Australia news October 1, 2011

Watson could move down the order

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Shane Watson, the Australia allrounder, has questioned whether his body will be able to handle the rigours of bowling regularly and opening the batting, and suggested he may have to shift down the order to compensate. Watson has been surprisingly successful the top of the order for Australia over the last couple of years and had previously rejected the possibility of a return to the middle order, but is rethinking his options after the recent tour of Sri Lanka.

"My role in the team has changed," Watson told the Daily Telegraph. "I have additional bowling demands and I do have to consider whether my body will be able to handle it. I need to think about what will be the best for the team, and how to get the best out of myself, moving ahead.

"I will continue to talk to [captain] Michael Clarke about it, but having just gone through the Sri Lanka series with that extra workload, this is the time I am thinking about it more."

Watson, newly promoted to vice-captain, bowled 75 overs in the three Tests in Sri Lanka, a substantial increase per game compared to the 76 overs he bowled across the five Ashes Tests last summer. His batting also appeared to suffer as a result. He made just 85 runs against Sri Lanka at an average of 17.40. In the Ashes series, he was Australia's second leading run-scorer with 435 at 48.33.

In order to protect him for international cricket - Australia play South Africa and India later this year - Cricket Australia has placed a bowling ban on him for the duration of the Champions League Twenty20, where Watson is playing for New South Wales.

Watson is also set to release his autobiography, Watto, in two days time, in which he reveals that CA told him to give up bowling in 2007 due to his constant injuries. His subsequent decision to seek an outside opinion was the reason he was able to get back to his best form and keep bowling, and "is the only reason I wrote the book", Watson said.

"I know from speaking to a number of athletes that the information they are getting is often not the best thing for them to get fit constantly. Sometimes you have to look outside to be able to find it. There would have been a number of people who found themselves in my situation and moved on to something else, but it is not always a dead-end."

It was former Australian Football League physio Victor Popov that Watson turned to for help, a move that ultimately paid off for Watson and Australia: "These guys [at CA] were doing their best to help me but when it came down to it, they were giving up on me ... it doesn't get much worse than being told by your team's medical experts that maybe you might never bowl again.

"In the end, I couldn't handle it and I didn't go out of my apartment for about three weeks, apart from seeing Victor ... I cried quite a bit. I felt like I was just about at the end of it, especially as an all-rounder.

"I was 26 and it felt like I was never going to realise my dreams ... I knew that so many other people in the world have a life that's 50,000 times harder than I've ever had. But I was in a spiral and, when you're like that, the only thing that matters is what's going on in your own life."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Beertjie on October 4, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Since I live in South Africa, I think I know a little more than most about conditions here. The batsmen will not have a problem with Copeland because he's a yard too slow. He may tie them down, but they'll pick him off and he won't get wickets at Newlands. Yes, @Meety,"MJ & Hughes have had good success in Sth Africa", but Hughes was an unknown then who caught them on the hop (this is precisely the reason why I'd go with Pattinson for Copeland) - they'll be ready for him now! As for MJ, Newlands is not Wanderers/Kingsmead, so what's the point in another failed attempt (ditto for Hughes!)? As I wrote, I recognize the other factors that selectors will likely consider(which is why I listed two teams), but one doesn't need top be prescient to see trends. You ask for evidence, @Meety. My reply is look at the quality of the opposition on their home turf and especially the the track on which they'll be playing the first test. It's not a case of "mass droppings" but of horses for courses.

