Australia v South Africa, 2012-13 October 29, 2012

Watson steps up quest for hundreds

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Merely by being fit for its commencement, Shane Watson has already achieved something this season. Entrenched as Australia's No. 3 Test batsman, he is now intent on going on to compile the sorts of scores that will win matches, instead of racking up the kinds of handy five-day tallies that have characterised his career to this point.

Last summer's injuries and frustrations caused Cricket Australia to concoct the most specialised plan for an Australian cricketer yet devised in order to ensure Watson would be close to the peak of fitness and form for the home Tests. He was rested from an ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE, then ordered home early from the Twenty20 Champions League in South Africa.

These rest periods have allowed Watson time to refresh, but also to re-focus, acknowledging that this summer will be an unfulfilled one unless he can maintain his muscular technique for long enough to peel off a century or three. To date he has only two Test centuries, as against 18 50s, in his 35 Tests.

"That's the thing I've been really looking deep inside myself to be able to find the reasons why I haven't been able to convert those decent days into those really big and good days," Watson said. "And they are the innings that do really influence a game. It's certainly something I'm very conscious of and I'm doing everything I can to hopefully have that breakthrough innings to know how to replicate that.

"I'm very much looking forward to the Test cricket coming up. To miss the summer last year and only play a few Tests in the West Indies, I certainly have the excitement inside me to want to play Test cricket. It's the ultimate challenge for a cricketer. There are a few things I certainly want to improve in my Test cricket especially. This is a good opportunity with the amount of cricket coming up and also the quality of opposition to test out where I'm at."

Watson's fitness is a more complicated matter than whether he is nursing any muscle strains or not. Having played a surfeit of T20 lately, he is in training to regain the kind of stamina and thinking required for Tests, and a looming Sheffield Shield fixture against Queensland at Allan Border Field will be critical to how ready Watson will be for the Gabba match.

"Over the next couple of weeks the conditioning part of things is going to be very important. Unless you're out there playing you can't replicate anything like what it's going to be physically being out there on your feet in a battle for five days," Watson said. "That's certainly going to take a bit of time to get my body adjusted to it.

"Mentally that's one of the reasons why I came home [from CLT20]. To be able to reset my batting especially to get rid of a few of the little things that creep in when you're playing the shorter form of the game."

One of the curious things about Watson's failure to be a consistent century maker in Tests is that it is not as though he has never done it. In the 2010 Mohali Test against India, Watson batted more than six hours to anchor Australia's innings, while in first-class matches his 100s to 50s ratio is far more satisfactory, with 17 centuries and 42 half-centuries. He has a double century to his credit in a Sheffield Shield final also.

"[Mohali] was over six hours, and that's a thing I know in Shield cricket in the times when I've scored those big runs in the level below, it has been when I've batted for really long periods of time," Watson said. "So it's about finding that balance to be able to not have a defensive mindset when you're out there, just thinking about batting time.

"That's the only thing that really you're getting balance between, making sure you're putting the bowlers under pressure the whole time you're out there, that they can't just settle into limiting your scoring, but also do it for really long periods of time. A lot of it comes down to being able to replicate your technique, so its the concentration side of things and making sure technique is as good as it can be as well."

To that end, Watson's shift from opening to No. 3 has helped him by providing a slightly wider window to adjust from the demands of bowling to those of batting at the top of the order. Rather than jogging off at the change of innings only to walk straight back out as an opener, Watson now has time at least for a shower, a pause and reset of his goals, even if the opening stand lasts for only a ball or two. While he did not make a tall score when moving into the position in the West Indies, Watson enjoyed the extra time to change gears.

"It's certainly a big change, and I think in the end from what I found in the West Indies a good change in a way, because it meant it gave me a bit of time to even mentally reset," he said. "If I've had to bowl and I've come off straight away and had to get my pads on and get out to face the first ball, you don't really have a time to reset your mind really.

