Australia v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Canberra

Feels like I'm back again - Watson

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 6, 2013

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by zenboomerang 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...

Posted by Pappu_bhai 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.

Posted by L4zybugg3r 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.

Posted by Mad_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.

Posted by MinusZero 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.

Posted by zenboomerang 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...

Posted by Chris_P 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.

Posted by   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 ?

Posted by RightArmEverything 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.

Posted by RightArmEverything 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.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 7, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

Watson is back? Sure, but for how long? Even without bowling, a couple of games and he'll be off to the rest home. This is the player that 4 months ago RandyOz claimed was "Probably the best allrounder in the world since Symmonds." * (Wrong, about both.) And 2 days before that, jonesy2 asserted that Watson was "the greatest player in the world…who dominates with bat and ball." ** (The bat-and-ball description of can't-bowl-Watto was particularly astute.)

Best all rounder & greatest player in the world? Nope - a pajamas player who has a good streak now & then, but is mostly injured. Pity, such great potential, but no staying power, unlike the true "best all rounder & greatest player," Kallis, in his 19th year of international cricket, & still no. 1.

* Posted Sep 30, 14:44 GMT

** Posted Sept 28, 4:15 GMT

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (February 7, 2013, 19:55 GMT)

Watson is must for Indian series. his experience will work well in india where aussies don't have experienced team. remember india is hungry for win and watto can be handy against them.

Posted by RayBAus on (February 7, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

This is why Watson SHOULD NOT be put into the test team. Since Clarke took the Australian captaincy Watson's test average is only 24.09.

Sorry, not good enough. Don't be fooled by his ODI and T20 power-hitting, when it comes to building an innings and regularly rotating the strike during tough periods he simply doesn't have the wherewithal or ability and he stops the momentum of the team.

Test average of 24.09 in the last 2 years, people!!!

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 7, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

Funny how it would have been written up as a breakthrough innings for Finch to make a hundred yet we can't run down Watto's knock fast enough! Nothing remarkable about his innings other than that he showed the focus & determination to knock it up. That is remarkable in itself folks! When he focused on his batting with QLD under G.Chappell he scored big, a slow burning Watson, fit bowlers, 1.5 out of Warner/Hughes/Khawaja and Michael Clarke has India & Eng pegged level and then some. Love to see Henriques come on but confused what Steve O'K has done wrong...

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 7, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

Look, I like Watson a lot and always see him as a huge threat in whatever format he plays. He is an asset to his team but is esp devastating in the 2 limited overs formats. That admiration aside, I fail to see why should much be made of the runs Watto got in the last match. You see, from the match bulletin to the match scorecard to the sundry comments, one can see that it was a super flat wicket and WI had a very good chance of chasing even the 329 run target--that too when Aus had some good bowlers in Starc etc. Now, had something similar happened in an ODI in India then ppl would have labelled the highest run scorer as a flat track bully - in fact it does get done regularly, even if someone scores a 150+ or a 200 or 219. Thus, I find it sort of having double standards when ppl say that Watson got a great hundred or he himself saying he is back. Watson may have got some runs on this pitch but will he do so in slightly less friendly conditions? That is the question.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 7, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

@FFL: "And how's their 'spin' department coming along these days? I do wonder." a bit hard to tell actually. Our wicket-keeper seems to have a serious aversion to any edges coming off his bowling. .. if we can teach him to catch a few now and then we might have some real idea. .... I am one of the so called "Watson doubters". Not in either of the short forms but as a Test batsman. He is clearly a major threat to any bowling line-up in limited overs cricket, but he simply hasn't been as effective in Test cricket. .. I'm not death riding the bloke either. Believe me, I want him to succeed because a Watson who suddenly learns how to turn those 70' and 80's into big hundreds would be very, very good for the Aussie cricket team. .. I like the idea of him at 6 to handle the 2nd new ball but he he's done his best work as an opener so far. Maybe he can be more comfortable at 6 now that he knows he won't have to bowl. .. I've got a feeling Cowan will play really well in India btw.

Posted by PFEL on (February 7, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

I just realised, that a Watson return to the test team in the Middle order could very well mean Khawaja missing out yet again! If Aus go with the 5 bowlers or All rounder at 6 or 7 method. Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Wade, Maxwell, 4 bowlers . . . no place for Khawaja.

Posted by PFEL on (February 7, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

Watson has to replace Cowan at the top of the Order. As an opener he is far better than in the middle order. And Cowan was never good enough to begin with.