  • on October 4, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    @Meety My apologies..i just reread your post and got that u wanted Watto to bat at No:6 only after Hussey retires and not after he drops to No:6...that makes a part of my earlier message void BUT I am for Katich with Hughes/any opener...especially since bowling seems to have a much more settled look than during the Ashes

  • on October 4, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    @Meety thanks for your comments...but couple of things to be clarified...u have written the duration of Watto's stay at the top depends on Katich(among others)..i thought he was sidelined permanently by the selectors (huge disappointment)..i would be glad to hear i am wrong...and Hussey moving down the order he is Australia's best batsman at the moment....would you like that to happen any time soon....i would not because i enjoy watching quality batting...would wish for any genuine opener/Katich to have a longer run at the top.OK Katich is old but if hes fit and performing why cant he play...especially considering the dearth for quality openers atl east at the moment..he can mentor Hughes/any rookie who comes up..with an eye to the future should we jeopardize whatever good is happening at present...dont think so

  • Meety on October 4, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    @Dinker Rkn - know where you are coming from. I think its more of a short term/long term issue. In the short term he is the opener as there is not enough pressure coming from anybody else (UNLESS we went with KATICH). Hughes is NOT YET a permanent option, & am still unsure about Marsh. Warner could come into the equation quickly if he starts the Shield season very well, but that will be for the NZ/India series. For the time being it's Watto at the top, but lots will depend on Hughes, Marsh, Warner, Katich, & (Rogers & Maddinson?) as to when/if he drops down. IMO I want a genuine Allrounder, & would gladly slot him in at #4, & then when M Hussey retires - to #6.

  • hyclass on October 4, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    Ive read with amusement,the perception that Watson was a bowling tour de force in the Test series in SL.Ouside the Galle Test,where it rained wickets for bowlers on a pitch that received due condemnation from the ICC,Watson took 2/114 at 57. Im a fan of the quality of Watson but recognise his physical endurance limitations.As he is already 30,the probability remains that his endurance will not improve.Intelligent people will not try to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by overusing his bowling.Theres the distinct possibility,that far from his bowling afftecting his batting,the impending release of a book that heaviliy criticised aspects of CA & selection might have been more influential,particularly in light of them announcing the old selection firm would select for SA.I doubt Watson was expecting them to still be involved at this point,but Sutherland and Co. have dragged it out for all they are worth,seeking personal validation to dilute their failed years,policies & behaviour.

  • Meety on October 4, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    @Beertjie - I think you must of got out of the wrong side of the bed when you posted those comments! I don't know where to start!!! Mass droppings at a time when the team is showing GENUINE improvement in attitude/application is just crazy. History shows that some players have favourite places to play cricket, MJ & Hughes have had good success in Sth Africa & the prospects remain good that will happen again. As for Copeland, he stands MORE chance of performing well in Sth Africa than in SL, where the pitches were exactly the opposite of what he normally needs to take wickets. Copeland's height on bouncier wickets, will have the Saffas often in no-mans land when batting, not able to come forward & not wanting to play back to good length balls. As for Hauritz v Lyon, that has fors & against, if you want a good #8 who's a spinner, why not O'Keefe? That being said IMO the order of quality spinners in Oz is 1. Hauritz, 2. O'keefe, 3. Lyon, 4. Smith, 5. Casson, 6. Krezja, 7. Doherty, 8. Beer

  • Meety on October 3, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    @AidanFX - I think it's a chicken or the egg thing regarding International sport in a comparison between the 2 sports. With cricket, International matches were common very early in its history & took hold thru the Ashes very quickly & had high importance. With Soccer, International matches really only gained significance in tournaments. So International matches outside qualifying for tournaments are just counted as "Friendlies". I think it will be difficult to shift the weighting between franchise v country. That being said, non-traditional cricket fans (basically T20 fans), will be pro-franchise, which would make it more appealing for a player to turn his back on "National Duty". The IPL is only 4 years old, I don't think its a certainty to continue in the same manner as currently, (I believe there is a strong chance salaries will drop significantly & will come more in line with central contracts, hence not as tempting). I base the IPL comment on declining viewership over 4 yrs.

