Cricket: Shane Watson responds to Michael Clarke's description of him as a 'tumour'

Michael Clarke and Shane Watson have continued their sporting feud, even after they both retired from the international game. Photo / Getty
Michael Clarke and Shane Watson have continued their sporting feud, even after they both retired from the international game. Photo / Getty

Shane Watson says Michael Clarke's comments about the all-rounder being "like a tumour" said more about the former Australia captain than anything else.

Clarke has often been quoted as describing Watson's influence on the Australian Test team as like a "cancer", a reference that came up in leaked documents from former coach Mickey Arthur's court case with Cricket Australia after he was sacked in 2013.

Promoting his new autiobiography in an interview with 60 Minutes, Clarke explained that the quote had originated from the infamous 'Homework' saga during the 2013 tour of India, when Watson was one of four players banned from a match for not completing tasks set for them by Arthur.

"I said that there is a number of players, a group in this team at the moment, that are like a tumour and if we don't fix it, it's going to turn into a cancer," Clarke said. "Shane was one of those players, yes."

Watson addressed the issue on stage at the CPA Congress in Melbourne on Tuesday.
"For me I think it was more a reflection of the person he is more than what it was directed towards me," Watson said.

"In the end it is really disappointing that things like that start to come out two or three years later on when we are all very content in retirement."

The open discord between the two senior players appeared to mellow towards the end of their international careers, with Clarke and Watson celebrating heartily together after Australia's 2015 World Cup victory.

Yet Clarke's book looks like it has reopened some old wounds.

A History of the Saga

March 2011: Michael Clarke appointed Australia captain, with Shane Watson his deputy.

2012 - 2013: Rumours swirl of Clarke and Watson not seeing eye to eye.

March 2013: Watson, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson are suspended for one Test during the tour of India for not completing a homework task set for them by coach Mickey Arthur, in which the players had to identify three ways they could improve. Clarke strongly supports the decision.

June 2013: Arthur is sacked just weeks out from the Ashes series, replaced by Darren Lehmann.

July 2013: Arthur submits legal documents to the Fair Work Commission, seeking compensation from Cricket Australia. Parts of the documents are leaked, including Arthur claiming Clarke described Watson and several other players in the team as a "cancer". Arthur eventually settles the dispute out of court.

January 2014: Watson and Clarke celebrate arm in arm after Australia wins the Ashes 5-0.

August 2015: Watson is dropped during the Ashes series, while Clarke retires at the end of it. Australia loses 3-2.

October 2016: Ahead of the release of his autobiography, Clarke says in an interview that he described Watson and several other players as "like a tumour and if we don't fix it, it's going to turn into a cancer".

October 2016: Watson responds by saying those comments reflect on the person Clarke is.

- news.com.au

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