South Africa in Australia 2012-13 November 6, 2012

Australia reluctant for Watson to stop bowling

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Michael Clarke has not yet considered the possibility of cutting down Shane Watson's bowling workload when he returns to the Test side. Watson will miss the first Test against South Africa, starting at the Gabba on Friday, after injuring his calf while bowling for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match on Saturday, and it is far from the first time Watson has hurt himself while bowling.

He missed all of Australia's home Tests last summer after suffering a hamstring injury while bowling in the Johannesburg Test in November - a calf complaint also arose during the summer - and often struggled with his dual batting and bowling roles earlier in his career. Watson, 31, has always declared himself an allrounder and insisted that he wants to keep bowling. Australia will need to consider how best to use him over the coming years.

They could look to the example of Steve Waugh, who began his career as an allrounder and often bowled more than 20 overs in a Test innings, but once he reached his thirties his body struggled to handle the workload and he scaled back his bowling significantly. Notably, around the time Waugh cut back on his bowling his Test batting average was 43; by the end of his career it had risen to 51.

"We'll worry about that if we have to. Shane sees himself as an allrounder. I haven't heard any different at this stage," Clarke said in Brisbane ahead of the first Test. "I'm pretty sure he wants to come back as an allrounder and we've selected him through his career as an allrounder.

"There have been games where he hasn't been selected because he hasn't been able to bowl. If he's fit to do both, then he'll do both. If he's not, the selectors will sit down and work out if we're going to select him just as a batsman."

For the time being, Australia are not willing to choose Watson for his batting alone. Although Watson consistently makes starts and has passed 50 on 20 occasions in Test cricket, only twice has he gone on to turn those into hundreds. Australia's coach, Mickey Arthur, is also keen for Watson to return as an allrounder, rather than confining himself to a batting role.

"Shane's got a massive amount to offer in two disciplines," Arthur said on Inside Cricket on Monday. "It's a blow not to have him because he's two cricketers in one. Shane's still got a long career ahead of him, batting and bowling."

Whether that career includes this series against South Africa remains to be seen, although he has more than two weeks to prove his fitness before the second Test in Adelaide. Australia called Rob Quiney in for this Test and Arthur said the selection panel had been keen to replace Watson with the man they considered the next best batsman, rather than another allrounder such as Andrew McDonald.

"There was [consideration of another allrounder], we had a look at all the scenarios," Arthur said. "As a panel we were very keen on picking what we thought was our best top-six batters. I think that's really important, especially against a good bowling attack, we wanted to pick our best top six. Then we look down the line at what our best four bowlers are to get us 20 wickets. We've gone down the old fashioned route of picking six batters, four bowlers and a keeper."

That balance could present some on-field challenges for Clarke, who might need to rely on his part-timers more heavily than he would have liked. It was notable that at training on Tuesday, Quiney and Michael Hussey were both sending down medium-pacers in the nets. Quiney's outswingers have earned him three first-class wickets - he took 2 for 22 the first time he bowled in a first-class match - and Clarke will consider using him if required at the Gabba.

"We've seen in the past that I've got some overs out of Michael Hussey. Rob Quiney will be no different," Clarke said. "And if there's a bit of spin, I can bowl as well. We've still got the options there. Whether you've got an allrounder in your team or not, you always rely on your main four bowlers and then you use your part-timers as you see fit. Hopefully our frontline bowlers can do the job. But if there's a role for a part-timer to play, they'll certainly get that opportunity."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • __PK on November 8, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    "...struggled with his dual batting and bowling roles earlier in his career." What basis do you have for that assertion? Even early in his career, he made a habit of performing with bat or ball in almost every game - a failure with one was balanced by success with the other.

  • jezzastyles on November 8, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    What CA want and what Watto's body can deliver may be two very different things. If he bowls at all, they need to limit him to 4 or 5 over bursts. Personally, I wouldn't mind him concentrating on his batting alone, securing the top-order (which has been relatively weak since the sacking of Katich) and notching up a lot more hundreds. He's a quality fielder as well. CA should be concentrating on getting their young quicks consistently on the field - not meandering on the sidelines with yet another early diagnosed stress fracture or similar type of injury - Cummins' potential will never be realised because his body won't allow it.

