Speculation about Australian vice-captain Shane Watson's Test future was put to bed on Monday with an announcement that he will return to India after serving a one-match ban.
The 31-year-old returned to Sydney last Tuesday after he was dropped for the third Test after failing to prepare feedback on how the team could improve and deliver it to management. Three other players were also axed.
Watson, whose wife gave birth last week, made clear he felt the punishment was overly harsh and said he would be considering his future, but has decided to battle on.
"I've had several constructive discussions with team management back in Mohali over the past few days. We've spoken about how we are going to work together to move forward, as Australia attempts to climb back to the top of the ICC rankings. I've a burning ambition to be an Australian Test player for as long as I can be and help Australia win those big Test series' as well as the big ICC tournaments," he said in a Cricket Australia statement on Monday morning.
"I have also had a number of chats with Pat Howard over the last week and we are both now on the same page and are really looking forward to working together to get Australia to be the best team in the world. I'm looking forward to getting around the boys again and concentrating on moving forward. I'm entirely committed to the team and being the best player I can be," Watson said.
An earlier statement of CA said, "Shane Watson will return to the tour of India and will fly out of Sydney tonight (Monday night) to join the Australian squad in India ahead of the fourth Test."
His dumping fuelled rumours of a rift with skipper Michael Clarke, which was intensified by Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard saying Watson was only "sometimes" a team player.
Australia head coach Mickey Arthur said: "It's been a big week for us all - both on and off the pitch. The whole Australian cricket team congratulates Lee and Shane on the safe arrival of baby Will.
"Covering all the bases while preparing for any Test match is key to both us and Shane's recommitment to the team in his chats with me this week have been really positive. We're looking forward to having Watto back and around the group as we prepare for the fourth Test."
Watson, who has known Clarke for 20 years, insisted their relationship was "going really well".
If he had decided to quit, Clarke would have been desperately short of experience ahead of an Ashes double header against England starting in July, after the recent retirement of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.
(With AFP inputs)
Story first published on: Monday, 18 March 2013 08:09 IST