Sri Lanka in Australia 2012/13 December 27, 2012

Watson in doubt for Sydney Test

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Shane Watson is in doubt for the Sydney Test after suffering yet another injury while bowling.

Watson hurt his left calf - the same muscle that caused him problems earlier in the summer and ruled him out of the first two Tests against South Africa - while bowling against Sri Lanka at the MCG on Boxing Day.

The problem did not prevent Watson from batting on the second day and he was able to score 83 in an innings that lasted more than four hours but Cricket Australia revealed his injury late on Thursday night.

"He was able to get though the batting innings today and is likely to field on day three," team physio Alex Kountouris said. "Whether he bowls in the second innings will be determined closer to the bowling innings. A decision on his availability for the New Year Test will be made after the completion of the current match."

Watson has had an injury-plagued year, missing the whole of the last Australian Test summer due to hamstring and calf problems, before being ruled out of the Brisbane and Adelaide Tests this season after injuring his left calf while bowling in a Sheffield Shield match. As he recovered from that problem, he retained his determination to remain an allrounder and said he would not consider giving up bowling "unless something goes very horribly wrong".

During Australia's victory against Sri Lanka in Hobart this month he bowled 47.4 overs, easily the most he has ever sent down in a Test, as he helped cover for Ben Hilfenhaus, who broke down during the game.

In the lead-up to the Boxing Day Test, Watson said his body had recovered well from the workload and he was looking forward to contributing more with the ball in future.

"My body has pulled up really well so far from the amount of bowling," Watson said in Melbourne on Sunday, three days before the Test began. "To be able to get through that many overs is something that I've been thinking about for the last six months, and more so dreaming to be honest, to be able to contribute to an Australian Test bowling side of things with that amount of overs.

"I've pulled up really well from it. I always wished I was able to contribute some time when the team needed it. Unfortunately for Ben Hilfenhaus he went down injured but it meant that it gave me an opportunity to see if my body could handle that sort of thing and so far it has."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jack_thomas25 on December 29, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    I completely agree with inefekt.. Dear Shane, please make the long overdue decision to lighten your bowling workload and concentrate on your batting. Move back to the openers position (we need an excuse to get rid of Cowan) and insist that you bowl no more than 5 to 10 overs per day. If a bowler gets injured mid match then all bowlers share workload. I'm from india.. and i'm a huge fan of watson's batting. but he's being played by a villain kid clarke. i was a huge fan of dominant AUS when mcgrath, gilly, steve, ricky were there. but now cricket AUS is a joke to me. captained by a immatured kid clarke(no man). WATSON is the only dominant man in aus n looks n behaves n bats like a true aussie. what a dominant figure in a team full of kids. cunning kid(boy, no man)clarke scared of losing his captaincy is playing cheap tricks like moving watson down to no.4 and making him overbowl n purposely trying to injure him.

  • cricfan32807339 on December 29, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    Dear Shane, please make the long overdue decision to lighten your bowling workload and concentrate on your batting. Move back to the openers position (we need an excuse to get rid of Cowan) and insist that you bowl no more than 5 to 10 overs per day. If a bowler gets injured mid match then you can take over that bowlers workload, but only under those circumstances. Thank you.

  • Mary_786 on December 28, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    Get Khawaja in for Watson, he is ready. Khawaja will do fine if selected. The selectionn panel has done a good job and will reward Khawaja. If Khawaja gets a go in the upcoming test then people can witness first hand how good his fielding and running between the wickets is now. Boof has improved this aspects in his game and rest can see for themselves.

  • Vishnu27 on December 28, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Yeah, that's right RednWhiteArmy, Australia are the only team in the world suffering injuries. Oh, hang on a sec, that's right, didn't England in India just have to continually shuffle their own injury riddled decks? Seriously, we aren't all as misinformed as you'd like to think. Running scared already? Bit early for that. Just imagine what'll happen if you don't wrap Jimmy up in cotton wool & mothballs between now & the next two Ashes series. 10-nil is what.

  • hycIass on December 28, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    @158not out and RandyOz are correct about Khawaja, he will be the correct replacement for Watson.. Watson has to be careful that he does not play in a dead rubber when he is not required and get himself right for the Indian series . If Khawaja does play then look for an improvement in his fielding as much as his batting. We know he has scored them in testing conditions, but more importantly he has been keeping the scoreboard ticking over as much with his running as his shot-making which was something the selectors asked him for in their "to do" list i.e rotating the strike. For the bowling Starc has to come back in but for who because Johnson did well, i am guessing they will rest Siddle but he is our best bowler.

  • righthandbat on December 28, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Watson possibly should retire from test match cricket. He is well-suited to ODIs and T20, but he just doesn't seem to be of Kallis quality - injury-prone, incapable of making centuries in the longer-form of the game.

    He either has to make the big call and say he wants to focus purely on test match cricket or give it up.

  • Chris_P on December 28, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy, stick to being a comic relief, you are never taken seriously as it is.

  • Chris_P on December 28, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    @Blakey Mitchell Marsh? How would he even be considered based on first class form given the Argus recommendations? As for pace bowling all-rounders, Henriques is the form player, spinning all-rounders can go to SOK. Mitchell Marsh, for his undoubted talent, is simply not performing at first class level. Watson's batting is still holding him there, just, but we do need a bowling option from our top 6, and not just a trundler for a couple of overs.

  • MinusZero on December 28, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Watson seriously needs to consider test retirement. He cant handle it. Overrated anyway.

  • handyandy on December 28, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    Might make Sydney selections a little easier.

    I would just bring Starc back into the team. Johnson is batting well enough to come in at seven. Clarke, Hussey and Wade can move up a slot.

    As for Watson's long term future ... well that has to be in doubt. If the guy can't stay fit then he isn't much use to the team.