  • Beertjie on November 7, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    The #3 position becomes a big problem if your openers are dicey and ours are that, so it's a no-brainer that a good 3 is needed. Although Watto likes batting up the order, it's obvious that he needs to bat lower for many of the reasons given, like providing experience alongside Clarke for those replacing Punter and Huss in the quite near future. Taking such factors into consideration leads inevitably to Clarke needing to condition himself for that role asap, say for the tour to India when Watto's bowling will be needed. The two big tours next year may be prompting the concern for him to continue as an all rounder. However, because he lacks the constitution of the natural athletes like Symonds and Siddle, he'll always run the risk of breaking down. I can't see either him or Clarke being around beyond 2016. You can't blame them for trying to prolong their test careers but sometimes you need to take decisions in the best interest of the team. Punter + Pup started at 6 so give others a go

  • reddawn1975 on November 7, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    His body keeps braking down when he bowls. They should go back to letting the guy bat my god he was amazing when he was 100% Batsman he doesn't need to bowl just Open the batting

  • OneEyedAussie on November 7, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    There is too much expected of Watson and he clearly can't handle it. Batting at 3 & scoring centuries/fielding at slips/vice captaincy/bowling first change & taking a few wickets - most players would only be expected to do TWO of these things. In order to lengthen his career, I would recommend batting him at 6, fielding him at mid-on, removing the duties of vice captain and having him trundle out 4-5 over spells 2nd change.

  • Meety on November 7, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    @HatsforBats on (November 07 2012, 08:52 AM GMT) - less than 48hrs to go!

  • stormy16 on November 7, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    I see Aus desperately want Watto to be an alrounder but surely he must be on the park first. After missing the whole of last summer and now the vital first test against SA, its time to make the hard calls. The guy is 31 and injuries have plagued him all along and still has 5 solid years of service ahead of him. The injuries are not going to get any better and Aus batting stocks are shallow if Watto's replacement is anything to go by, its time for Watto to take the step of playing as a specialist batter. This should atleast guarantee some experienced quality batting in the top order when Aus search for replacements for Ponting and Hussey. Further, what is the point of having a quality alrounder who is unable to play consistently?

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    @Meety, sorry I was a little over the top with the Hilditch comment, the giddiness of the approaching test made me think silly thoughts!

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    @zenboomerang, I'm sure we'll have the usual gabba test pitch and Lyon will actually get some assistance with some bounce. I'm loathe to see Hilf bowling himself into the ground after showing such good form and pace last year, another reason I'd like to have the all-rounder. If Kallis bowls a lot of overs I'll be suprised and happy, he's averaging about 50 odd these last few years.

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    @Moppa, in that case I'll take DHussey with the 50+ average, hussey a few years older with some mediocre bowling and excellent fielding ;) He should have been playing for several years now anyway.

  • __PK on November 8, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    "...struggled with his dual batting and bowling roles earlier in his career." What basis do you have for that assertion? Even early in his career, he made a habit of performing with bat or ball in almost every game - a failure with one was balanced by success with the other.

  • jezzastyles on November 8, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    What CA want and what Watto's body can deliver may be two very different things. If he bowls at all, they need to limit him to 4 or 5 over bursts. Personally, I wouldn't mind him concentrating on his batting alone, securing the top-order (which has been relatively weak since the sacking of Katich) and notching up a lot more hundreds. He's a quality fielder as well. CA should be concentrating on getting their young quicks consistently on the field - not meandering on the sidelines with yet another early diagnosed stress fracture or similar type of injury - Cummins' potential will never be realised because his body won't allow it.

  • Beertjie on November 7, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    The #3 position becomes a big problem if your openers are dicey and ours are that, so it's a no-brainer that a good 3 is needed. Although Watto likes batting up the order, it's obvious that he needs to bat lower for many of the reasons given, like providing experience alongside Clarke for those replacing Punter and Huss in the quite near future. Taking such factors into consideration leads inevitably to Clarke needing to condition himself for that role asap, say for the tour to India when Watto's bowling will be needed. The two big tours next year may be prompting the concern for him to continue as an all rounder. However, because he lacks the constitution of the natural athletes like Symonds and Siddle, he'll always run the risk of breaking down. I can't see either him or Clarke being around beyond 2016. You can't blame them for trying to prolong their test careers but sometimes you need to take decisions in the best interest of the team. Punter + Pup started at 6 so give others a go

