Melbourne, Mar 15: Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has backed suspended vice-captain Shane Watson and said that Watson had worked as hard as any other player in his team, in the midst of the crisis surrounding the touring team in India.
Dismissing Cricket Australia's impression on Watson, Ponting said that he loved every moment he played with Watson and added the Watson is a very good team player.
"Shane worked as hard as anybody around his cricket, there's no doubt about that," Ponting said. "He's obviously made a blue here - I don't like to refer to it as homework because it wasn't homework - not getting his tasks done that were given to him by the coach.
"I've never known him to be anything other than a very good team player and a great bloke to have around your team," he added.
Ponting went against Cricket Australia's team performance views on Watson as a ‘sometimes' team player, Ponting said: "I think he'd regret saying that as well, but people are going to make judgments."
"I think Shane said this on the way home. Pat's known Shane for 12 months and Michael (Clarke) and Shane have known each other for the best part of 20 years," he said.
"I loved every moment that I played with Watto," he said. To tell the truth I think I understood him and his personality as well as anyone that I ever played with. I tried to get as close to him as I could. I tried to know him as well as I could both on and off the field and I actually felt by doing that I got as much out of him as I could as a player," Ponting said.
Meanwhile, Watson has cooled on retirement threats, as he has made himself available for the Ashes and is also likely to return for the fourth and final Test against India in Delhi, starting next Friday, a report in the Australian media said.
Watson's chances of returning to India in time for the fourth Test in Delhi rose after his wife Lee gave birth to a baby boy, Will, on Thursday. Watson flew home from Chandigarh on Monday saying the team management's decision "was harsh."