"That's where in the West Indies I found it a nice time to mentally reset, let alone the physical side of things to recover, even if it is just for one ball or one or two overs. I did enjoy that compared to opening the batting."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hyclass on October 31, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    For as long as Watson has batted in the top order,I have identified what I believe to be behind his failure to convert. The overwhelming anecdotal evidence suggests that his muscular physique fatigues far quicker than might otherwise be the case. The evidence is in the pattern of his innings. He is considered an attacking batsman. Yet his S/R in Test cricket is barely 50 runs per hundred balls or 1 run ahead of Katich. The impression is created by him racing to 30, slowing from 30-50 and being out in that general vicinity. If he starts a session, he generally loses his wicket in the last half an hour. I've said for some time that I would like to see more work done by the sports medicine guys on his electrolytes. When you have a player whose batting looks well constructed and his game plans equally well considered, that only leaves physical/concentration as the weak link. Even his two hundreds required multiple dropped catches. I urge him to greatly increase his electrolyte intake.

  • on October 30, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    This is a very interesting series and even as an Aussie I still cannot see Australian even winning this series against this phenomenal team even though we're at home. SA away record is mind boogling...

  • bumsonseats on October 30, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    kensohatter some could say the same about you, as your name does not bring to mind previous postings. as for my posting on a aussie thread i like to say im pretty honest to my opinions on most cricinfo topics and give fair do's were i think its due. as to englands been # 1 for a year, theres only one stand out side and its the saffars and think you will have to play out of your skins to win the series. but if you do im honest enough to say that if you win and go #1 it will be less than a year, but thats only my opinion base on watching test cricket for close to 50 year.

  • ScottStevo on October 30, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @Selassie-I, yes, that's one of the 2 openers required -who is the other one???? Didn't really think that through, did you... PS, Take a look at the rest of Cook's Ashes history - makes for sorry reading...

  • on October 30, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    best again SA

    cowan,warner,ponting,clarke,hussey,watson,wade,siddle,cummins,lyon,hilfenhuas

  • nthuq on October 30, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @I-Like-Cricket, I admit, I hadn't considered that innings, mainly because I didn't watch it, sadly. While the scorecard does tell us that it was on a treacherous track (with only Warner's innings the exception), I have to marginally rate his half century in the last test in the Windies higher. It was a test match overseas, which automatically rate it higher than a game at home. It was on a type of pitch he wouldn't be familiar with. The T20 tracks of the IPL wouldn't compare with that test match pitch. Finally, he played that innings with a miserable strike rate of less than 37. You can't get more out of character if you're Dave Warner. Even Cowan's half century in the second innings of that test was at a greater clip. That is half his strike rate he had in his 123*.

  • Shihan69 on October 30, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    @kensohatter, i agree, but possibly Clarke at 3?

  • peeeeet on October 30, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    @Vivek Kadam - sorry to tell you, but you've named 12 players in your 11.

  • kensohatter on October 30, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    In my opinion in prefer to see Watson at 6. Australia asks too much of him and he simply doesnt have the mental aptitude of a Kallis. Let him have time to recover after his bowling... He would probably get less injuries and would have a better chance of converting big scores rather than fatiguing. The issue is who to put at 3... For me id like to see Ponting there... With Clarke behind him at 4 and then Hussey, Watson and Wade. The advantage here is that you have Hussey and Watson potentially taking the second new ball and Clarke and Hussey able to use their feet to the spinners.

  • kensohatter on October 30, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    I love how all the poms have come out of the woodwork behind a few wins! Its great to see but heres a small dose of reality... what have you really achieved? You held the no.1 test spot briefly, beat australia in australia (seriously a good win) but have you dominated anything? Do you have a win in a major tournament? Do you even have a player who would be considered legendary? The answer is no. You are already on the decline and your day in the sun will be again over. In contrast Australia have at least dominated the last decade. Won multiple world cups, broken the consecutive test win record and produced at least 3 players that would walk into a best of all time world XI (Warne, Mcgrath, Gilchrist) and then a further 4 who would push for selection. (Waugh, Hayden, Langer, Ponting.

  • hyclass on October 31, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    For as long as Watson has batted in the top order,I have identified what I believe to be behind his failure to convert. The overwhelming anecdotal evidence suggests that his muscular physique fatigues far quicker than might otherwise be the case. The evidence is in the pattern of his innings. He is considered an attacking batsman. Yet his S/R in Test cricket is barely 50 runs per hundred balls or 1 run ahead of Katich. The impression is created by him racing to 30, slowing from 30-50 and being out in that general vicinity. If he starts a session, he generally loses his wicket in the last half an hour. I've said for some time that I would like to see more work done by the sports medicine guys on his electrolytes. When you have a player whose batting looks well constructed and his game plans equally well considered, that only leaves physical/concentration as the weak link. Even his two hundreds required multiple dropped catches. I urge him to greatly increase his electrolyte intake.

