South Africa in Australia, 2012-13

Watson surplus to series unless he can bowl

Daniel Brettig

November 14, 2012

Comments: 97 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson rests his sore calf in the dressing room, Queensland v New South Wales, Sheffield Shield, day one, Brisbane, November 3, 2012
Shane Watson will have his feet up for the rest of the South Africa series unless he can bowl © Getty Images

Shane Watson is an increasingly doubtful starter for the second Test in Adelaide after the team performance manager Pat Howard stated he would be surplus to Australia's requirements against South Africa unless he can prove himself fit enough to bowl.

In the most blunt declaration yet that Watson needs to retain his allrounder status in order to remain an integral part of Australia's planning, Howard stated that John Inverarity's selection panel had placed great store in the ability of batsmen to bowl, particularly when faced with a batting line-up as deep as South Africa's.

The selectors are currently discussing the composition of their squad for the Adelaide Test ahead of a likely announcement on Friday, and Watson cannot be expected to be considered unless he proves himself capable of bowling plenty of overs in the second match of the series.

Watson is understood to be thinking conservatively about returning to the bowling crease, making the Perth Test or even the Sri Lanka series that follows the South Africa Tests more likely avenues for his international return.

"Shane is progressing, if the Test match was tomorrow he wouldn't be playing, but he's progressing and I think when the team goes in on Sunday we'll have a far better indication of where he's at," Howard said in Brisbane.

"For different series there are different policies, there's a position the selection panel take. There are times over the past 12 months where he has been considered in both roles and sometimes as a batsman only, but very much at Adelaide they're looking to his bowling and his fitness around bowling, to see if he's capable of doing both.

"As you saw during the Test match the other day, a fair few bowlers were called on, and Shane's value to be able to do both is pretty strong. It would go against him significantly [if he can't bowl]."

In seeking to assess Watson's fitness, Cricket Australia had considered making him available to play for New South Wales in a domestic limited overs match against Victoria at North Sydney Oval on Sunday, but that possibility now appears remote. Instead Watson will need to show his ability to bowl in the nets, before following up with further training spells in Adelaide.

"The value and the balance of the team is what the selection panel talk about, it's the panel's call on how they come together on this," Howard said. "They assess all of that, the value of it, I know John Inverarity looks very much at what is our ability to bowl lots and lots of overs.

"We were in a pretty unique position the other day when Rob Quiney bowled for us and doesn't bowl for Victoria, so the ability for people to take up some bowling slack credibly is important. Without making it a Shane Watson conversation, the ability to take overs up was pretty well demonstrated in the first Test."

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood can again be expected to be part of the team in Adelaide, even if the selectors choose not to change the bowling line-up that looked far more threatening in the second innings of the Brisbane Test than the first. Starc and Hazlewood are currently bowling for NSW against the Bushrangers in a Sheffield Shield fixture at the SCG.

"We had a fair few bowlers around the squad in the lead-up to the Test," Howard said. "Josh Hazlewood was there as well as Mitchell, so we're very much making sure guys are ingrained in the squad. We did that all last year, so we want that extra bowler around to get involved in the culture, and to make sure they're ready to do the job required."

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

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Posted by hyclass on (November 16, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

There is a continuing misconception, completely refuted by his Test record, that Watson is a dominating Test batsman who scores quickly. He doesn't. His S/R is 50. To put that in perspective, Katich, considered a slow scorer had a S/R of 49. There seems to be a wilful disregard for the evidence. His ODI S/R and average are vastly superior. The starting point for any investigation into the reason for any such disparity should be here. In limited overs, short bowling spells, run saving fields, limited time spans, he dominates. In Test matches, unlimited bowling spells, attacking catching fields and long time spans, he fails. The ONLY piece of reasoning that can link these two pieces of evidence is that his body fatigues far faster than is usual-possibly due to his physique. It means that when confronted with timelines and pressures associated with Test scenarios, the fatigue causes him to lose concentration and electrolytic loss contributes to his continued tissue injury. Physios?

Posted by magpye on (November 16, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

This is an absolute joke. Watson is clearly the second best batsman in Australia behind Clarke. Sure he hasn't cashed in and made big hundreds, which has effected his average, but he has made a lot of good scores against class opposition. While is it preferable he can bowl as well, he could play as a batsman no problems.

