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'Watson's Test batting order behind his rift with Clarke'

July 19, 2013 08:20 IST

'Watson's Test batting order behind his rift with Clarke'

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Mickey Arthur has blown the divisive feud between Michael Clarke and Shane Watson out of the proportion and the root of the rift between two players has been the all-rounder's shuffling around the Test match batting order by the Aussie skipper, believes legendary spinner Shane Warne.

"I found when I was captain of Watto in the IPL. I just backed him 100 per cent and he'd end up being player of the tournament. Pup's been doing that but I think what people have missed is they've debated over where Watson should bat. Watto wants to open, Clarke's thinking strong middle order, so I'm sure they've had a few heated debates about where he should bat," Warne told ESPNCricinfo.

"How that translates into they hate each other, they don't get along. It's just been blown out of proportion I believe. And I know both the guys really well and I speak to both all the time. So I think it's not a factual statement.

"But because of the batting situation and the way the team's going, sometimes people can read too much into that. They might have disagreements of opinions over things, but that's okay. You don't need to always agree and it doesn't equal hating each other either," Warne added.


Image: Shane Watson and Michael Clarke
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Meat in the sandwich

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Arthur has reportedly claimed that Clarke had described teammate Shane Watson as a "cancer" on the national cricket team after his confidential lawsuit against Cricket Australia was leaked to the media, leading to a massive controversy.

According to reports in Australian media, legal documents tendered in the Melbourne court showed that Arthur had felt like "meat in the sandwich" in the divisive feud between Clarke and Watson. The South African has reportedly detailed some of the dressing room acrimony which marred the team's on-field performances this year.

"There was major tension between Clarke and Watson," Channel Seven had reported from Arthur's document of claim.


Image: Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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Respect versus being liked

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Watson's relationship with Clarke reached a low point during the tour of India earlier this year when he was suspended from the Mohali Test by a leadership group comprised of Clarke, Arthur and the team manager Gavin Dovey.

Warne encouraged the captain's authority to be challenged respectfully by others as the best way for the team to function.

"They have disagreements in the change room on certain things and batting orders and that sort of stuff," Warne said.

"But that's healthy, you don't want ten robots in there just going 'yes Michael, whatever you want Michael'. You want someone to say 'I disagree with that Pup, let's declare at 320'. In the end he's accountable because the wins and losses go against his name. I think he's pretty good at collecting all the information in the dressing room and then making his own decision.

"The big question is about respect versus being liked. We all like to be liked but it's more important to have respect. If you respect each other, no matter whether you have differences of opinions or you don't quite see eye to eye. You might not go out and socialise once you walk off the ground, but on that field you'd do anything for each other, and that's what we had for a long period," the former leg-spinner added.


Image: Michael Clarke and Shane Watson
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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