Shane Watson has announced his decision to stand down from the position of Australia vice-captain, with this summer's Ashes series beginning is less than three months.

The 31-year-old all-rounder was one of four players dropped for the third Test against India in March after failing to follow the instructions of coach Micky Arthur, but Watson claims he has relinquished the role to concentrate on his batting.

"I think it's the right time for a change for both the team and me," Watson explained in a statement.

"I want to be the best Test player I can be for Australia."

He added: "I can do that by stepping down from the vice captaincy to focus my attention on scoring runs, taking wickets and doing whatever is necessary to help the team achieve success."

Watson, like the majority of his teammates, endured a torrid time in India, as he averaged just 16.5 runs in the middle order, despite removing himself from bowling duties in order focus on responsibilities with the bat.

The versatile batsman is desperate to recapturing his form in the lead up to the Ashes, which begins at Trent Bridge on July 10, with Australia looking to end a run of two consecutive series defeats to England.

Australia, meanwhile, are expected to appoint wicketkeeper Brad Haddin as Watson's successor, and deputy to captain Michael Clarke.

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