Posted by brusselslion on (November 15, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Has Watson got any English in him? We'll have him.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (November 15, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

Your number 3 batman is your best bat in the side - If your batting at 3 and considered surplus if you dont bowl then you shouldnt be at 3 in the first place. Either he is good enough to be the perm #3 (and bowling is optional) or they play him in a more traditional role down the order (5 or 6).

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

Posted by Wozza-CY on (November 15 2012, 11:05 AM GMT)

Henriques. He has been returning excellent figures this year.


Mate, the Shield pitches are greenies. The batsmen are struggling. There is absolutely no balance between bat and ball. It's all ball!! There was evan an article about the situation recently.

There are 14 bowlers averaging under 25 of whom half are averaging under 20!!!! All the bowlers are returning excellent figures.

On the other hand, only 11 batsman have an average of 40+ of which 5 above 50 and it's easy for their real batting average to be about 40 because all you need is a ton which will easily pull the carpet over a duck and 20 they may have made.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

My theory is that for the 1st Test, CA was afraid of the Safa bowling attack, hence they went for a specialist batsman instead of an all-rounder. But since the bats did well scoring big, it came down to missing a 5th specialist bowler to bowl them out and win the game. This was much telling in the 1st innings where only the groundsman did get a bowl.

I would like Quiney given another chance but on the other hand Australia need a 5th bowler IMO to take 20 S.A wickets. They're batting line-up is very long and unto 11 they have bowlers that can stay in in the mould of Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie. They dont need score runs, just block and let go of the good length balls whilst giving the strike to the scecialist batsman.

I regard Safa's batting line-up better than that of the bowlers.

Posted by reddawn1975 on (November 15, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

Putting it short guys when Watson was just Batting he was playing like a machine banging out runs everywhere.He does no need to bowl to be in this side.

Posted by Wozza-CY on (November 15, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

@Okakaboka- You left out the form all rounder of this year- Henriques. He has been returning excellent figures this year. Granted he needs to do it for the whole year (or two) and he needs to mature a little bit. After some great scores at the start of the year he hasn't converted starts by getting out first over after a break.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Agreed that he's no Botham or Kallis; but he is still a very good player. He doesn't have big scores under his name, yet he gets 40s and 50s consistently at top of the order, which is important for an Test-match opener. I can't imagine that Cricket Australia considers Quiney better than him. They have lost it completely.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 15, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

He is miles ahead of Quiney anyway, who seems like a walking wicket to me. Why not drop Quiney and play Watson as a batsman? Baffling selection policies!

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (November 15, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

Without his bowling, Watson is just a batsman who averages sub-40 with a bad conversion rate and a penchant for running his partners out. If I was a selector, I'd rest him until he can bowl again.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

Watson may not sure massive runs but he scores consistently and puts the fear of god up opposing opening bowlers. You'd have him at 3 or 4 any day over a past it Ponting who is hanging on purely by ego and stretching out another pay cheque. Drop Ponting and move on so that the the next Generation can come through added by senior players like Watson who may not be young, but aren't exactly on their last legs.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 15, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

So Watto wont playthen if the condition is Aus need overs from him and he is carrying a bowling injury. I thought Watto was easily Aus best opener for while now. Sure he hast made big hundreds but he hasnt failed either - he has definietly done better than the other 3. This is a mistake - the right call would be to ensure Watto plays as batter only and give him every chance to cement a spot in the top order whcih he is more than capable of doing.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

So one of our 2 (Pup being the other) best batsman cant get a game because he cant bowl?? Yeah that makes sense... why didnt we drop McGrath for all those matches seeing he couldnt bat.

Posted by MoreTestsNoT20 on (November 15, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

We do not need an all-rounder at Test level, we proved this against india last year. Test squad should always be the six best test batsman, our best keeper, best test spinner, 3 best test pace bowlers. Watson is a great one-day and 20/20 cricketer but has not proven himself as a test batsman. I think warner's test place needs to be questioned also, both warner and watson need to play more shield/county and less 20/20 and score 100's. Khawaja probably deserves to be included and should have been instead of Quiney. Wade is a sloppy keeper, Paine or Triffit are both better. 2013 ashes 11 Cowan Khawaja Ponting Clarke Hussey Watson Triffit Harris/Starc/Hilfe Siddle Pattinson Lyon.

Posted by anver777 on (November 15, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

Its not fair to say Watson has no role to play in the current Aus test setup without his bowling, after all he's been a shinning star in the past in all formats, now this unfortunate injury is limiting his bowling which he can't help it...... No wonder he deserves a place, even if he doesn't bowl regularly for Aus !!!!!

