Watson says let Paine pick his vice-captain
AUSTRALIA is in the midst of a convoluted process to appoint its next vice-captain, but Shane Watson believes it should be as simple as the captain's pick.
Watson is somewhat of an authority on the matter having served as a vice-captain, captain and senior player through a torturous period where personality clashes appeared to undermine the leadership of the Test team.
Mitchell Marsh is considered the overwhelming favourite to step in as Tim Paine's deputy for the upcoming tour against Pakistan, but several players are reportedly on a short-list, having been originally nominated by their peers and last week put through an interview process in Brisbane.
Michael Clarke has admitted he was a poor vice-captain to Ricky Ponting, Watson concedes he and Clarke didn't work, and the ball-tampering scandal has exposed the flawed chemistry between David Warner and Steve Smith.
The final decision on the Test vice-captaincy will be made by Justin Langer and the selectors before going to the board for approval, with an announcement to be made before the first Test in Dubai on October 7.
But Watson says that after nearly a decade of getting it wrong, Australia should consider simply giving the casting vote to the skipper Paine; the man best-placed to foresee a match who will best support his captaincy.
"I'd say they've got it wrong the last quite a while. Really, since Ricky and Adam Gilchrist. They complemented each other really well," said Watson, who is including himself in the vice-captain mistakes.
"I think the captain should just about pick the vice-captain or have a huge influence in that decision because in the end, as a captain, you know who is going to be your most supportive person.
"If you are honest with yourself, (it's someone) who is going to be able to complement you as a leader.
"It means also that you're not going to pick someone who you know is going to detract or pull away from your skills as a leader.
"I really believe the captain should have a massive influence because then there's more chance of getting that dynamic right instead of taking it out of the captain's hands, which has happened a lot.
"They make the decision which is the wrong one and in the end it means there's tension in the leadership group which is the opposite to what you need.
"You want people complementing each other to help get the best out of the leadership group, not pulling in different ways."
Brad Haddin served a reliable vice-captain for Clarke and similar to Gilchrist's service to Ponting, had no ambition to ascend to the top job.
However, it will be difficult for Australia to replicate that model because the older, calm head in the side is Paine.
Therefore selectors have little choice in the current environment but to try and invest in a young leader who they can try and mould into the next Test captain.
Steve Smith won't be allowed to skipper Australia again until 2020 and Paine is already 33.
Marsh looms as a good fit because he is a likeable personality who enjoys a strong rapport with teammates and across Australian cricket.
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