ING Cup, 2005-06 January 24, 2006

Watson makes comeback with South Africa in mind

Cricinfo staff

Shane Watson feels the pain © Getty Images

The Queensland allrounder Shane Watson has two matches to convince the national selectors he is fit and ready for next month's tour of South Africa. Watson, who was Australia's first-choice until he suffered a partial dislocation of his shoulder against West Indies in Brisbane in November, will make his comeback from surgery in Wednesday's ING Cup match against Victoria at the Gabba.

Watson's preferred discipline is batting, but he told The Courier-Mail it was his other weapon that was most likely to win him a national recall. "My goal is to become a strike bowler who can really swing the ball, that's what I'm working towards," Watson told the paper. "Roy [Andrew Symonds] is a world-class batsman so if I can really improve my bowling there is no reason why we can't play together in Test cricket. It gives a team so many options ... it has worked really well for Queensland, having both of us in the same side."

Watson will be joined by Matthew Hayden in the Bulls' line-up and he will have the one-day match and a Pura Cup game against New South Wales next week to make a claim. Hayden is also looking for a healthy return after suffering a chest infection, and the two internationals replace Ryan Broad and Lachlan Stevens.

Lloyd Mash has stepped into Victoria's line-up after Brad Hodge's promotion to the Australia one-day team and the absence of Peter Siddle with a side strain was easily filled by Mick Lewis. Victoria won the first Twenty20 final last weekend and are second on the ING Cup table with 19 points while Queensland are equal-last on 12.

Victoria squad Michael Klinger, Lloyd Mash, Liam Buchanan, David Hussey, Jonathan Moss, Cameron White (capt), Grant Lindsay, Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Andrew McDonald, Gerard Denton, Shane Harwood, Mick Lewis.

Queensland squad Jimmy Maher (capt), Matthew Hayden, Clinton Perren, Shane Watson, Steve Paulsen, Brendan Nash, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Nathan Hauritz, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Kasprowicz, Ashley Noffke.