Australia v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Canberra February 6, 2013

Feels like I'm back again - Watson

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia opener Shane Watson was relieved to have grabbed the opportunity to "spend some time in the middle" and score a century in Canberra, after his layoff due to the injury he sustained in the Boxing Day Test. Watson's knock of 122 took Australia to a series victory against West Indies, and he said it gave him confidence ahead of the India tour.

"I was starting to worry a little bit that I might not have enough form going into the Indian series," he said after the game. "But it's nice to be able to spend some time in the middle today and bat for a longer period of time to feel like I'm back again a bit. It's nice to be able to feel like you've got it still."

Watson's decision to cut out his bowling has threatened to make his selection in the Test XI for the India series tougher, but a smooth batting wicket helped his cause in his comeback game.

"In one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket, you've got plenty of freedom, on nearly very good batting wickets as well. It certainly makes it a bit easier when the wicket's nice and true."

The century, with regards to his attitude, Watson said, wasn't different to any he had scored in Tests, where he has largely struggled to convert his 80s and 90s into hundreds. He has scored between 78 and 97 eight times in his Test career.

"The more I [create chances of a century] I suppose in any form of the game, the more chances I've got of converting those scores into the bigger ones. That's something that I've seen Michael [Clarke] do unbelievable well over the last year. Today was one of those steps along the line, just to be able to clear my mind like I did for a majority of my innings."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on February 9, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @Mad_Hamish... You are right - Watto's ave since Clarke became captain isn't 24 - its 26.40... Make all the excuses you like, but the facts are Watto has under-performed since being made VC...

    This summer he missed most of the SA tour (ave @17.5) yet even with his performances against SL has managed only ave @30.6 this summer... That said, I think he is a terrific ODI/T20 player, but had peaked as a Test player by 2010 - as a batsman only this means he needs to improve to keep his position at Test level - something the India series will not prove, but rather the back to back Ashes tour...

  • Deepak on February 8, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    But the team doesnt want you Watto if you cant bowl. Its better to play a proper Batsman than these bits and piece of players who cant do much in the field.His last innings was a fluke and i dont see it coming again from hin near future.

  • John on February 8, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    @PFEL - Yep, it's a worry that Maxwell might play instead of Khawaja. I don't even know how they can consider more all rounder types considering how bad the batting has been (barring Clarke). They really need 6 batsman.

  • Hamish on February 8, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    @RayBAus actually you're wrong. Watson's average over the last 2 years isn't 24 and the reverse cumulative results in cricinfo show that there is no starting point that will make it quite that low until his most recent test innings. It's also worth pointing out that Watson has missed most of the easy series in the last couple of years his average is low but in most series he hasn't been at the bottom of the averages, he had a really bad series in SL (lowest average of the top 7), was mid range av in RSA, mid range av in the Windies, only played 1 test against RSA in Aus and was o.k. vs SL (although so was pretty much everyone) Also the last series Aus played in India Watson averaged 67.75 with 1 100 and 2 50s from 4 innings. Considering the lack of experience of the squad in Indian conditions I think overall he's got to go and it's probably the best idea to open with him as he has shown he can do that in India and make runs.

  • Harvey on February 8, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    One innings, and an ODI innings at that, proves nothing about his potential durability over a 5 day test, never mind a series of tests. He should have been playing shield cricket. Watson should retire from tests and play just ODI and T20 where he is a good player.

  • Roo on February 8, 2013, 2:30 GMT

    @RayBAus... You've got it half right about since Clarke became captain - it was the exact same time Watto became VC - its between the ears that is his problem...

  • Peter on February 8, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    Watto, I have always enjoyed your energy & passion & knew you had what it takes, but please buddy, one score doesn't make a summer. You have been down on batting form for nearly 3 seasons, what you need to do is to string together series of consistent high scores then you can justifiably state "you're back". Without your bowling options, you are behind a number of others on batting performances alone. I really hope you come through, but a reality check tells me you still got a fair bit to go.

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    @RayBAus: perhaps the problem is not Watson, but Clarke ? Why was he removed from opener slot where he was doing well ? Why was he over-bowled in tests when you have frontline bowlers ? Why the constant needling in press by the captain ? Why can't captain stop playing politics with Watson ?? Any answers you can actually say with a straight face ?

  • Matthew on February 7, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    (Pt.2) Cowan receives a lot of unfair criticism. In 22 inns he's scored 1 x 100 and 5 x 50. That's about one 50 (at least) per 4 inns, far from terrible. He reminds me a bit of Geoff Marsh, not pretty to watch but willing to occupy the crease to try to form good partnerships, even if he is not the dominating partner (although I think Marsh was better). That is something the team needs and something that Watson has not shown a lot of. With the attacking Warner and then Hughes at no.3 I think Cowan is a good fit if he continues to improve. IMO these positives outweigh the fact that Watson averages (just) 5 more runs than him per innings. Cowan's running between the wickets needs some work, but that is also true of Watson. The fact that Cowan so far is more likely to get a good 50 than 100 is also comparable to Watson, except Watson has played a lot more innings. I hope Watson scores a big ton batting at no.4 in his next innings.

  • Matthew on February 7, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    (Pt.1) Seems to be a lot of talk all of a sudden that Watson should open again, after a lot of people used to say he was not suited to opening. The most common argument put fwd is that he plays pace better than spin, which I think is a weak argument. To be fair, apart from Clarke, nobody in the team is particularly good against spin, and smart opposing captains e.g. in India, can always bring on their spinners early if an opener starts well against pace. I think all the batsmen ought to be improving their batting against spin, and add to this that Watson has probably been the most adaptable player in the team in recent years, I'd have not doubts that he'd improve this quickly. I have always thought batting in the top 3 to be the hardest positions to bat, so if he is good enough to open, I think he ought to be good enough to bat at no.4 if that is best for the team.