Posted by Okakaboka on (November 15, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

Um, I would look at this from another perspective. Is Watson a long term prospect given the number of breakdowns? No. Fully fit, he certainly should be in the team an all rounder.... however, he is as reliable as one of those 1980's **** Fairlanes. Spent more time in the workshop than on the road. So, we need to look at a long term prospect to develop. The problem is the current list of allrounders doesn't quite measure up: Christian - Not good enough with the bat; Bowling almost. McDonald: Bowls to required standard; not quite to standard with the bat. O'Keefe: Bowls well enough; not good enough basman or fielder. Smith: not good enough bat or bowl. Maxwell: Not quite there with the bat; not quite there as a bowler. Faulkner: Good bowler; not good enough with the bat. I think it really comes down to selecting according to the wicket and conditions. I would drop Warner anyway and play Watson if fit to bat.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

People keep thinking Shane Watson is young, he may have a youthful spirit, but for an athlete, and especially as an allrounder in cricket, 31 is not young when you have had so much time off for injury. I would be looking at Henriques or somebody of that age bracket to be filling the void.

Posted by getaclue on (November 15, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

does anyone sprouting Marsh actually follow WA at all? He averages 21 in nearly 40 innigs with the bat. He is a hack, potential yes, results no. And christian? Doesnt even average 30. There is pretty much only one genuine allrounder that has played more than 10 or 15 games - AB McDonald. Averages 40 with the bat and sub 30 with the ball.

Posted by popcorn on (November 15, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

I wish the Selectors take Shane Watson in place of Dave Warner who has zero match practice - not even in Twenty20. Give Dave Warner a Shield game to prove his Five Day fitness through a Four Day Shield match.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

Watson fit enough to bat but not bowl is still a far better bet - more experienced and successful in the Test arena - than Quiney even with his "dibbly dobblers". Nothing against Quiney but it's a "no contest."

Posted by getaclue on (November 15, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

watsons last 8 tests. Averages 25. Includes 3 50's with only one score over 60. 7 single figure scores. Pretty sure Katich and many other have been dropped for with better figures. If he cant bowl he doesnt command a spot as a batsmen on current form. That said, not many people in Aus do...

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (November 15, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

note that in the last 2 series that watson played here are the order of the averages (ignoring bowlers) tour of the windies Wade Hussey Watson Clarke Warner Cowan Ponting

tour of RSA Clarke Khawaja Hughes Watson Marsh Haddin Ponting Hussey

so even on the period he's being criticised for it's hard to say that he shouldn't be in the team as a batsman...

And for the love of God no Phil Hughes, he was out caught in the slips in 5 of his first 6 innings this summer so while he's made some runs it doesn't inspire confidence that he's really worked out the issues he had.

Posted by cricmatters on (November 15, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

I am a big fan of Shane Watson. He is attacking, consistent and more than a handy bowler. Even though he hasn't converted those fifties into hundreds, he has always given a good start to Australian innings. Instead of opening if he moves down the order, it will help him recuperate from his bowling and also improve the scoring rate towards the end. Not sure Warner is cut out for Test Cricket. Ponting looks out of place at no. 3 and would soon be dropped or retire by the end of this summer.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (November 15, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

Bottom line is that Watto should come in if he is fit to bat, he is one our best batsman. If he is not fit then either of Hughes, Doolan or Khawaja should come in as they are the 3 top shield run scorers with Hughes at 350, Doolan at 380 and Khawaja at 430 runs.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 3:02 GMT)

Watson should come into the team for the old and useless Ponting. Punter has had his day, time for younger blood.

Posted by Mary_786 on (November 15, 2012, 2:23 GMT)

@L4zybugg3r and @CricHorizon agree with you guys on Khawaja, he got 138 on the weekend outscoring the Tasmanian team and is the best shield batsman this season wtih 430 runs at 50 average. Looking at his top score last night of 80 against Tasmania his running between wickets looked fanastic which Border commented on so all signs are good for him to get back in the Aussie team.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

In the last test series he played in the West Indies, Watson averaged more than Clarke, Warner, Cowan and Ponting. You can prove anything with statistics.

