Australia news June 29, 2011

Watson disappointed by Katich axing

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Watson has joined Ricky Ponting in expressing disappointment at the axing of his opening partner Simon Katich from the contracts list by Cricket Australia earlier this month. "I've built up a really good friendship and opening partnership with Simon over the last two years and I've had a lot of fun batting with him," Watson told AFP.

Katich, 35, who had been extremely consistent in the years leading up to his axing, had called the decision "absolutely ridiculous", an outburst which Ponting said was justified.

With 2928 runs at 50.48 since he was recalled to the Test team in 2008, Katich has been not only Australia's most reliable batsman but among the most bankable in the world. In that time only Alastair Cook has scored more runs.

Watson had formed a productive opening partnership with Katich in the last couple of years, adding 1523 runs in 28 innings at an average of 54.39. He felt that Katich could have gone on for some more time instead of being forced out.

"I still felt that he had another at least year or two of good cricket still in him. Being an opening partnership you do become a lot closer because you are taking on the best bowlers in the world together and you need a mate out there to be able to help you out."

Katich's axing is the latest move by Australa's selection panel in a bid to rebuild the side following a home Ashes loss and a World Cup quarter-final exit. Watson was earlier appointed deputy to new captain Michael Clarke as Ponting stepped down after the World Cup exit.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Baheerathan on July 2, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Stastics speak better than the commentators, selectors and others. Let us all accept that Katich has been one of the top test batsman in the world for last few years and deserves to be in the team. I am sure he can perform well for another two years. Greg Chappell is trying to do good for Australian Cricket like what he did for India some time back. He want to shake the team and make them the worst in the world so that they will learn to start from scratch. Australia has the potential to revive back sooner or later - based on when they get rid of Greg Chappel - India did at the right time and now dominates all the forms.Please do ot think my comments are biased. I am an ardent fan of Greg Chappell, the elegant batsman.

  • Andrew on July 2, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    @tomhedley - I think ALL openers are lucky the old pace battery are not around! I think G Smith would be about the modern opener around who'd come close to being comfortable against them!

  • Christopher on July 2, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    @tomhedley,you had a chance to respond reasonably to the proposition,supported by video and strong anectdotal and quoted evidence,that since the 3 warm up county games before the 2009 Ashes tour,Hughes has been forced,when playing for australia,to adopt an entirely different style by the coach,thus playing with his hands tied and giving a negative impression of his abilities.Compare your West Indian bowlers from another era with 4 bowlers Hughes has faced including 2 you have quoted,looking at strike rates and assuming that right arm fast means 144kmh+:Tremlett 9 tests 45 wickets strike rate 50.8,Anderson 59 tests 219 wickets,S/R 57 Ntini 101 tests 390 wickets S/R 53.4,Steyn 46 tests 238 wickets S/R 39.9.Last 2 are fast...Now the West Indians:Walsh 132 tests 519 wickets S/R 57.8 Roberts 47 tests 202 wickets S/R 55.1 Ambrose 98 tests 405 wickets S/R 54.5 Marshall 81 tests 376 wickets S/R 46.7.The current 4 have better strike rates-Steyn is streets ahead.If this is your evidence,it fails

  • Anupam on July 1, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    JAQUES & voges is better than katich & hughes. i think haddin watson as an opener is good and adam voges will bat at no 5/6 position best.

  • Tom on July 1, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    I'm done with this argument! I love the fact that you Aussies want to stand up for Hughes but you're clueless, I know I'd rather see our mediocre attack bowl at him rather than Katich any day! Broad, Anderson, Tremlett is hardly Roberts, Marshall, Ambrose, Walsh is it! These opening batsman are lucky to be around now!

  • Christopher on July 1, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Watch the 115 and 160 on youtube,he already works off his hip.D'Costa in,'T20 could kill tests' on this site says Hughes was 'given' the wrong instructions on playing the short ball and his style of play and that led to his downfall.He knew from either Clarke,Hughes or both.Nielsen said,when Hughes was dropped,he had exceeded their expectations in Sth Africa but Watson was their first choice to open.Put it together and you have Nielsen ordering him to play in a way designed to cause failure to justify Watson.What evidence?6 hundreds in 8 games before the Ashes warm up and 9 up to that point.6 hundreds since the Ashes-all without Nielsens influence.I believe that Nielsen went into 09 Ashes,planning to duplicate the england lineup,man for man in playing style.Thats why he wanted the allrounder for Flintoff,in place of Hughes.It is well understood that the selectors and Nielsen are obsessed with keeping this team together,even when failing.A 20 year old kid was forced to pay the price

  • Lou on July 1, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    It's tough on Hughes as everybody assumes he is the incumbent now, but it's ok for Watson to express his disappointment. He's done it far more clearly than any of the other players in the Aus camp. It's about the breaking of an established opening partnership that both he and Katich KNEW was the only thing working in the Aus team. Hughes may do very well, but it will take a while for them to gel and Watson knows that. He's not got a lot of test matches under his belt considering his age and it sounds like he enjoyed batting with Katich who has a really good head.

  • Andrew on July 1, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    @ tomhedley /hyclass - a point I'd like to make about Hughes, is on that tour of Sth Africa, just about every fast bowling Saffa in the country said they were going to bounce him. As hyclass said those bowlers didn't need a session to work out the short pitched strategy. That being said Hughes mastered it. This is not unlike S Waugh - who did not have a decent cross bat shot to the leg side against pace bowlers. He looked ugly against the short ball at his body - but in his prime almost never got out to a bouncer. I do believe that all Hughes has to is learn to nurdle a single off the hip & get off strike & he'll be okay. The fact is if bowlers keep bowling short to him - they only have one way of getting him out. If he counters it - they'll have to change strategy. I think 2 tests in England was too short of a "trial" period for an up & coming player. I dunno how much Nielsen had to do with him - I do know that dropping him after the 2nd test was damaging to his mental outlook.

  • Christopher on July 1, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    @tomhedley,Flintoff is the guy that ended Gilchrists career when he couldnt find an answer to the bouncing ball outside off.I remember him bowling at 150 +kmh and swinging the ball both ways.Harmison wasnt over the hill as is proved by his continued county success-he was erratic and always has been-theres a difference.As i continue to point out with specific information or allowing you to see for yourself,Hughes was under instructions to bat entirely contrary to his natural game.Look at Pontings last 4 years when he cant hook or pull.At least Ponting has a choice.From Nielsens press interview after dropping Hughes to D'Costa who pointed out what should have been obvious- Nielsen planned for Watson as opener and when Hughes was too good to drop in the lead-up,forced him to change his game knowing what he asked was impossible to make work.Those instructions started PRIOR to the Harmison game.The kid had to comply or be dropped.While Nielsen is there,how can Hughes play his natural game?

  • Tom on July 1, 2011, 6:43 GMT

    @hyclass, I'm not doubting you, I watched him against the Saffers in '09, he was very impressive and dashing, unfortunately you have to completely forget that model and look at the recent incarnation. However my memories of him are getting bounced out by an over the hill Harmison, looking all at sea against a one legged Flintoff and then being dropped after two Tests when his average was probably about 55! In the last Ashes series he hardly looked like the guy who scored heavily in his debut series! Most players need time to find their games and that is what county/state cricket is for!

  • No featured comments at the moment.