  • on October 30, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    This is a very interesting series and even as an Aussie I still cannot see Australian even winning this series against this phenomenal team even though we're at home. SA away record is mind boogling...

  • bumsonseats on October 30, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    kensohatter some could say the same about you, as your name does not bring to mind previous postings. as for my posting on a aussie thread i like to say im pretty honest to my opinions on most cricinfo topics and give fair do's were i think its due. as to englands been # 1 for a year, theres only one stand out side and its the saffars and think you will have to play out of your skins to win the series. but if you do im honest enough to say that if you win and go #1 it will be less than a year, but thats only my opinion base on watching test cricket for close to 50 year.

  • ScottStevo on October 30, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @Selassie-I, yes, that's one of the 2 openers required -who is the other one???? Didn't really think that through, did you... PS, Take a look at the rest of Cook's Ashes history - makes for sorry reading...

  • on October 30, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    best again SA

    cowan,warner,ponting,clarke,hussey,watson,wade,siddle,cummins,lyon,hilfenhuas

  • nthuq on October 30, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @I-Like-Cricket, I admit, I hadn't considered that innings, mainly because I didn't watch it, sadly. While the scorecard does tell us that it was on a treacherous track (with only Warner's innings the exception), I have to marginally rate his half century in the last test in the Windies higher. It was a test match overseas, which automatically rate it higher than a game at home. It was on a type of pitch he wouldn't be familiar with. The T20 tracks of the IPL wouldn't compare with that test match pitch. Finally, he played that innings with a miserable strike rate of less than 37. You can't get more out of character if you're Dave Warner. Even Cowan's half century in the second innings of that test was at a greater clip. That is half his strike rate he had in his 123*.

  • Shihan69 on October 30, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    @kensohatter, i agree, but possibly Clarke at 3?

  • peeeeet on October 30, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    @Vivek Kadam - sorry to tell you, but you've named 12 players in your 11.

  • kensohatter on October 30, 2012, 7:06 GMT

    In my opinion in prefer to see Watson at 6. Australia asks too much of him and he simply doesnt have the mental aptitude of a Kallis. Let him have time to recover after his bowling... He would probably get less injuries and would have a better chance of converting big scores rather than fatiguing. The issue is who to put at 3... For me id like to see Ponting there... With Clarke behind him at 4 and then Hussey, Watson and Wade. The advantage here is that you have Hussey and Watson potentially taking the second new ball and Clarke and Hussey able to use their feet to the spinners.

  • kensohatter on October 30, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    I love how all the poms have come out of the woodwork behind a few wins! Its great to see but heres a small dose of reality... what have you really achieved? You held the no.1 test spot briefly, beat australia in australia (seriously a good win) but have you dominated anything? Do you have a win in a major tournament? Do you even have a player who would be considered legendary? The answer is no. You are already on the decline and your day in the sun will be again over. In contrast Australia have at least dominated the last decade. Won multiple world cups, broken the consecutive test win record and produced at least 3 players that would walk into a best of all time world XI (Warne, Mcgrath, Gilchrist) and then a further 4 who would push for selection. (Waugh, Hayden, Langer, Ponting.

  • zenboomerang on October 30, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    I have commented for over a year on Watto's fall in batting form since becoming VC (funny how others read my every word & use my comms as their own now - lol)... Watto will very unlikely change his problems unless he does a complete turn around in his focus which is totally internal - the only cricketer who tours with his own private physio... As Watto said "they [100's] are the innings that do really influence a game" - so yes, 50's are handy but are not those big match winners that Hussey, Ponting & Clarke have produced for Oz... Those innings (like Alma against Eng) really demoralise oppositions & put your team into the drivers seat - something Watto has rarely done in Tests...

  • on October 30, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    Still think that Khawaja should be in the test frame. He's scoring well!

    My XI:

    Cowan, Warner, Clarke(C), Khawaja, Ponting, Hussey( retired at the end of summer perfect replacement in Ferguson), Wade(W), Watson, Starc, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon

    And if Starc doesn't fire, get Jackson Bird or Ben Cutting in there.