Posted by ozwriter on (November 15, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

watson is good enough just with bat. however if he is unfit, khawaja should come in as a long term prospect. he is composed and classy and leading the sheffield shield run scoring at present. his 138 versus tasmania 98 on the bellerive dustbowl was amazing, is one of the best innings darryl lehman has seen

Posted by CameronHunt on (November 15, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

We need muscle in the opening pair to compliment Cowan and Watson is perfect for that role - his technique is sounder than Warner. This was proven with the Hayden/Langer duo (a bully and a more traditional role, not that Langer wasn't aggresive though). Get him back in at the top, if can bowl a few overs then great, if not then the question has to be asked why we don't have specialist bowlers that can take enough wickets without needing relief from part timers.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

I would take Watson over Warner and Quiney. Maybe management is foxing.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Are they serious? They'd rather have Quiney and Warner ahead of Watson with the bat?

Posted by L4zybugg3r on (November 14, 2012, 23:19 GMT)

@Chris_P - thankyou for pointing out to these people that anyone has got to be worth a go rather than persisting with Watson as a pure batsman. Maybe when he can bowl I *might* try him as a #6, but definitely not an opener or #3. Long term I'm hoping that Khawaja keeps piling on the runs in shield cricket because he looks like a test match batsman and we need a replacement for Ponting badly (and Hussey soon).

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (November 14, 2012, 23:05 GMT)

@Rahul_Ashok and @Hyclass agree with you guys, if watto is not wit I would get Khawaja in. He is the best shield batsman this year, is top scoring in the Ryobi cup as well and his running between the wickets and fielding are looking sharp. Mark Waugh and Border mentioned yesterday in the one day game against Tasmania that with more urgency in his game this year he has to be the next batsman in line if there is an opportuinity.

Posted by dsig3 on (November 14, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

I dont mind this at all. Despite some of the statistics being bandied about in the comments forum, this guy is an allrounder who only got his chance to shine with the bat because he could bowl and vica versa. He needs to bowl to have a place in the team, otherwise he is a dead weight who only will field at slip and is hit and miss with the bat. Would rather have Quiney.

Posted by MinusZero on (November 14, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

Watson is not good enough for batting alone to be selected. His 40's and 50's would be more handy at number 6 or 7, not in the top order where the team needs a foundation. Australia's obsession with having an allrounder is having a negative impact. Its all about Watson and not about the best bowlers and best batsmen. Australia played for a long time without a recognised all-rounder and did well. It seems that the Watson of old is back and always injured. Personally, I think its Clarke's management of his workload that is to blame. Ponting knew how to manage him and Watson was used sparingly as a bowler.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (November 14, 2012, 22:00 GMT)

I think Howard and Arthur are a surplus to the team.....

Posted by Meety on (November 14, 2012, 21:48 GMT)

@Tumbarumbar on (November 14 2012, 18:22 PM GMT) - It was great when Punter would reel of tons from #3, but I would counter what you, by saying that Punter was better equipped to be 1st drop. Clarke is not a natural cross bat strokemaker, he is more in the Steve Waugh category - who inflicted most damage from #5 & #6. So I can't argue with what you say about Punter, just that it is not comparable to Clarke!

Posted by peeeeet on (November 14, 2012, 20:35 GMT)

There is no problem with not playing Watson if he isn't fully fit. The problem for me is the way the selectors are saying it. They are saying he can't play if he can't bowl, which indicates they rate his bowling highly. So he should be replaced with an allrounder! Someone like McDonald, Henriques or Maxwell.

Posted by Beertjie on (November 14, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

This doublespeak from Howard probably is meant to give Quiney another go at batting rather than those innocuous balls he delivers. They want to pick between Warner or Quiney for Perth so it's a batt-off rather. Good innings from Warner then he stays. Quiney delivers and he leapfrogs Warner if the all-rounder Watto returns for Perth. If the latter can't bowl he gives further opportunities for the former two to stake claims until he can bowl again. Pretty cynical!

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 14, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

Could it be that selectors/management fear picking Watto as a batsmen opens the door to him hanging up his bowling boots to prolong his career I wonder?

Posted by Chris_P on (November 14, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

@CricketMaan. Do yourself a favour & look up some stats. Mitchell Marsh, for all his talents, isn't even in the top 6 performing all rounders. Henriques & Maxwell are but I still believe they should be allowed to sustain their momentum in shield for at least a season to better prepare them. Watson, while a devastating one day batsman, simply has not got the form to deserve selection as a batsman. This was the recommendation of the Argus report & I totally agree. He has been averaging less than 30 the past 2 years, so help me understand how that is deserving of a test call-up as a specialist batsman? You select players based on sustained form first.

