SYDNEY – All-rounder Shane Watson has quit as Australia vice-captain, a month after being disciplined by team management and leaving the tour of India.
Cricket Australia said in a statement on Saturday that Watson will relinquish his vice-captaincy across all formats of the game.
“Making the decision to step down wasn’t easy but it’s something I’ve been thinking about since the Test series against India ended,” Watson said in a statement.
“It’s the right time for a change for both the team and me. I’ll be honest and admit I wrestled with the decision for some time, however once I made up my mind, I informed Cricket Australia so the selectors could consider their options for the Ashes given the squads will be announced soon.”
Watson left the tour of India after he and three teammates were suspended for a match for failing to submit self-critiques to Australia coach Mickey Arthur by a set deadline. At the time, he said he was flying home to be with his wife before the birth of their first child and would consider his future.
He went on to captain Australia, in place of the injured Michael Clarke, to a six-wicket loss to India in the fourth test.
Australia lost the four-test series to India 4-0, and will begin its attempt to regain the Ashes with the first match of the five-test series against England at TrentBridge from July 10.
“I want to be the best test player I can be for Australia and think I can do that by stepping down from the vice-captaincy to focus my attention on scoring runs, taking wickets and doing whatever is necessary to help the team achieve success,” Watson said. “I won’t be the vice-captain in title, but I think I can still be a leader and strong contributor around the group.”
Chairman of selectors John Inverarity said a new vice-captain would have to be put to Cricket Australia’s board for approval.