  • on October 30, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    What doe Shane Watson say before he turns the TV on?

    Wats on?

  • TommytuckerSaffa on October 30, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    In all seriousness, with my 'neutral hat' on Watson needs to bat at 5/6 where he will be far more affective with a quick fire and aggressive 50/60 runs and bowling 12 overs a day. Watson is a talent but one thing you cant learn is temperment and he just loses concentration after 50 runs and gets out. Ive seen it over and over again. A TEST No.3 needs to bat with long periods of time with immense concentration a la DRAVID, AMLA, Pointing, VVS, Trott, Yousef Yohana, etc.

  • I-Like-Cricket on October 30, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    Also I can't see why we can't just move him down to 6 and have the others all just slide up 1 in the order. On current form Clarke is definitely the best batsman in the country, added to the fact Punter is the highest scoring player in Shield cricket at the moment and looks in very good form, he should be able to bat at 4. Mike Hussey really doesn't need an explanation, Mr. Cricket can bat anywhere. I'm also really tired of seeing everyone bashing Cowan too, sure he hasn't made big scores so far in his short test career but his batting time generally has been great, which is all Australia need if Warner, Clarke or Watto are down the end scoring at a faster rate. No one bitched about Dravid's ability to block the ball 50 times before getting off the mark.

  • I-Like-Cricket on October 30, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    @nthuq. Don't you think his 123 against NZ at Hobart last year was probably a better example of it?

  • sawifan on October 30, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    u really need to laugh at any Englishman saying that Watto is average. While he is not great, neither was the most over-rated player (over-rated by ENG fans) of the past decade, Freddie Flintoff! Don't get me wrong, i loved Freddie, but he was never that good. Watto already has as many 5-fors as Freddie (and Flintoff was a strike bowler), and a better bowler average and strike-rate. While Fred has more tons, that we be changed after a few more years. Now, i'm not calling Watto a great, he isn't and never will be, but English cricket fans calling players from other teams 'average', is the height of hypocrisy. What are you Poms gonna whinge about if the Aussies do win this series? Where to then?! ha!

  • on October 30, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    Watson at No.3 in Tests?!! 2012 has surely arrived!

  • Meety on October 30, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    @RightArmEverything on (October 29 2012, 23:31 PM GMT) - well said. I think IF he can have a couple years of no injuries, he could put a bit of a burst on & average around 50 for a few years. I think he should ditch the vice captaincy role, it is too much for him to handle. == == == IMO - the differnece between Watto the batsmen who avergaes 37 (40+ as an opener) & Watto the batsman who COULD average 50 in tests rests soley between his ears. There is no reason why he can't go on & make big scores. People have made some good observations about his size - didn't stop arguably less fit players like Tubby Taylor & Boonie scoring runs, as some people have noted, he has pretty good technique, & has in Shield cricket hit a double ton. He has it within himself, the issues with Watto's batting I think can be more easily seen in ODIs. He averages less than 30 as captain (career 42), averages 57 batting 2nd v 33. Why on Earth would he worry about bowling when batting first? Its all in his head

  • nthuq on October 30, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    Considering the form he's in now, if he doesn't get at least one hundred in the upcoming series, I don't see him getting them ever again. As for comments about Warner, he's the same as Sehwag. Except that he does have the capability to put a price on his wicket and grind out some runs. His half century in the Windies showed that. And if he learns how to decipher periods in which he can attack, and periods where he needs to grind the runs, he'll do brilliantly.

  • Simoc on October 30, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    Shane Watson is proving to be an outstanding cricketer when not injured. If he was smart enough to let his cricket do the talking instead of his mouth he would be a better person.

  • MinusZero on October 30, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    If he doesnt get big scores against South Africa, he needs to drop down to 5 or 6 in the order where his low scores would be more useful.

  • Rabbito on October 30, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    @SICHO....what happens if davey takes us to 0 for 130 in 25 overs??...(probably not likely but hes done it before!!....even though the attack wasn't so good)...im tipping at least one hundred each to watson and warner....