  • hyclass on October 3, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @beertjie.Youre asking to be believed when you have no supporting evidence.MJ is outstanding against SA-period.If Watson is better than Hughes,why,when he has played 17 more Tests,is his average lower,his strike rate lower & with 1 less 100? If Marsh has the,'concentration for the job'youre suggesting,why is he renowned,despite good technique,over an 11 year 1st class career for losing his wicket to poor concentration,which has left him with only 7 -1st class 100s ever and a 30s career average.Why,does he have only 3 centuries in the last 4 years,while Hughes has 17 on 4 continents,including 3 in Tests,2 against SA?Why did both Clarke & Hughes suddenly play with a freedom,not seen in years,on learning that Nielsen would retire after the 3rd SL Test & why did Hughes scoring,slow to a crawl on arriving in SL,even in the Board XI game,despite flaying both SA-A & Zimbabwe for centuries,just weeks before for for Aust-A?Why does Hughes have 5 centuries in his last 9 games while Marsh has 1?

  • Beertjie on October 3, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    @Dinker Rkn your question about the openers in SA is good. Against that attack Watto should be one and Marsh the other. But since he got that 100, Hughes will be retained until he fails in all four innings before they re-consider (I hope). If not, he'll get runs against the Kiwis and remain in the team (till when?). Marsh looks to have the concentration for the job, so he should be moved up giving Watto the room to bowl more and believe me, they'll need his bowling in that first test at Newlands where MJ will be massacred as he was a couple of years ago. So instead of giving my team I'm giving 2 teams: one that will lose followed by the one that would at least draw: Hughes, Watson, Marsh, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Copeland, Lyon Marsh, Watson, Ponting, Khawaja, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Hauritz, Harris, Siddle, Pattinson Dropping Hughes and Lyon may be a tough call, but if you drop MJ you need a decent number 8. Copeland, too, will get nothing from SA tracks.

  • on October 3, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    I think Watson"s bowling against Sri Lanka was a revealation. It is wonderful for Australia have someone to go to, who not only puts pressure on the scoring rate but can bring the ball in sharply to get wickets.Bhis rut his batting has clearly suffered and I think if Australia need him as a bowler too, who can bowl long spells and get wickets too then his request to be shifted down the order is not an unreasonable one. It would be great if he could bat at six and that probably means Warner gets a look in. I like Warner"s technique , it is definitely better than Hughes". Though Hughes should get a chance based on his last innings and the fact that he has done so well in South Afica better. I seriously think that this Australian team is a far sight better than the one that lost the Ashes so badly and if Ponting has a second lease of batting life, then they could be a decent competitor, something they have not been for some time. sridhar

  • Beertjie on October 4, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Since I live in South Africa, I think I know a little more than most about conditions here. The batsmen will not have a problem with Copeland because he's a yard too slow. He may tie them down, but they'll pick him off and he won't get wickets at Newlands. Yes, @Meety,"MJ & Hughes have had good success in Sth Africa", but Hughes was an unknown then who caught them on the hop (this is precisely the reason why I'd go with Pattinson for Copeland) - they'll be ready for him now! As for MJ, Newlands is not Wanderers/Kingsmead, so what's the point in another failed attempt (ditto for Hughes!)? As I wrote, I recognize the other factors that selectors will likely consider(which is why I listed two teams), but one doesn't need top be prescient to see trends. You ask for evidence, @Meety. My reply is look at the quality of the opposition on their home turf and especially the the track on which they'll be playing the first test. It's not a case of "mass droppings" but of horses for courses.

  • on October 4, 2011, 7:24 GMT

    @Meety My apologies..i just reread your post and got that u wanted Watto to bat at No:6 only after Hussey retires and not after he drops to No:6...that makes a part of my earlier message void BUT I am for Katich with Hughes/any opener...especially since bowling seems to have a much more settled look than during the Ashes

  • on October 4, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    @Meety thanks for your comments...but couple of things to be clarified...u have written the duration of Watto's stay at the top depends on Katich(among others)..i thought he was sidelined permanently by the selectors (huge disappointment)..i would be glad to hear i am wrong...and Hussey moving down the order he is Australia's best batsman at the moment....would you like that to happen any time soon....i would not because i enjoy watching quality batting...would wish for any genuine opener/Katich to have a longer run at the top.OK Katich is old but if hes fit and performing why cant he play...especially considering the dearth for quality openers atl east at the moment..he can mentor Hughes/any rookie who comes up..with an eye to the future should we jeopardize whatever good is happening at present...dont think so

