Suspended Shane Watson earns backing of former Australia captain Ricky Ponting
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has defended Shane Watson over allegations he is not a team player.
Last Updated: 14/03/13 3:17pm
Watson, the Test vice-captain under Michael Clarke, was axed for the third Test along with Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja after they failed to give feedback on how the team could improve on their maulings in the opening two matches.
Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard claimed that Watson was only "sometimes" a team player, but Ponting dismissed the allegations.
"Shane worked as hard as anybody around at his cricket, there's no doubt about that," Ponting said.
"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.
"I've never known him to be anything other than a very good team player and a great bloke to have around your team. I loved every moment that I played with Watto."
Watson is considering his future after returning to Australia to be with his pregnant wife, and he hit out at Howard's comments and his "extremely harsh" suspension.
"All I can really say is go around and ask every person I've ever played cricket with and that will give you the best indication of whether I'm a team man or not," he said.
"Pat Howard doesn't particularly know me very well. He's come from a rugby background and hasn't been in and around cricket very long."