  • reddawn1975 on November 7, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    His body keeps braking down when he bowls. They should go back to letting the guy bat my god he was amazing when he was 100% Batsman he doesn't need to bowl just Open the batting

  • OneEyedAussie on November 7, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    There is too much expected of Watson and he clearly can't handle it. Batting at 3 & scoring centuries/fielding at slips/vice captaincy/bowling first change & taking a few wickets - most players would only be expected to do TWO of these things. In order to lengthen his career, I would recommend batting him at 6, fielding him at mid-on, removing the duties of vice captain and having him trundle out 4-5 over spells 2nd change.

  • Meety on November 7, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    @HatsforBats on (November 07 2012, 08:52 AM GMT) - less than 48hrs to go!

  • stormy16 on November 7, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    I see Aus desperately want Watto to be an alrounder but surely he must be on the park first. After missing the whole of last summer and now the vital first test against SA, its time to make the hard calls. The guy is 31 and injuries have plagued him all along and still has 5 solid years of service ahead of him. The injuries are not going to get any better and Aus batting stocks are shallow if Watto's replacement is anything to go by, its time for Watto to take the step of playing as a specialist batter. This should atleast guarantee some experienced quality batting in the top order when Aus search for replacements for Ponting and Hussey. Further, what is the point of having a quality alrounder who is unable to play consistently?

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    @Meety, sorry I was a little over the top with the Hilditch comment, the giddiness of the approaching test made me think silly thoughts!

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    @zenboomerang, I'm sure we'll have the usual gabba test pitch and Lyon will actually get some assistance with some bounce. I'm loathe to see Hilf bowling himself into the ground after showing such good form and pace last year, another reason I'd like to have the all-rounder. If Kallis bowls a lot of overs I'll be suprised and happy, he's averaging about 50 odd these last few years.

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    @Moppa, in that case I'll take DHussey with the 50+ average, hussey a few years older with some mediocre bowling and excellent fielding ;) He should have been playing for several years now anyway.

  • Doogius on November 7, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Nice. Clarifying the selection process on the eve of the 1st test. Baffles me to the extreme why this is in the open. I guess this is the way you inspire your team.

  • jmcilhinney on November 7, 2012, 5:34 GMT

    The conundrum with Watson, I think, is that he would most likely be quite good enough to be picked as a batsman only if he wasn't bowling because his batting would likely be more effective. His bowling is well beyond useful though, so it's very hard to give that up because every team would love an all-rounder like him. The problem is that they really want him to bat and bowl to his full potential and I just don't think both will ever happen consistently together. Dropping him down the order seems to have a logic to it but I'm not sure that his record down the order is all that great. He may have matured enough now that he can make it work though. They probably don't want to keep chopping and changing the order to find out but if they keep working his as they are then he's just going to keep breaking.

  • Merrerbug on November 7, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    Would he be less likely to sustain these injuries if he got himself really fit like Peter Siddle did a few years back? Surely he could lose 6-8 kgs, and get a lot stronger fitness wise.

  • Moppa on November 7, 2012, 3:40 GMT

    PS: I think Watson *is* a Test class batsman and should play ahead of Quiney even if he can't bowl. I hope the thinking is that his calf complaint could be worsened by batting or fielding, and that he's a much better chance of being 100% fit to bat and bowl in Adelaide if he doesn't play in Brisbane. Re Clarke batting at 3, I agree with @Chris_P

  • zenboomerang on November 7, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    @HatsforBats... Agree about an allrounder seamer needed, especially for the Gabba & WACA... The Vic's did well at the Gabba with 4 seamers (as Qld also used) & the spinners were hardly used - 6 overs all up... Henriques did well on the WACA as did McDonald... Looks like we will see Hilfy bowling very long spells as Pattinson will only be useful for short spells, while the Saffa's will have Kallis able to give their 3rd seamer a break while keeping the pressure up from one end - if its a battle between the bowlers then we'll lose...

