Australian workloads February 15, 2009

Lillee called to monitor Watson comeback

Cricinfo staff

Shane Watson has a minor rotation in his action that may have caused his latest injury © AFP

Shane Watson is looking to Dennis Lillee for help in his recovery from another back stress fracture as his action is dissected to ensure a long-term bowling future. Watson, 27, suffered the injury in December and is hopeful of marking out his run late in April.

Lillee, a respected bowling coach, returned from a serious back problem in 1973 and has been analsying Watson's action. "Dennis has been great with Shane, he did a little bit of work with Shane a long time ago with his first stress fracture," Troy Cooley, Australia's bowling coach, told the Sunday Mail. "We're accumulating our knowledge and basically trying to get the best result for Shane Watson, who is a great talent.

"Basically we've had a good look at Shane, we got some 3D information on him. We're basically going to pull his action apart and see if there's anything we need to do in regards to that."

Lillee has identified a "minor rotation" in Watson's delivery that could be part of the problem, according to Victor Popov, the allrounder's physiotherapist. "He needs to sort out a little issue with his technique so he'll be working with Dennis and Troy Cooley," Popov said. "Dennis and Troy will work on that, just in case it's part of the issue. We're dotting the Is and crossing the Ts with Shane.

While Watson, who is aiming for the Twenty20 World Cup in June, is one player being carefully monitored, Mitchell Johnson is another the Australian set-up is watching closely after his heavy summer. Johnson will miss Sunday's Twenty20 at the SCG with a minor ankle injury before flying to South Africa on Monday.

Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, said keeping Johnson fresh was one of his greatest challenges. "Mitch has done his fair share of bowling but that's why he had a break at the start of the one-dayers," he said. "Once we get to South Africa, we'll look after him - we'll make sure he gets enough work into his body to be ready to go for the Tests."