New Delhi: Australia`s Test opener Ed Cowan Wednesday backed Shane Watson to lead the team in the fourth and the final match against India if skipper Michael Clarke if unfit.
An out-of-form Watson has been in the centre of controversy after he was sidelined from the third Test in Mohali along with three others over a breach of discipline last week.
Watson was angry and left for home to be with his wife Lee, who delivered baby boy Will last Thursday.
Watson, who left India contemplating retirement, however returned in time to be with the team for the fourth Test starting here Friday.
Cowan said Watson is a "great player and a good leader."
"He (Watson) has probably decided to come back with a full focus and we will accept him because he is such a great player and a good leader," Cowan told reporters at the Feroze Shah Kotla after a practice session.
"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."
Cowan said Watson was different from Clarke, who is struggling with back pain. Cowan also hoped that Clarke would available for the Test.
"He is a very different leader to Michael but we`re hoping Michael is fine for this Test. He (Clarke) is such a great batsman and we need his runs and his leadership," he said.
Cowan said the team has emerged stronger after the `homework affair` and is determined to again become the No.1 Test team.
"There had been a build-up and there always comes a time where there is a breaking point and that happened in Mohali. We feel quite buoyed by the concept of moving forward together," said Cowan.
First Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 14:14