Posted by AnoMaLy on (November 14, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

Aussies & their "performace mgmt team" have got this so wrong..leaving watto out or even the thought of it is just plain stupid if he is fit. Not picking him is going to surely lift his morale - NOT!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 14, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

In Brisbane they sorely needed a 5th bowling option and I agree that if Watson can't bowl, it'd hurt. Quiney has to go regardless of who replaces him but I think that that spot should be taken by an all-rounder, one of Dan Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh or James Faulkner. Maxwell is the only spinner and is the strongest batsmen of the backup all-rounders; so I think will be the one picked, though I wouldn't mind seeing Faulkner play as well, perhaps to replace Lyon, and play as the bowling all-rounder. In Adelaide, playing 2 all-rounders could be very smart, as it is going to be tough to get a result off that pitch.

Posted by ARad on (November 14, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

Employers will push employees to extract whatever they can without giving any thoughts about the long term benefits to the employee. If I were Watson, I won't push myself too quickly especially considering that Cricket Australia is already showing lack of loyalty since Watson has been as integral to the batting line up as almost anyone else (except Clarke given his recent purple patch) in the past couple of years. Why should Watson have loyalty to CA when it doesn't show any loyalty to him? If Watson decides to not sign a contract with CA and decides to play for the various T20 club leagues, nobody should be surprised or upset.

Posted by ScottStevo on (November 14, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

Since Watson's return to the team as opener(Jul 09) he's averaged 42 something. In the same time period Ricky Ponting's averaging 40. Warner averages around 39 for his 17 knocks. It seems ridiculous that Watson should be selected on the basis that he must be an all rounder...

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (November 14, 2012, 18:22 GMT)

Shane Watson averages 22 with the bat against South Africa and in reply to the person calling for Quiney's head I'd comment that Bradman failed in his first test and was made 12th man in his 2nd, Border got (from memory) 29 and a duck in his first test and was 12th man for his fourth test and going one level down both Steve Waugh and Ian Chappell both took many, many tests to realize their full potential yet you think Quiney should be thrown to the wolves after one innings in one test? Personally I believe Clarke let him and the team down by not batting at three himself, I would argue that Ponting's centuries coming at number three when Australia had lost an early wicket or two had greater value than runs from number five when three or even four batters could already be back in the sheds

Posted by mike.iz on (November 14, 2012, 17:40 GMT)

Different rules for different player. Watson is one of the best batsman in Australia & can play as a batsman alone.The best thing the past Aussie selection committee did was to mange Watson.Batsman who bowled.They got the best out of him & he played without injuries.Wake up...his body cant handle the bowling all the time. Play Watson as a batsman who bowls.Play him for the 2nd test....These guys that run the game in Aussie are hopeless!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

so the watto can't play without bowling...smh would they prefer watto bowling rather than batting?

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 16:00 GMT)

@KeithMillersHair, I think you are right about Watson. There is probably not much more chance of him playing a match winning hand with the bat than you'd get from Quiney. So lets see him fully fit and bowling well at the WACA.... Like others here i'm keeping a pretty sharp eye on Henriques at the moment, its looking like a breakout season for him.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 14, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

haha if we needed an illustration or confirmation as to just how good australia are its that the best cricketer in the world isnt required unless he can be his usual two in one man. unprecedented stuff

Posted by SpadeaSpade on (November 14, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

They are joking right !!! As a Captian there is no doubt that having watson able to bowl is invaluable as his a proven wicket taker and partnership breaker. But SURELY his batting record is enough to suggest a spot in this batting line-up.

It may be premature because Punter is a legend of aussie cricket, But i see merit in showing him the door and bringing in another bastmen to have them blooded in the upcoming series before the next ashes starts

BTW - It still makes me cry to hear anything from Pat Howrd (performance manager), The bloke comes from Rugby were Australia have been riddled with injury for the past 5 years, and it seems that Australia's Cricketers now struggle to string 5-10 matches without being removed by injury.

Posted by hemanth.reddy on (November 14, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

why ausies are giving chance for lyon but doherty can shows impact on the south african line up as he showed in the t20 world cup........against south africa. quiney and watson and warner are t20 batsmens they are needed when their team needs to chase 200 runs in 100 or less balls .what is katich,khawaja,bailey doing these are test batsmens compared to them.go ausies get the top place

Posted by anton1234 on (November 14, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Watson is potentially the best batsman in the team. I think his bowling these days is bonus.