  • RightArmEverything on October 29, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    As usual there are a lot of opinions at the extremes here i.e. either Watson is the greatest all-rounder in the world or he's no good at all. There are a few measured ones though, and I think the truth is he's neither great nor a disappointment, he's just a 'good' cricketer, as his record suggests. He doesn't get centuries often but he often contributes important 50s, and he is a more than handy wicket-taking bowler. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a few more tons if he did move down the order. It would take the pressure off him to live up to the expectation of being the batsmen that the team builds it's innings around. I think that role sits with Clarke and I'd like to see him move up to No.3 against Sth Africa, and until someone else is ready to make that position their own. It may not be his ideal batting position but at the moment I think he's the best option and as captain is the best person to take the challenge.

  • Vikramaditya100 on October 29, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    well, it wont be an easy task against SA... with the kind of attack they have got... especially if one of the openers fall early....i think steyn has the wood over him... if the openers give Aus a good start then maybe....

  • Jediroya on October 29, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    if Ponting and Clarke are exposed to the new ball the aussies will lose, if they can come in against a dull ball and slightly tired bowlers then they might have a chance. so if either Warner or Watson scores 50 and Cowan blocks 70 balls for 10 runs, they will be very happy with that.

  • landl47 on October 29, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    As a batsman, I think Watson has a couple of problems. One is that he's a natural attacking player, but doesn't always exercise the best judgement. He gets to his 50 and then plays an over-ambitious shot and holes out. He needs to buckle down and grind a bit more. The second is stamina. Ho looks a big, burly fellow and people expect that to translate to endurance. Not always true. He runs out of gas, just as Usain Bolt would struggle to run a marathon. It's compounded by him having to bowl, which takes more out of him. In the end he overstrains himself and breaks down. He really would be better coming in down the order- but Aus would have to find a #3 batsman who could make runs regularly at test level, and that's where Aus are weak at the moment. It will be great for Aus if he makes runs and takes wickets against SA, but given his history, it might be more likely that he makes a couple of fifties, takes a few wickets and breaks down in the third test.

  • thruthecovers on October 29, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    Like I said...Ponting , Clarke and Hussey. Regardless of form, these 3 have done it in the past and are most likely to do it again. This article proves Watson is still searching for his game after all these years and the SA attack is not the one to try and straighten out your game, especially concentration/aggression issues. Boring as it might be, I suspect Smith to instruct 1st and 2nd change , after the initial barrage from Steyn and Philander with the early wicket, to throw it up wide of off-stump and watch Watto throw his wicket away. Absolutely no doubt he'll go for those. Almost like another under-achiever Ian Bell. Watson is no #3. He's a 6/7 at best but even they, at times, are asked to bat for long periods to save/win a game. He should probably just stick to ODI's and T20's.

  • Buckers410 on October 29, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    I disagree with waht hes saying. He needs to be an opener. He is the best in the country atm. You watch, he go steady, score a fifty or two, then Cowan will get dropped and Watson will open again and score big. Come 'on Watto

  • Beertjie on October 29, 2012, 20:56 GMT

    It just makes no sense for him to bat #3; he might just as well open as others have said. Agree with you @Selassie-I about the best batsman playing at #3. Chapelli suggested that Pup bat there in an article early in the year, but he doesn't want to. This is going to cost us big time. Until our openers and #3 show up we're just drifting. If Punter doesn't get a sizeable score, they should tap him on the shoulder and give him the first test v SL as his "testimonial".

  • SICHO on October 29, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    Watson's "attack the bowlers" atitude won't get him anywhere, especially as a no. 3 batsman. There is no perfect no. 3 batsman than our very own Hashim Amla. He can bat and concentrate for long periods, which is essential for a no. 3 batsman. Unlike Watson who thinks attacking bowlers will get him centuries, yeah right!!! I suppose Cowan or Warner gets out early to a fired up Steyn, in comes Watson to "anchor" the innings, lord help Aussie cricket(in terms of the batting). I'm expecting the scorecard to read as 30-3 or 60-4 through out the series.

  • Cpt.Meanster on October 29, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    He started out as a mediocre player who wouldn't get a place in a 3rd XI. The IPL and Shane Warne made him the player he is now. Who said T20 cricket doesn't MAKE a player !! Watto is a fine example. Now he looks a world beater. He's in good form. Without a proper test opener, Watson is the best man for the Aussies along with Warner. There is every chance him and warner could get out early due to their attacking instincts, but at the same time, good starts could go a long way to ensure Australia get an upper hand over the opposition.