  • Meety on October 4, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    @Dinker Rkn - know where you are coming from. I think its more of a short term/long term issue. In the short term he is the opener as there is not enough pressure coming from anybody else (UNLESS we went with KATICH). Hughes is NOT YET a permanent option, & am still unsure about Marsh. Warner could come into the equation quickly if he starts the Shield season very well, but that will be for the NZ/India series. For the time being it's Watto at the top, but lots will depend on Hughes, Marsh, Warner, Katich, & (Rogers & Maddinson?) as to when/if he drops down. IMO I want a genuine Allrounder, & would gladly slot him in at #4, & then when M Hussey retires - to #6.

  • hyclass on October 4, 2011, 0:15 GMT

    Ive read with amusement,the perception that Watson was a bowling tour de force in the Test series in SL.Ouside the Galle Test,where it rained wickets for bowlers on a pitch that received due condemnation from the ICC,Watson took 2/114 at 57. Im a fan of the quality of Watson but recognise his physical endurance limitations.As he is already 30,the probability remains that his endurance will not improve.Intelligent people will not try to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by overusing his bowling.Theres the distinct possibility,that far from his bowling afftecting his batting,the impending release of a book that heaviliy criticised aspects of CA & selection might have been more influential,particularly in light of them announcing the old selection firm would select for SA.I doubt Watson was expecting them to still be involved at this point,but Sutherland and Co. have dragged it out for all they are worth,seeking personal validation to dilute their failed years,policies & behaviour.

  • Meety on October 4, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    @Beertjie - I think you must of got out of the wrong side of the bed when you posted those comments! I don't know where to start!!! Mass droppings at a time when the team is showing GENUINE improvement in attitude/application is just crazy. History shows that some players have favourite places to play cricket, MJ & Hughes have had good success in Sth Africa & the prospects remain good that will happen again. As for Copeland, he stands MORE chance of performing well in Sth Africa than in SL, where the pitches were exactly the opposite of what he normally needs to take wickets. Copeland's height on bouncier wickets, will have the Saffas often in no-mans land when batting, not able to come forward & not wanting to play back to good length balls. As for Hauritz v Lyon, that has fors & against, if you want a good #8 who's a spinner, why not O'Keefe? That being said IMO the order of quality spinners in Oz is 1. Hauritz, 2. O'keefe, 3. Lyon, 4. Smith, 5. Casson, 6. Krezja, 7. Doherty, 8. Beer

  • Meety on October 3, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    @AidanFX - I think it's a chicken or the egg thing regarding International sport in a comparison between the 2 sports. With cricket, International matches were common very early in its history & took hold thru the Ashes very quickly & had high importance. With Soccer, International matches really only gained significance in tournaments. So International matches outside qualifying for tournaments are just counted as "Friendlies". I think it will be difficult to shift the weighting between franchise v country. That being said, non-traditional cricket fans (basically T20 fans), will be pro-franchise, which would make it more appealing for a player to turn his back on "National Duty". The IPL is only 4 years old, I don't think its a certainty to continue in the same manner as currently, (I believe there is a strong chance salaries will drop significantly & will come more in line with central contracts, hence not as tempting). I base the IPL comment on declining viewership over 4 yrs.