Posted by SnowSnake on (November 14, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

I think Watson should replace Ponting and Australia will be pretty hard to beat in this series.

Posted by crow_eater on (November 14, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

@Benjamin Yates Gotta agree with you mate. I've thought that Invers has been on track so far but this smacks of those crazy & troubling times when Hilditch was picking the team. Watto not getting a game as a batsman? Gimme a break. With our vulnerable top order he has to be there. So he doesn't convert centuries, I'd take his ninety something over Quineys 4 anyway.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (November 14, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

If Watson can bat then he should play.

Posted by SixSixes666 on (November 14, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

From 22 Sept to 18 Oct 2012 Watson played 9 T/20 games, that's roughly 1 game every 3 days. Then 2 weeks later he'd be ready for a grueling 5 day Test match? He's kinda ruled himself out of the Test Match selection don't you think ?

Posted by RanKan on (November 14, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

I think all teams playing against Australia will applaud this thinking.

Posted by KhanMitch on (November 14, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

@Rahul_Ashok and @Hyclass i agree with you guys. Watson should be an automatic pick over Quiney as batsman as he is proven at that level. If Watto is not fit I would get Khawaja in as he is the best shield batsman this year and also top scored against Tasmania in the Ryobi cup game. I noticed that Mark Waugh commented on how his running was very aggresive today which shows he is listening to selector feedback and improving on what was asked of him.

Posted by SixSixes666 on (November 14, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

Since October 2010 Watson hasn't hit a test century and has only taken 21 Test match wickets. Yes he is a very good 1 day and T20 allrounder. However he is now 31 and historically injury prone. The selectors should not have picked Quiney, and should have recalled Khawaja or Hughes as the long term future needs to built on youth. So what about Whatto? He needs to focus on either Test match or shorter cricket, one or the other. He doesn't have the body to recover in time to be fit for both.

Posted by naren1983 on (November 14, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

Hey, I'm from India. I am a big fan of Watson. I really surprised Australia consdering Quiney/Warner better than Watson? Warner is never been consistent in International Matches, Quiney is new to Test Format at International Level. But Watson has already proved that he is a terrific player to play in all conditions, Srilanka/WI/India wherever. He can be considered purely as a batsman when compare to Warner. But if Australia still ignoring Watson as a batsman alone, is something are they looking to avoid him for some reason? I reckon so....

Posted by Mervo on (November 14, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

How silly. Watson is a better bat than Quiney and should play. Even at medium pace he is a better bowler than Quiney. If they want both then Ben Cutting is the man to go to. He is the leading all rounder in Australia outside of dan Christian. If they want someone out - then drop Warner. he will never be a reliable Test player.

Posted by voice_of_reason on (November 14, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

Basically Pat Howard is saying that Quiney is a better batsman than Watson. What rubbish. And as for needing all your batsmen to be able to bowl, the only reason for that is if your bowlers aren't up to the job. The best teams of recent times have had six batsmen, a keeper/batsman and four top class bowlers. Usually in top flight cricket one of your best six batters is going to be able to do a job with the ball in case of emergency (Waugh, Waugh, Border, Clarke etc.). It's very rare to get a true all rounder these days.

Posted by Simoc on (November 14, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

It's a bit like stating the obvious. If Watson can't bowl he's carrying an injury and playing will aggravate it without doubt. So give Quiney another go. He looked capable enough and given the chance he missed out on a century in Brisbane when they were in vogue. He may have to get one under tougher circumstances now to be considered in future.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 14, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

This could of course be the secret leaked "no one's position is safe" dossier ? Interesting to see they have about 6 quicks around ........ Indication to later in season and or coverage and or ................ ?(competitive bunch fast bowlers)

Posted by hmmmmm... on (November 14, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

ridiculous - why would they play him at number 3 (a position traditionally reserved for a batsman) if they didn't think he was good enough??? Since when is Pat Howard a selector??

Posted by KeithMillersHair on (November 14, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

The selectors have been making mistakes for so long that people haven't noticed that they have finally started to get things right. Wait till he's fully fit. If he can't bowl he's not fit. Give him an extra couple of weeks. Sheessh

Posted by KeithMillersHair on (November 14, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

I think there is an extra element to this which is being missed. Watson has a calf injury that hasn't healed yet. It may healed enough to let him play as a batsman - but if it's restricting his bowling then it is clearly not 100% and he should be given time to get it right. The point is that Watson is most import to Australia tests - perhaps our most important player in fact - when he plays as an all-rounder. In fact, tests at least his stats suggest he is a bowling all-rounder (in the top 10 bowlers internationally last year). As a test batsman he is OK when not in form and very good when in form - but not genuinely great at the best of times (as opposed to limited overs say, where his batting has been genuinely brilliant in the past). SO, the answer is to play someone else who is just as promising a batsman until Watson is fully fit - i.e. when he is fit enough to bowl. Which is exactly what they're doing.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

This is weird... I don't understand what they're doing other than messing with his, and other peoples, mind. Of course he'll be picked . He's a core player. It sounds like Hohns/Hilditch all over again...