  • Moppa on November 7, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    This whole 'all-rounder' thing is causing people a lot of confusion. From a Test selectors' perspective there are four kinds of all-rounders: 1) Test class batsmen who bowl a bit, like Watson, 2) Test class bowlers who bat quite well like, say, Brett Lee, 3) geniuses like Imran Khan who could get selected on either discipline and 4) bits and pieces players who are not Test class in either discipline. You can't replace a 1) (batting allrounder) with a 2) or 4) without greatly upsetting the balance of the side. @Hatsforbats, I'll be generous and say Butterworth, Faulkner and O'Keefe are 2)s. McDonald, Christian, Smith and Henriques are currently 4)s but wannabe 1)s. Any of those selections would greatly change the balance of the side. Only DHussey is a 1). Watson is primarily a batsman and must be replaced by a proper batsman. Whilst I would have preferred Khawaja, Quiney will have to do. Siddle, Patto and Hilf can cover the whole first session no worries without going to part timers.

  • on November 7, 2012, 2:43 GMT

    @Phil Wood @AnkitAgarwal What about Sir Garry Sobers then? He was undoubtedly the greatest allrounder of all time.

  • lthornte on November 7, 2012, 2:31 GMT

    I know this is slightly off topic, but i think a change can be made to the Test system to improve it and give it more of a purpose. Over a 3-4 year period the top 8 Test countries play each other twice in home and away fixtures. With a points system and a ladder like in other sports at the end of this period the top 4 teams play off in semifinals and then a grand final, but unlike the WC they can be played in different countries simultaneously. Extra points for winning away tests and potentially handicapping the poorer teams would balance out the system. Winning it would congratulate success over a long time and it also allows the big test series to remain. Thoughts?

  • Meety on November 7, 2012, 1:16 GMT

    @Chris_P on (November 06 2012, 23:49 PM GMT) - agree 100% re: Clarke. I think he is trying to position himself up the order by often batting #3 for NSW, but I would rather fix a problem (i.e #3) than potentially create another by moving him. It is worth noting, we still have the most prolific #3 ever, batting @ #4! I agree re: Quinney EXCEPT that I think the balance of the side is a little shaky now as @HatsforBats has mentioned. I would be assuming Lyon will be bowling a lot overs (he should be fresh from the 4 he bowled in Hobart), & would imagine we'll rotate thru the first session okay. After Lunch I will imagine could be tough going with 4 specialists. @HatsforBats on (November 07 2012, 00:42 AM GMT) - it was quite surprising that Quinney got the call, given the performance of Maxwell with bat & ball. Maxwell would of given us the option of playing 4 quicks & been some insurance. That said, I have a gazillion % more confidence in the NSP - than the Hilditch era!

  • on November 7, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    @Ankit Agrawal "Kallis is the only exception among great all-rounders " - never heard of Keith Miller then? Australia's greatest all-rounder usually batted 3, 4 or 5 and opened the bowling very effectively.

  • HatsforBats on November 7, 2012, 0:42 GMT

    Because Quiney has been selected, within the first session of their batting innings SA will be facing slow-medium dibbler dobblers from either Hussey or Quiney, or Lyon who has bowled about 5 overs so far this season. What a terrifying prospect for the multitude of SA batsmen averaging 50+ that must be. Ponting or Clarke should have been moved to #3 with an all-rounder brought in at #6 or 7. Butterworth, AB Mac, Faulkner, Christian, DHussey, Smith, SOK...anyone but another 30yr old who averages 30-odd. Haddin is a better batsman than Quiney! Heck I'd even take Mitch Johnson for a couple of part-time quick & violent overs and hope for the best with the bat! I'm starting to have little more faith in Inverarity than I did with Hilditch.

