DELHI: Shane Watson is readying himself for the prospect of leading Australia in the fourth and final Test against India on Friday after captain Michael Clarke failed to train on Wednesday.
Clarke is battling to overcome a back injury sustaining during the third Test in Mohali and is continuing to receive treatment on the long-running problem, which has troubled him for nearly half his life, in a bid to play.
However, he only appeared briefly at the team's training session at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on Wednesday, speaking with co-selectors Mickey Arthur and Rod Marsh and inspecting the pitch.
Arthur, meanwhile, spoke at length with Watson before the vice-captain took to the practice nets with bat in hand.
Watson only arrived back in India on Tuesday after flying home for the birth of his son last Thursday. He had been stood down for the third Test in Mohali, alongside James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja, for a breach of team discipline. All are available, however, for selection for the fourth Test.
Opener Ed Cowan said Watson had been welcomed back with open arms and was more than capable of leading if required.
"He is a senior player around the group and it is important those kinds of players are on board because we need those guys for this team to be the best team in the world. There is no doubt he is on board with the team moving forward," Cowan said.
"Shane is more a lead by example kind of fellow in terms of how he prepares. He doesn't leave many stones unturned in terms of preparation and the way he has performed across all formats for a long period of time, that is an example in itself. He is a very different leader to Michael but we're hoping Michael is fine for this Test. He's such a great batsman and we need his runs and his leadership. We're hoping he will be fit."