Posted by Clan_McLachlan on (November 14, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Well if Quiney and Hussey are the benchmarks for "batsmen with the ability to bowl" then the bar is pretty low.

Posted by Dirk_L on (November 14, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

Fact is, after Ed Cowan's century there is no vacant opener spot going unless Warner is ditched. That's the kind of panic move only seen when a team has lost, not when the captain is prancing about and claiming momentum. And Ponting is like Tendulkar or Dravid (whaddaplayer, whaddaman!) -- a legend like him calls quits himself when he feels that way. That leaves only Rob Quiney's place. Do you drop a de facto all-rounder who bowled 11 overs for 13 runs? Only if the stand-in can really bowl. That's Howard's attitude, and it's obviously right.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

I find it ridiculous on why Watson shouldnt be considered and played purely as a batsman. Its not like Australia has a good enough batsman to take that no 3 position. What has people like Quiney and Warner done to justify keeping Watson the "Batsman" out?? and as if his replacement Quniney bowled a lot of overs and got some wickets in the first test!

Posted by VivGilchrist on (November 14, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

This makes no sense at all. For starters, Watto is one of the best six batsmen in the country. He played on seaming green tops in South Africa where runs weren't easy to come by, injured for the home series v India where everyone besides Indian batsmen scored runs, and rejoined the team in WI where runs were scarce for all. He gets told he can only play as an all-rounder yet gets replaced by a batsman. Contradictions all round.

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (November 14, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

@pat_one_back ....could not agree more about Henriquies he has bowled well at every venue he has played at be it 20/20 or fC cricket, big shield scores as well, the problem is there is always a but, I would probably give him a run against Sri Lanka with no disrespect to them, in between the battle for top spot and the ashes it is a great series to blood some players for the revenge.

Posted by CricketMaan on (November 14, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

Why not Mitch Marsh instead of Rob Quiney? isnt he thier best performing allrounder in sheild?

Posted by David_Boon on (November 14, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

Second or Third best batsman in the country, not in the team because he can't bowl. Quiney is hardly Malcolm Marshall. Who the hell is Pat Howard? Has he ever watched a cricket match?

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (November 14, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

are they kidding? so they are saying quiney was there because of his much feared medium pace? ha what a joke. watson is the most destructive batsmen in the country whos actually reliable(unlike warner). if thats the case, than an all rounder like mitch marsh, maxwell, mcdonald must be picked. all are in good form. as far as seamers are concerned, starc i would pick for his swinging the ball in to righties, but hazlewood are they kidding? there are 6 or 7 more experienced shield bowlers who are in great form around the country. but i guess you have to be from nsw. For starters alister mcdermott, ben cutting, and even luke feldman from qld are much better. plus there are many others around in the other states

Posted by Shaggy076 on (November 14, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

I dont get the selectors policy, they say Watson must be an all-rounder but replace him with a batsman. Surely his record shows he is a much better batting choice than either Quiney or Warner. I would understand there thinking if he was replaced by Christian rather than Quiney.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (November 14, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

@CricHorizon is correct, there is another reason why Watto is not being picked as he is a better batsman then Quiney. The likes of Khawaja and Doolan can't be far from call ups as well. Khawaja is leading the shield scorers this year and got 80 in the ODI game against Tasmania. @Bonehead_maz not sure why Quiney is bowling as you are right, he doesn't bowl for Victoria, selectors have got that wrong.

Posted by hycIass on (November 14, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

I would pick Watson over Quiney as batsman, if Watto is not fit then I would pick Khawaja as he is the number 1 batsman in shield cricket this year with 450 runs at an average of 50. His innings of 138 on a green deck against Tasmania where they only got 95 was rated by Lehman as the best shield innings he has seen.

Posted by Mary_786 on (November 14, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

I would pick Watson ahead of Quiney as a batsman, he has been one of our better batsman in recent years. Sure he hasn't got centuries but he does get 50s regularly. If Quiney got a 50 or 100 I could understand picking him but that wasn't the case.