  • on November 7, 2012, 0:34 GMT

    I don't see anything in the article where it is said that Watson wouldn't be picked if he could only bat. What is said is that they currently pick him as an all-rounder and would have to reconsider his selection if he could no longer bowl. Given the current riches available to the selectors in terms of batting talent I'm sure he would still be one of the first names put on to the team sheet.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    @V-Man_ & inthebag. Why should Clarke bat at #3? He has never batted there, he isn't comfortable batting there, so why should he? Greg Chappell was an infinitely better batsman than Clarke & he felt comfortable & always batted at #4. Someone @ 3 is a specialst position, preferably someone who doesn't mind opening, for he can be out there 2nd ball of the innings. It is a totally different mindset. And please stop trying to use T20 form as justification. It is a totally different game. Even Warner plays differently.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    @John Mckenzie Your quote on stats are correct, but what you have missed is his efforts the past 2 seasons. Season 2010/11, 724 runs @ 42.58 Season 2011/12, 938 runs @ 49.36 (including Victorian cricketer of the year). From this, you can see he is improving & in form. These aren't earth shattering figures, but they do represent someone in consistent form. His selection is very much a short term proposition. When someone with a future can come up with better long term stats, they are welcome to be selected ahead of him. It's not a brain snap by any stretch of the imagination (IMHO).

  • V-Man_ on November 6, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    @inthebag: agree with you. clarke should be at 3 and watson should be batting at 6 in the current team. he can move up to no 4 or 5 when ponting and hussy retire.

  • MinusZero on November 6, 2012, 22:49 GMT

    Watson isnt good enough to only be a batsman. If they do try this, he must spend time in FC cricket to show if he can excel as a batsman and not just be automatically picked. His record doesnt deserve that. He only averaged 24 last year with 1 50 in 11 innings and is only averaging 32 in 6 innings this year.

  • inthebag on November 6, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    Clarke at 3, Watson at 6 seems like a no-brainer. You've got the all-rounder where you need him and you've strengthened the top order. Maybe they feel that until we get some consistency from the openers they won't want to expose Clarke too often. If that's the case Clarke should just step up and take one for the team every now and then.

  • on November 6, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    So they aren't ruling out picking Haddin as a batsman only, but won't consider picking Watson as a batsman only....?

  • on November 6, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    Watto is a better batsman than Warner, Cowan or Quiney even in Tests.

  • peeeeet on November 6, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    From my understanding, wanting to play Watson as an all rounder is justifiable since it brings a good balance to the side. And let's face it, he has done well as an all rounder over his career. It seems then a double standard to replace him with a batsman, and not only that, but a batsman whose batting average is lower than the next best batting all rounder in the country - Andrew McDonald. Hopefully our 4 bowlers can get the job done.

  • on November 6, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    From where I am standing Watson should be 1 of the top six batsmen in Australia team. he is way ahead of Cowan & Warner in my book who i feel will struggle to tough it out vs Morkel, Steyn & co. doesn't say much about Australian batting but it is what it is

  • V-Man_ on November 6, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Really shows the decline in quality batsmen in australian cricket. He is not good enough to be selected just as a batsman in test. he is a good t20 and odi batsman but less than an average test batsman. there were days when batsman like brad hodge couldn't keep his spot with a battting avg of almost 56 or openers like phil jaques had to wait on the sideline for someone to get injured. australia had too many good players in one generation.

  • MaruthuDelft on November 6, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Isn't Watson a contender for Australian captaincy? Remember Clarke was not at all convincing when he took over from Ponting. One bad series; people will start it again.

  • on November 6, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    I dont understand why Australians especially Clarke can't use their minds. How can you expect someone to bat at 3 and be a good part of the bowling attack as well? Common guys everybody can't be a Jacques Kallis. And even Kallis has cut short his workload (in terms of number of matches) in the recent years. You look at all the great all rounders of the past, there is one common thing which you will notice and it is that all of them batted 6 or 7 for most part of their career and have been a good part of their bowling attacks. Kallis is the only exception among great all-rounders and thats why I consider him the best of the lot. Now you don't want every all-rounder be like Kallis. Bravo is a good example. A few years ago he tried to bat in the top order but injuries started to take a toll on him. Then he switched back to his normal position and he's giving his best today with both bat I would surely want Watson to be a allrounder but then he should be batting 6 not 3. Clarke for no. 3

  • on November 6, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    I'm gobsmacked that Quiney's been selected ahead of a batting-only Watson. Check his history: - 1st class batting average of 37. - A total of three (yes, 3) 1st class wickets at 129 runs apiece. Maybe a promising youngster? Age 30 yrs. Seems like a complete brainsnap to me, but good luck to him.

  • Hammond on November 6, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    Watto was never a great test batsman, should have always been in the middle order having a whack and a consistent (and very decent) change bowler. Opening the batting in a test match is truly a specialist position if there ever was one. We need in Australia to get back to basics, pick two specialist openers, the best batsman in the country at 3 and go from there. Everything seems at the moment like a "make do" scenario.