Posted by pat_one_back on (February 7, 2013, 10:03 GMT)

Joining the Watto bandwagon, a marshmallow soft 100 on that track but not to be disregarded that he made it, a 100+ balls without even getting yourself out counts for a lot in the T20 era! Bailey's knocks have shown that for all their faults Aus selectors can actually spot a talent many of us missed. I'd be surprised if the great rearguards AB, Steve Waugh, Bev or Huss wouldn't tip their caps. Alas, I digest,Watson's hungry and is world class at 3/4 best, big year for Aust cricket and something special is required, it's a lot easier to foresee Watto turning a test series than Ed Cowan, surely anyone could agree with that???

Posted by ravi_hari on (February 7, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

I am sure Watson is the most relieved man. If he had scored anything less than a 100 he would have had doubts in his mind and selectors would have thought twice before picking him in the XI for India series. I think atleast for India Watson is the best bet. His form and his technique suit the India conditions well and since he score at a rapid pace, by the time spinners are on, he would have got settled down and can handle them better. With the burden of bowling off his mind, I think he will bat more freely. As an allrounder you always tend to be complacent as if you perform in one area, failure in the other is overlooked. He is capable of returning back as an allrounder by the next world cup for which I see him leading the side. Aussie selectors should leave him alone and let him concentrate on his batting. He required to score big and consistently and then can slowly get back his all-round abilities. I will put my money on Watson if I were Clarke.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (February 7, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

Watto's 100, admittedly on the Manuka Highway, has virtually assured his return to the test team ( if it was in any doubt ).. I would like to see Khawaja at 4 as he can be solid with Hughes at 3. Particularly as the Wade 6 Allrouder 7 is full of risk and they'll be lucky to get away with it for long. So they will need six bats.

I reckon we should go with

Warner Watson Hughes Khawaja Clarke Wade Maxwell Pattinson Starc Siddle Lyon

Someone would have to be injured for Cowan to get in. My preference would be Bird, however they are keen on Patto. Johnners for all his past crimes and that's not a bad option as well.

Posted by abi111 on (February 7, 2013, 2:12 GMT)

i think watson should retire from tests after indian series because aus need him for world cup and he cant succeed in the ashes

Posted by Matth on (February 6, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

Ah Front Foot Lunge what would we do without you. I reckon you are starting to get a cult following here in Australia

Posted by Chris_P on (February 6, 2013, 23:22 GMT)

It would have done Australian cricket far better service had he played the shield game against Tasmania & tried to grab some form in the longer format. The pitch Watto batted on should be renamed the "Federal Highway". How this can aid in getting real form for the upcoming tests in India is beyond me. I don't get the timing of this series at all, it should have been a triangular or 2 shorter series against the Lankans & Windies.

Posted by MinusZero on (February 6, 2013, 23:17 GMT)

Watson hasnt proved anything about his fitness by playing an ODI. He should have been playing in the shield game against Tasmania, if selectors were serious about his fitness level. Also Manuka Oval vs West Indies, if he didnt do well, there was a serious problem.

Posted by ozziespirit on (February 6, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

@ Front-Foot-Lunge: Granted, our spin department is non-existant, but Watson is a quality lower order bat, despite his job of opening not turning out too well. But cricket is about performannce, and two teams that look different on paper, and I admit England outclass Australia, keeping, batting & bowling, can often surprise you on the day. you may have a surprise coming your way this year.

Posted by Sandeepbachhal on (February 6, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

U r superb. I Want to see c in world cup 2015. Without u this team is not complete. I hope u r thinking for long period. If this is required dont participate in ipl, dont waste ur talent or energy over thr. U shud consider urself a fixed asset of this oz team. After clarke u r most experienced in this team. My all money wud b on u whethr u r performing or not. I knw whn u performs thn no one can stop u. All d best for d ashes too. Well done.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (February 6, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

Given proven Ashes history, England can't wait to bowl at Watson again. There again, they'll be rubbing their hands together to bowl at ANY aussie with a bat in his hands. And how's their 'spin' department coming along these days? I do wonder.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
ESPNcricinfo staffClose
Tour Results
Australia v West Indies at Brisbane - Feb 13, 2013
West Indies won by 27 runs
Australia v West Indies at Melbourne - Feb 10, 2013
Australia won by 17 runs
Australia v West Indies at Sydney - Feb 8, 2013
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 31 balls remaining)
Australia v West Indies at Canberra - Feb 6, 2013
Australia won by 39 runs
Australia v West Indies at Perth - Feb 3, 2013
Australia won by 54 runs
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days