Posted by Nerk on (November 14, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

Watson has been one of the best batsmen in the Australian team over the last few years. Having said that, however, he does not score hundreds as often as he should. That is probably what is being held against him as a batsman only type player. Nevertheless, he has proven himself an able batsman at test level, and if australia's top 4 continues in the same form it has in recent matches Watson may be the solution.

Posted by kimbosterelny on (November 14, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

Watson clearly has as much batting ability as most of the current top six. But his conversion rate is simply not good enough to make him an obvious choice to play for his batting alone. His bowling adds a lot of value, and would be especially important in Adelaide with reverse swing. He bowls wicket to wicket and gets a fair few lbws. Henriques and Marsh simply have not converted their talent into scores often enough to be plausible at 6 or 7. (Though there is some signs that this might be changing this season)

Posted by pat_one_back on (November 14, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

If Watto can't bowl I think Aust really need a genuine all rounder to come in for either Quinney or dare I say Ponting.. Moises Henriques is worth a look to come in at 6, he's a genuine 30/30 all rounder with experience for his age and he's having a cracking season, good runs & lean wickets. Not completely comfortable about Starc as the 3rd quick, Hilfy isn't looking his sharpest but he's a workhorse and generally kept pressure up at his end, he was in good company in not looking dangerous.

Posted by ozwriter on (November 14, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

if your top-order and former opening batsman also must bowl to keep his place in side, there is something other than reason in play.

Posted by Narkovian on (November 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

I can think of at least 2 batsmen in AUS team who should stand down to let Watson play as a batsman only. Not even a contest. His record as an opener in last two years stands up against anyone.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Hazlewood will end up being perhaps the best of them.

I am guessing the people who know, are worried about workload and or return from T20 for Mitchell Starc. Same ones threw an equally under-prepared Hilf to the wolves.... but I guess were more sure of his body ? At least he hid from slaughter well (T20 's better than nets).

Posted by ozwriter on (November 14, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

the biggest indication thus far that the NSP is totally out of their depths.

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 14, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

Hilfeenhaus has to go, Starc is the way forward.

Posted by peeeeet on (November 14, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

If the selectors are saying Watson can only play as an allrounder, then surely they have to replace him with an allrounder. They say we need him bowling lots of overs to help bowl SA out, so if he's not fit I would think someone who could do his job should be in.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 14, 2012, 8:52 GMT)

ahhhhh .... so this is why Quiney bowls more for Aust than Victoria........ We need a No.3 who'll take wickets. Sorry to inform CA .... WG Grace and Kieth Miller've been dead a while now..... (and both had attitudes outside the current code of conduct). Worse still by time we nationalise Kallis he won't be much use. lol Seriously, I guess it's no one but his own fault, .When clearly in technique and ability, possibly the best batsman in the country ( yeah I know, but I'd rather bowl short to clarkey than watson) hard to imagine how once he finaly got fit ( 7years from memory) he scored so few runs. Conversion is just disastrous.........

Posted by Meety on (November 14, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

I think Oz should look at Maxwell for Quinney, with Punter moving to #3. We want to win the Test series & Maxwell (apart from being a good batsmen), provides more than useful spin options to back Lyon up. == == == Watto shouldn't play if he can't bowl. Calf injuries can heal about 80/90% in a few days, its that last 10 to 20 % that takes time. Watto should be able to jog easily enuff, but try to use any explosive power & he is likely to re-snap it!

Posted by scoopster35 on (November 14, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

Much as he irritates me, is he not a better player with his eyes closed than Cowan, Quiney, Warner, Ponting et al? Scandalous stuff from Pat Howard and CA

Posted by nzcricket174 on (November 14, 2012, 8:32 GMT)

But what about Watson's batting? I rate it above Quiney.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

His value to the Team is his bowling.

As for his batting people mistake his Mastery in the Pyjama styles of the game and think he is similar in Tests, whereas his figures tell otherwise

Career average of just over 37 and averaging 26 in his last 17 Test innings- hardly deserving to be in the Team as solely a batsman

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 8:19 GMT)

Having one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket sit out because he can not bowl sound ludacris.if Cricket Australia are willing to play a average batsmen like Rob Quiney who has not bowled even in domestic cricket for ages then there are plenty of good allrounders in Australia to pick from,including Glenn Maxwell.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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