  • cmonaussiecmon on November 6, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    A batting average like he's got is simply not good enough for the top 4 or 5 of an Australian lineup. IF he does drop his bowling, he had better improve his batting dramatically! I also think the added pressure of vice captaincy is doing him no good.

  • Perplexed on November 6, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Mickey Arthur loves the word massive.

  • on November 6, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    JEALOUSY shows its ugly head Clarke obviously is jealous of Watson; who has been overwhelmingly Australia's best batsman with Hussey then Warner and Clarke is a distant third Watson has played all formats of the game for Australia been their best batsman and bowler in all formats over the past year. Clarke on the other hand has been a shadow of his former self last year one innings saved him from possibly being dropped. Clarke and Arthur are plotting against some of the young best Aussie players maybe that is why 30+ yr old given making their debut while Marsh and Khajawla not being played....it seems they want to make Clarke look good by ensuring nobody better plays.....Mike Hussey better be careful they are probably looking for you next

  • pat_one_back on November 6, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    A vote of no confidence in the state level & ODI allrounders, SA bat deep and if Lyon takes some stick then Clarke will be very quickly out of options. Kallis v Hussey & Quiney? Aust will really struggle now.

  • ashankar on November 6, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    @AUSOME_AWESIE Ha ha ha.....i love your comment but completely true. People are thinking and doing crazy stuff :)

  • brusselslion on November 6, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    @jahinoz @11:23 AM: A bit harsh to blame Clarke for looking to play 11 bowlers. Let's face it with a bating line-up built around two 37 year olds, he doesn't have any other choice. Just how desperate things have become can be seen by the fact that a 30 year old, who 6 months ago wasn't good enough to be considered for the 'A' team, is now central to team plans, and a guy who fails consistently at the top level (Hughes) is lauded for scoring 1 run in 27 balls (albeit against a top class bowler) in a warm-up match. Australia have a very promising fast bowling attack but batting wise, the cupboard appears to be not so much bare as non-existent.

  • AUSOME_AWESIE on November 6, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    WHAT THE HECK s happening? on one end we have the most over rated off spinner in India being selected for tests though he is WAY PAST his prime and shelf life... an on the other hand we have WATTO who is probably THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE batsman in any format not being selected because he cannot bowl.... pretty sure the mayans were right...2012 has arrived...

  • Sunil_Batra on November 6, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    @CricHorizon is right, something doesn't seem right between Clarke and Watto, Watto is one of the better batsman around in Australia so for him not to play as batsman alone does not make sense

  • RednWhiteArmy on November 6, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    I think they should get the Pakistani lad in the team

  • ashankar on November 6, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    You know what sometimes i really dont understand how an Australian mind approaches the game of cricket. But here there is a Saffa too :) anyways Watson is the best player that the current Aus setup has. Even if he is half fit i would have him in my team.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    bonobo, cricmatters and mervo. well said. the selectors have lost the plot. if you are in the team as an allrounder only you bat at no. 7 after the batters, if you are in the top 6 you are by definition one of the top 6 batsmen.

  • jahinoz on November 6, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    When will Clarke stop his never ending quest for a team of 11 bowlers? It's getting silly. Of all the players in the Australian squad only Cowan can't bowl. In recent times we've seen Ponting bowling offspinners, Warner bowling medium pace, what's next? Is Clarke going to pad up so Matt Wade can take the gloves off and bowl some legbreaks? Give it a rest Clarkey.

  • Alexk400 on November 6, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Another one of clarke mess up. if he wins against australia he deserve his captaincy. He has bowlers but australia batting still revolve around ponting.

  • zenboomerang on November 6, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Watto since being named VC of Oz his batting average has dropped from his pre VC @41.55 to post named VC @25.00 - even Cowan has better stats... Not sure if its an odd coincidence or just a big drop in batting form when at Watto's age he should be at his peak... Has he passed his peak?...

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    what inconsistency. arthur wants 6 batters, 4 bowlers and a keeper. then clarke and arthur say watson needs to bowl?! there's something fishy going on..

