Australia captain Michael Clarke has rejected rumours about disgruntlement between him and his vice-captain Shane Watson, and also defended the decision to keep the injured all-rounder with the squad when his quest to be fit for the Adelaide Test appeared fated.
Watson was finally ruled out of the second Test against South Africa on Wednesday, three days after admitting he would be unable to bowl in Adelaide.
In announcing an unchanged XI for Adelaide, Clarke said there had been no disagreement, and described his relationship with Watson as strong.
"We have a great relationship, firstly. I know there's been talk of that being a little bit different but 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," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Clarke, as saying.
"We spoke daily even before we flew to Adelaide as a team and I was kept well and truly in the loop as to how he was travelling and what he was doing preparation-wise," he added.
"Once we got here our intent was to give Watto every single chance as a very important player and vice-captain of the team to walk out onto this park for the second Test match. Unfortunately, we've run out of time," he said.
On Wednesday, Clarke said Watson remained a vital part of Australia's team, provided he was 100 per cent fit.
Clarke said: "That is Watto's feeling as well. He wants to be an all-rounder. He knows the impact he has with both bat and ball and he's a huge part of our squad when he is doing both very well. So our plans are to try and get him to 100 per cent knowing we've got eight days now before the third Test in Perth." (ANI)