  • hyclass on October 3, 2011, 23:53 GMT

    @beertjie.Youre asking to be believed when you have no supporting evidence.MJ is outstanding against SA-period.If Watson is better than Hughes,why,when he has played 17 more Tests,is his average lower,his strike rate lower & with 1 less 100? If Marsh has the,'concentration for the job'youre suggesting,why is he renowned,despite good technique,over an 11 year 1st class career for losing his wicket to poor concentration,which has left him with only 7 -1st class 100s ever and a 30s career average.Why,does he have only 3 centuries in the last 4 years,while Hughes has 17 on 4 continents,including 3 in Tests,2 against SA?Why did both Clarke & Hughes suddenly play with a freedom,not seen in years,on learning that Nielsen would retire after the 3rd SL Test & why did Hughes scoring,slow to a crawl on arriving in SL,even in the Board XI game,despite flaying both SA-A & Zimbabwe for centuries,just weeks before for for Aust-A?Why does Hughes have 5 centuries in his last 9 games while Marsh has 1?

  • Beertjie on October 3, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    @Dinker Rkn your question about the openers in SA is good. Against that attack Watto should be one and Marsh the other. But since he got that 100, Hughes will be retained until he fails in all four innings before they re-consider (I hope). If not, he'll get runs against the Kiwis and remain in the team (till when?). Marsh looks to have the concentration for the job, so he should be moved up giving Watto the room to bowl more and believe me, they'll need his bowling in that first test at Newlands where MJ will be massacred as he was a couple of years ago. So instead of giving my team I'm giving 2 teams: one that will lose followed by the one that would at least draw: Hughes, Watson, Marsh, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Johnson, Harris, Copeland, Lyon Marsh, Watson, Ponting, Khawaja, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Hauritz, Harris, Siddle, Pattinson Dropping Hughes and Lyon may be a tough call, but if you drop MJ you need a decent number 8. Copeland, too, will get nothing from SA tracks.

  • on October 3, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    I think Watson"s bowling against Sri Lanka was a revealation. It is wonderful for Australia have someone to go to, who not only puts pressure on the scoring rate but can bring the ball in sharply to get wickets.Bhis rut his batting has clearly suffered and I think if Australia need him as a bowler too, who can bowl long spells and get wickets too then his request to be shifted down the order is not an unreasonable one. It would be great if he could bat at six and that probably means Warner gets a look in. I like Warner"s technique , it is definitely better than Hughes". Though Hughes should get a chance based on his last innings and the fact that he has done so well in South Afica better. I seriously think that this Australian team is a far sight better than the one that lost the Ashes so badly and if Ponting has a second lease of batting life, then they could be a decent competitor, something they have not been for some time. sridhar

  • on October 3, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    it would be tempting to say YES and NO to this.Watto is the most settled opener right now for Aus albeit surprisingly.Others like Hughes are yet to make their selection automatic.But if he moves down the order it can give him much more breathing space while bowling (he has been the most consistent partnership breaker for Aus recently).Also it would give much more depth and stability to the batting order.(A Watto-MJ/Haddin combination can easily score 100 runs may be when most needed..assuming of course that Jhonson will make it to the XI)..i think it would be better to play him based on the conditions and opposition.Let him open at home and in the subcontinent(not forgetting that he had decent success in England last time) and against Dale Steyn and Morkel in SA let him bowl more and bat down the order.But then which is the opening pair in SA??any answers...

  • on October 3, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    IMO I'd like to see Watson at 3. He is good with the new ball and can set up the innings. Any lower than 5 I think will make him impatient and try to get those big scores in limited time. At 3 or 4 will give him the chance to face new ball or come in when there is runs on the board to release pressure.

  • AidanFX on October 3, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    @ Meety - yep agree - but this has got me thinking; how long will it last that Int teams can put these restrictions on their players? Should be expect IPL/CL (and any other prestige 20/20 league) will get to the point they will claim equal or even higher rights over their players. In Football (soccer) big league tournaments are constantly in a tussel with players international duties.

