Hughes even questions whether Watson should retain Australia’s vice-captaincy or continue as a Test cricketer.
An outspoken former Test batting great and national skipper through turbulent times in re-settlement of world series and establishment cricket in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Hughes called Watson “weak” for walking out on the troubled tour of India.
“Quite frankly he has been pretty average for a while,” Hughes said in an interview with the West Australian newspaper in Perth.
“He has been injured. His batting has been below par.
“He has been more out than in and if that is his attitude then no wonder he has been dropped.
“Because that is as weak as p---”
Hughes said that taking the penalty into isolation the radical action “appeared harsh”.
But with revelations other indiscretions had stacked up against players and the team on the troubled Indian tour further justified suspensions, Hughes threw his support behind team management.
Watson, 31, immediately left the Aussie touring troop and headed home to be by his wife Lee’s side for the imminent birth of their first child.
He has conceded that over the next fortnight he will consider his playing future, as Australia completes the horror Indian tour and prospects of a significant series thrashing.
Watson has not made a Test century, ironically, since his last outing at Mohali in October 2010.
He has gone 37 Test innings since that 126 with 10 half-centuries for 1185 runs at an average of 32.9 as the former gun all-rounder has battled a succession of soft tissue leg injuries that now curtails Watson from playing as anything but a specialist top-order batsman.
Watson and three other tour party members, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja have been suspended from the vital Third Test starting at Mohali on Thursday.
They were all dumped from selection on disciplinary reasons by captain Michael Clarke and coach coach Mickey Arthur.
Arthur set all playing members of the touring group a written assignment task to assess Australia’s poor performances in the opening two Test defeats to India and when Watson, Pattinson, Khawaja and Johnson failed to comply with a lodgement deadline they were dumped.
Hughes commended the harsh action from Clarke and Arthur.
“It’s not too much to ask is it?” Hughes said.
“It is quite acceptable for the coach to say, ‘listen boys, I want you all to go away and think about how you and the team can get better and I want something given to me by Saturday’.
“They had six or seven days.
“If you view this in isolation you think, ‘geez that is a bit harsh’.
“But obviously there have been other things going on, not necessarily by these players but still things that are not up to standard.
“They have now said this is the line in the sand. We have had enough.”