cricket, he's obviously made a blue here - I don't like to refer to it as homework because it wasn't homework - not getting his tasks done that were given to him by the coach.

Ponting says he's never known him to be anything other than a very good team player and a great bloke to have around your team.

Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja were also dropped for the same reason.

Watson returned to Australia for the birth of his first child Will, who arrived on Thursday.

The Australian Vice captain could now be free to return to the side for the fourth cricket Test against India in Delhi on February 22, although the batsman has threatened to quit the game.