  • hyclass on October 3, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    I doubt theres simple answer.Watson has consistently demonstrated quality at the highest level against the best opponents in both disciplines.Like Johnson,theres a perception that we arent witnessing the authentic player & some small change will create a wholesale improvement.In Johnsons case,the idea is that hes less consistent than should be expected.A review of his playing career shows that this IS and always was the Johnson first picked for Australia & that all the talk of wrist position is nothing.His record is still impressive & theres an excellent chance he will turn it on against SA,but his record is that of grouped highs & lows,not consistency.Watsons career is defined by his muscular physique.It visibly limits his ability to run.The muscle drains his energy fast,first physical,then mental,causing lapses.IMO,the real Watson has 90-120 mins of endurance at a stretch,hence his lack of conversion.Unless diet/blood sugar improvements promote better endurance,I dont forsee change.

  • Meety on October 3, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    The smartest thing Cric Oz have done in a while is "...has placed a bowling ban on him for the duration of the Champions League Twenty20..." on Watto. Have an important Test series against the Saffas & need him in ship-shape condition.

  • Meety on October 3, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    @hyclass - I agree that Haddin's keeping (by no means great), has been pretty good in recent times. This coincides with Rixon's appointment, funny that as he is a keeper as well, Nielsen couldn't keep the standard up. The problem I think people had with Haddin was last year he was sloppy, (& in the past as well), culminating in at least 3 misstumpings (maybe 4), in the one game against the poms in an ODI last year. Back then I was backing him by saying his batting is better than anybody else we have on offer at the moment, so he should stay. Now that his batting is going thru a blip, more focus will be on his keeping. I do believe though that SOME comments are fair though.

  • MinusZero on October 3, 2011, 0:22 GMT

    @Barnesy4444. Not sure about comparing Kallis and Watson. IMO They are both ok bowlers, but they are worlds apart with the bat.

  • smudgeon on October 2, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    During the SL series, Watson looked the most likely candidate to run through the SL batting (Harris aside)...and let's face it, at the moment the Australian bowling attack needs someone like that. I'm as amazed as other people here to see how good he's come in the last 18 months - i've never been a fan of Watto, but it seems with his good form has come maturity on & off the field. I think moving down the order will free him up a bit to be more of a game-changer, both with bat and ball. His batting to me seems well-suited to the role Gilly used to play. Who knows - being down the order might relieve the pressure of opening and we might see him get some of those big scores he's been threatening recently...

  • bumsonseats on October 2, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    the difference betwen sehwag and warner is, sehwag plays 1/2 his games in india so warner will never get the types of pitch to play those big shots. as sehwag can be a flat top bully. dpk

  • Barnesy4444 on October 2, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    I've said for a while that Watson could seriously be the next Kallis. Watson could make 8 000 runs and take 250 wickets. But he can't bat any higher than 4. He needs the rest after bowling.

  • AidanFX on October 2, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    @ c3vzn - read my older post prior to one you have just read; and then read my more recent post. I rate Watson highly as a One Day player and a Test Player. It took me a while to grow to him but his role is very important to the balance of the team.

  • hyclass on October 2, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    @AidanFX.I challenge you to supply supporting evidence for your statements.Given your emotive statements,you must have accumulated a wealth of substantive data.I reject your suggestion that his keeping is anything other than professional.Haddin kept for 500 overs in the SL Test series.He let through10 byes of which 4 were a Johnson ball that superman couldnt have reached.He regularly kept up to the stumps for medium pacers.On the Galle minefield,he let through just 1 bye.The toxic playing environment in which Haddin has operated,is the subject of the Argus Review,supported by Watsons book,Katich,Hauritz and actions & statements from Ponting,Hughes,Clarke,McDonald & DeCosta.His numbers stack up & no other keeper has made a better case.Bangladesh was irrelevent in the context of the series ever being proposed by CA,as it immediately followed a very recent WC ejection,the worlds gold standard in this format.It appeared conceived to conceal CA failure & prolong selection tenures to SA.

  • c3vzn on October 2, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    @AidanFX Watson wasn't Allan Border medalist for no reason. The fact that you are doubting his place in the Test team is absurd. Every team needs an allrounder and he is Australia's best.