  • Selassie-I on October 29, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (October 29 2012, 09:54 AM GMT) - Nobody except that Cook fellow, you know the one who knocked well over 700 runs off your lot last Ashes? If you can't remember him just ask Mitch Johnson - I believe that he's still having the therapy for it?

  • Selassie-I on October 29, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    @RandyOz - When did he take England to the cleaners? I think you're imagining it mate. Shame that Australia have sunk to having a no.3 that can't make test 100s. I'd want my best batsman that could bat all day at 3, say someone like Dravid, Kallis or Trott, especially when you already have an aggressive opener who is liable to get out quickly. No wonder Austalia find themselves 2 or 3 down early on these days.

  • anton1234 on October 29, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Does anyone know if the Big Bash League is available on TV here in the UK? I watched the latter stages of the champions league on Eurosport and it was good. I love the Big Bash because its full of quality and easily the best domestic T20 competition. Can Australian Cricket board please give the UK rights to the competition to Eurosport please , but not Sky as it is too expensive and you need a satellite dish to access it.

    If the UK rights are not on offer, will the Big Bash League have its own iPad app where you can view live matches, something similar to the major league baseball offers international customers?

  • bumsonseats on October 29, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    randyoz i agree he is the best all rounder. but please when did he take england to the cleaners, or for that matter the india, and i guess you will have to wait till after the saffars visit for that to happen. you must stop drinking that english bitter its sending you out of kilter or at least more than usual

  • bumsonseats on October 29, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    continued. every other series he will struggle. just as sehwag struggles on alot on wickets overseas were the bowl moves about. some said he would be world class but those words have come back to haunt. neither warner or hughes will play much test cricket, and move watson down the order in test match cricket were you will get the best out of him, and can see him there for the next 5/6 years if fittness is kept up.

  • vj3478 on October 29, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    It is just a 'mind' thing. Couple of centuries and I m sure that there is no stopping for Watson.... Yep, its his mind thats keeping him at bay from 3 digit scores and moving him from good to great!

  • bumsonseats on October 29, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    its quite easy to find the reason and thats the same as warner and hughes and that is they are not test openers plain and simple, good odi.T20 certainly. this is not aussie bashing by me its the plain truth and any one who watches test cricket can tell,their game is to loose. watson should be batting #6 and hope to get 7/8 overs out of him as his bowling is a big plus he a lucky bowler and seem to get batters out saying he lucky is not a derogatory call as botham the greatest england all rounder was similar he would do a great job for the aussies. cowens the jury is still out on him his defensive game is good and he plays relatively tight but he can go into his shell so slow scoring can be a problem with him. iv yet to see by stats another guy to bat with cowens so its back to the drawing board until you find a replacement opener warner will have to stop gap i see him as a sehwag but as he does not play on indian wickets every other series. to continue

  • Blakey on October 29, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Watson would be great ... in shield cricket! 3 centuries at test level are the best indicator that the guy doesn't have the mental make-up for tests. And thank god they've taken him out of the slips cordon. He can't make big scores consistently because he can't concentrate for more than a session. Look at how mant times he has got out straight after a drinks or lunch/tea break. I would love him to prove me wrong but unfortunately I don't think he will deliver on the potential.

  • Barnesy4444 on October 29, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    It was not long ago that Watson was hell bent on remaining as an opener. Now he is enjoying the short break between innings? It seems he doesn't really know what he wants which is a concern seeing he is our VC. He's been talking about making centuries for 2 or 3 years now. He is however, a talented player bowling 10-15 overs an innings and batting at 4 or below. The pressure wouldn't be there to score big centuries and he may actually play better.

  • Kitschiguy on October 29, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    He's a genuine all-rounder - in the context of Australian cricket. In World cricket he's a number 7. Got taken to the cleaners by England. He's poor.

  • on October 29, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    you guys dont watch the same game as me - besides ponting he is the only other batsman with a decent technique in the side. clarke hits across the line, as do hussey and warner. cowan looks solid but is not a match-winner. no 3 is a good spot for watson and with at least 3 fast bowlers in the side plus hussey he shouldnt have to bowl too many overs. only other option is ponting back to 3 and watson at 4. clarke not good enough to bat above 6 and maybe 7 after wade.maybe bring maxwell or steve smith in for clarke at #7 as they offer more options and give the captaincy back to ponting until watson is ready for the job?

