Former coach urges caution on allrounder January 28, 2007

Watson must prove himself - Simpson

Cricinfo staff

Shane Watson returned to domestic cricket for Queensland on Thursday © Getty Images

The injury-plagued Shane Watson should not be taken to the World Cup unless he strings together a series of impressive performances before the squad is named, according to Bob Simpson. Watson, who has just returned from a hamstring injury for the second time in six weeks, should need to demonstrate he is fully fit and in form to justify his selection, Simpson said.

Simpson, a former Australia coach and selector, said choosing a player based on potential rather than performances was a risky strategy. "He's got to prove himself because he virtually hasn't played this year and it's a huge gamble if he hasn't proved his fitness," Simpson told the Sunday Mail.

"Obviously the selectors have made him their favourite and they are trying to push him through. But no-one should go unless they are performing and totally fit. No-one has a God-given right to walk into the team on potential, particularly when you are talking about a World Cup. He's definitely got to get out there and show them what he's got."

But Watson, who missed the entire Ashes series with a lingering hamstring problem and has had only limited domestic cricket this season, said he was working to regain 100% fitness. "I'm a lot more conscious of what I'm putting into my body, my diet, and I'm much more conscious of the way I recover to make sure that my body's right," Watson said in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"[My team-mates] know how hard I work on my game and that I give myself every chance to be fit and to succeed. Sure, you can always do more, and I've talked to a lot of people about how to do things better. You've got to sometimes learn along the way, to learn the hard way."