Shane Watson steps down as Australian vice-captain

Melbourne, April 20 (IANS) Australian all-rounder Shane Watson decided to step down as the vice-captain from all formats after his poor form in the recent Test series against India.

Watson, who is currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Rajasthan Royals, informed Cricket Australia (CA) Friday about his decision to step down from his role as vice-captain across all formats.

“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.

“I think 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,” he said.

Watson said he stepped down from vice-captaincy so that he can focus on scoring runs and pick up wickets.

“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. I won’t be the vice-captain in title but I think I can still be a leader and strong contributor around the group,” he said.

“Yesterday I rang John Inverarity, Mickey Arthur and Michael Clarke to advise them of my decision and they respect that decision and agree with me that this is the best outcome for me and the team.

“I thank Cricket Australia for the leadership opportunity over the past two years and I’m really looking forward to this next phase. In my conversations with Mickey and Michael I reaffirmed my commitment to the team and support for them as we fight to win back the Ashes and get back to being ranked number one in the world,” Watson said.

CA national selector John Inverarity said Watson must be commended for making a tough call.

“Shane Watson should be commended for making the tough call to step down from the vice-captaincy to focus on playing. Regardless, he will still be an important senior leader within the team. The National Selection Panel (NSP) will now consider and then put a vice-captaincy recommendation to the Cricket Australia Board for its approval,” he said.

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