  • dsig3 on October 29, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    He lacks patience and gets carried away with his big shots. Still need him in the team, just wish he bowled more and batted down the order.

  • RandyOZ on October 29, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    The best all rounder in World Cricket. Took England to the cleaners, then India, now South Africa.

  • peeeeet on October 29, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    Watson would be great at 6, since he could then utilise his under-rated bowling more. It's too much to ask an all-rounder to bat in the top order for so long and actually produce decent and consistent scores, and basically no player has done it successfully over an entire career (which makes you realise just how good Kallis actually is). But at the moment, there are no top order batsmen doing really well in Shield cricket - the 2 best openers are in the Test team which says a lot about our batting stocks! So thus we are forced to have Watson at the top. I have confidence that in time Warner will be good enough, and I hope players like Hughes and Khawaja rediscover their mojo so Watson can drop down the order. I think Clarke has got to have a huge series for us to have a chance. If he plays well, the rest will follow.

  • gibboj on October 29, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    he should play at number 4

  • Winsome on October 29, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    Believe it when I see it. He's been talking this way for about 2 years. In the 2010 Mohali test he got dropped twice on his way to a ton. Both his tons have come through the largesse of fielders. He's not an opening batsman so I hope that he isn't opening for Aus. Even at 3, he'll just get to 50 then get out. He should be batting 5 or 6, but we'll have to wait for that till the old boys go.

  • TopC on October 29, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Yep, he's not a top-order batsman. But, reckon he would fantastic at No.5 or 6.

  • ScottStevo on October 29, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    He'd walk in to open for England though as they've got nobody, RednWhiteArmy - and their tail starts at 6!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on October 29, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Hope ozzie opens the batting with him, then the Saffas can get him out early with a new swinging ball. By far Ozzies most form batsman.

  • Heisenburg on October 29, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, You're kidding me right? I think he's a number 6, however he's very capable anywhere in the order.

  • RednWhiteArmy on October 29, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    He's a number 7 or 8, not an opener or number 3. Just goes to show the lack of talented cricketers in australia.

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  • RednWhiteArmy on October 29, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    He's a number 7 or 8, not an opener or number 3. Just goes to show the lack of talented cricketers in australia.

  • Heisenburg on October 29, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, You're kidding me right? I think he's a number 6, however he's very capable anywhere in the order.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on October 29, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Hope ozzie opens the batting with him, then the Saffas can get him out early with a new swinging ball. By far Ozzies most form batsman.

  • ScottStevo on October 29, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    He'd walk in to open for England though as they've got nobody, RednWhiteArmy - and their tail starts at 6!

  • TopC on October 29, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    Yep, he's not a top-order batsman. But, reckon he would fantastic at No.5 or 6.

  • Winsome on October 29, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    Believe it when I see it. He's been talking this way for about 2 years. In the 2010 Mohali test he got dropped twice on his way to a ton. Both his tons have come through the largesse of fielders. He's not an opening batsman so I hope that he isn't opening for Aus. Even at 3, he'll just get to 50 then get out. He should be batting 5 or 6, but we'll have to wait for that till the old boys go.

  • gibboj on October 29, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    he should play at number 4

  • peeeeet on October 29, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    Watson would be great at 6, since he could then utilise his under-rated bowling more. It's too much to ask an all-rounder to bat in the top order for so long and actually produce decent and consistent scores, and basically no player has done it successfully over an entire career (which makes you realise just how good Kallis actually is). But at the moment, there are no top order batsmen doing really well in Shield cricket - the 2 best openers are in the Test team which says a lot about our batting stocks! So thus we are forced to have Watson at the top. I have confidence that in time Warner will be good enough, and I hope players like Hughes and Khawaja rediscover their mojo so Watson can drop down the order. I think Clarke has got to have a huge series for us to have a chance. If he plays well, the rest will follow.

  • RandyOZ on October 29, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    The best all rounder in World Cricket. Took England to the cleaners, then India, now South Africa.

  • dsig3 on October 29, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    He lacks patience and gets carried away with his big shots. Still need him in the team, just wish he bowled more and batted down the order.