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Watson and I are on same page: Clarke
By Ben Horne
16:14 AEST Wed Nov 21 2012

Australian skipper Michael Clarke has dismissed talk of a rift with Shane Watson, stressing there was no communication breakdown with his deputy ahead of the second Test in Adelaide starting on Thursday.

Clarke said he was aware of rumours suggesting he and Watson were failing to see eye-to-eye.

But as he finalised his XI for yet another Test without the injury-prone vice-captain by his side, Clarke said he and Watson were on the same page and had a good personal and professional relationship.

"I know there's been talk of that being a little bit different," said Clarke.

"(But) not at all. We have a great relationship."

The news on Watson that was expected for a week finally came on Wednesday, when he was ruled out of the pivotal Adelaide match due to his calf strain and Gabba debutant Rob Quiney was retained at No.3 in the line-up to face South Africa.

Paceman Ben Hilfenhaus also held his spot in the face of the challenge from 12th man Mitchell Starc despite struggling to make an impact in the drawn first Test.

Clarke denied allrounder Watson's desperate fitness bid to play solely as a batsman in Adelaide was a waste of time, despite indicating before the series, and being backed up by high performance manager Pat Howard, that he needed to bowl to lock down his position.

Watson said on Monday he hadn't been told either way whether he needed to bowl to be considered.

Clarke said there was there was no disagreement between them about that matter and on the importance of Watson being able to contribute with both bat and ball.

"That's still Watto's feeling as well. He sees himself as an allrounder - he wants to be an allrounder," said Clarke.

"He knows the impact he has in the game with both bat and ball and he's a huge part of our squad when he's doing both very well.

"We spoke daily even before we flew to Adelaide and I was kept well and truly in the loop of where he was at and how he was travelling and what he was doing preparation-wise.

"Once we got here, our intent was to give Watto every chance as a very important player and vice-captain of the team to walk out onto this park ... but unfortunately, we've run out of time.

"Our plans are to try and get him to 100 per cent as quickly as we can, knowing we've got eight days now before the third Test in Perth."

Watson said earlier in the week he hadn't experienced any negativity from teammates over his injury troubles, despite rumours of tension.

During Ricky Ponting's captaincy, Watson seemed to be wanted in Australia's corner at every opportunity.

Clarke appears stricter on letting the 31-year-old automatically return to the team when his body allows - emphasising on Wednesday that replacement Quiney has a chance at a permanent spot if he fires in Adelaide.

However, Clarke quashed suggestions of discontent between Australia's two leadership figures, as the pair look to work together in masterminding an Ashes campaign next year.

"Watto and I, our friendship and our professional relationship when it comes to captain and vice-captain, is as close as I can certainly ask for," he said.


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