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    talk about being cursed for your success. he was an opening batsman for goodness sakes, not because of his bowling but because of his batting. he was AB medalist 2 years running. his batting is destructive and his batting alone is better than half the other batsmen.

  • Mervo on November 6, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Stupid. He is better than almost all batsmen in the country. He must feel insulted.

  • cricmatters on November 6, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    If your most successful in-form opening bat has to bowl as well to get selected then I think they have lost the plot. All rounders are over rated in test cricket. If your bowling attack cannot take 20 wickets, you don't deserve to win a test match.

  • dsig3 on November 6, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    I like Watto in the team, but he is not good enough to be a batsmen only. If he cant bowl then its time to look at the next crop of batsmen.

  • Green_and_Gold on November 6, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    I hope they make the right decision. We could really use a quality player in the batting dept as players like Ponting and Hussey are at the end of their career. Watto and Clarke would be then next senior players to take on the responsibility of getting runs. Clarke is proving to be a fine player (and leader) and i can see the advantage of watto focusing on batting only. We look to have some good bowling options coming through so perhaps this is a good time for watto to focus on converting his 50s to 100s. I would also expect less injuries if he stops bowling.

  • FazleAbed on November 6, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    No worries, M. marsh will be ready with in 2 years

  • bonobo on November 6, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    this seems a very strange set of comments. Watson has an issue with his game when it comes to converting 50s, but Australia since ruling out Katich, dont have a better proven top 3 batsman. Since he has opened the innings he has averaged over 40, nearly always sees of the new ball. This implies that Warner, Cowan, Quiney etc...are considered better batsmen ? If Wtaosn cant bowl of course he is worth his place as a batsman, given he can plaz in the top 3, I would have him as the 2nd name on my batting line up after Clarke, certinalz more important than Hussey and Ponting

  • Meety on November 6, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    If he stops bowling, he'll need to get his Test ave up to 45ish.

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  • Meety on November 6, 2012, 10:00 GMT

    If he stops bowling, he'll need to get his Test ave up to 45ish.

  • bonobo on November 6, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    this seems a very strange set of comments. Watson has an issue with his game when it comes to converting 50s, but Australia since ruling out Katich, dont have a better proven top 3 batsman. Since he has opened the innings he has averaged over 40, nearly always sees of the new ball. This implies that Warner, Cowan, Quiney etc...are considered better batsmen ? If Wtaosn cant bowl of course he is worth his place as a batsman, given he can plaz in the top 3, I would have him as the 2nd name on my batting line up after Clarke, certinalz more important than Hussey and Ponting

  • FazleAbed on November 6, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    No worries, M. marsh will be ready with in 2 years

  • Green_and_Gold on November 6, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    I hope they make the right decision. We could really use a quality player in the batting dept as players like Ponting and Hussey are at the end of their career. Watto and Clarke would be then next senior players to take on the responsibility of getting runs. Clarke is proving to be a fine player (and leader) and i can see the advantage of watto focusing on batting only. We look to have some good bowling options coming through so perhaps this is a good time for watto to focus on converting his 50s to 100s. I would also expect less injuries if he stops bowling.

  • dsig3 on November 6, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    I like Watto in the team, but he is not good enough to be a batsmen only. If he cant bowl then its time to look at the next crop of batsmen.

  • cricmatters on November 6, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    If your most successful in-form opening bat has to bowl as well to get selected then I think they have lost the plot. All rounders are over rated in test cricket. If your bowling attack cannot take 20 wickets, you don't deserve to win a test match.

  • Mervo on November 6, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Stupid. He is better than almost all batsmen in the country. He must feel insulted.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    talk about being cursed for your success. he was an opening batsman for goodness sakes, not because of his bowling but because of his batting. he was AB medalist 2 years running. his batting is destructive and his batting alone is better than half the other batsmen.

  • ozwriter on November 6, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    what inconsistency. arthur wants 6 batters, 4 bowlers and a keeper. then clarke and arthur say watson needs to bowl?! there's something fishy going on..

  • zenboomerang on November 6, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Watto since being named VC of Oz his batting average has dropped from his pre VC @41.55 to post named VC @25.00 - even Cowan has better stats... Not sure if its an odd coincidence or just a big drop in batting form when at Watto's age he should be at his peak... Has he passed his peak?...