  • Meety on October 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Couldn't care less where Watto bats in the short forms, he's suited to opening there, but eventually he MUST (IMO), drop down the order in Tests. The timing of this is when/if Hughes is a permanent member of the Test side & there are great candidates for the other opening position. That seems to be very close as far as I'm concerned. Then Watto could bowl 15 overs a day minimum. I think his bowling is very underated. == == == Finally Watto is seeming to see reason. He is currently only the senior opener because nobody is grabbing the other slot at the moment. That being said a better mind set & Watto could be a very destructive opener, for a long time. I suppose I'd rather a great allrounder???

  • AidanFX on October 2, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    @ Myself - I inserted a "not" - that's not meant to be there.. @ c3vzn - How do you figure the guy should be in the team; 50 Over cricket sure; but the guy is merely a hard working spirited cricket, good on the side lines if the side is hit with injuries maybe but he is not that good a bowler.

  • on October 2, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Watson would make a great number 3 or 4, he has tried batting at 6 and it hasnt worked for him and an attacking player such as Watto will do well batting in the top order still. A good line up Hughes, Marsh, Watson, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Paine/Wade, Harris, Copeland, Lyon, Bollinger

  • on October 2, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    On another note - why is Watson releasing an autobiog at age 30?!

  • Aussasinator on October 2, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    @c3vzn . That should be the line up immediately my friend, not after a year. Australia would have lost a couple of series more by then. But the opening slot will continue to remain a problem in Tests, for Australia, though not for ODIs.

  • AidanFX on October 2, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    I agree with Land47 - Should stay opener 50 Overs; Mark Waugh (who I rate as one of the greatest One Day Players) was not a test opener, but a pro opening at 50 Over Cricket - Watson is along the same lines. He does not need drop down at Tests irrespective of whether he bowls more or less because he is not suited to the position against the New Ball in Tests. His bowling is important to the team. @Hyclass you said the tour of Bangladesh was "irrelevent" yet said it was sad that I thought I wasn't taking the 20/20 games seriously. You keep harpooning on about Haddin's averages but some of us are as more concerned about his Keeping ability. This is not a "baseless" concern. If there are more solid Keepers who are also good batsman they should be putting serious heat on Haddin. His age is not irrelevant to the discussion since his keeping is a liability.

  • chandau on October 2, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    In MANAGEMENT there is a saying "why change if it works?" same goes here. There is no other bat other than Marsh who can become a test opener. At the same time Watson doesnt no off spin from straight ball so he will not be good in the middle. The current lineup works because both Clark and Hussy are good players of spin. By promoting Marsh to 3 the Oz were able to neutralize the spin threat in Sri Lanka. Only issue I have not seen Marsh play fast bowling on fast pitches. He was good in SL and also in IPL. In that case puinter's the man to take on Steyn, Morkle and Kallis. Will be interesting how Hughes copes with the really quick and steep stuff say in the BULL RING :) If at all the order needs a change then Warnaer shud get a look in as he has shown ability to construct an inning in the ODI version and sometime s even in T20. While he has simillar abilities to Pollard, Warner has also a good head it seems.

  • hyclass on October 2, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    The constant attacks on Haddin have no basis in fact.Their only purpose seems to be a recent fascination with populating the squad with any new and young player possible.He averaged 45 against England during the Ashes with 1 x 100 and 3 x 50s and 55 during the WC.Its only since the irrelevent Bangladesh ODI series that hes lacked form.Given his excellent career record,the impact of the Argus Review & removal of almost the entire CA coaching and selecting roster,a great deal more good would accrue if credit,patience and sympathy was extended to the incumbent players operating in such an obviously toxic environment.From Watsons book,which shows that it existed 4 years ago & almost destroyed him,to his impugning the selectors,to Katich,Hauritz,Bollinger,Clarke,McDonald,Ponting,Hughes and DeCosta,publicly acting or speaking out,the evidence is overwhelming,that players were dealing with high level incompetency that ruined careers and Australias reputation.Patience is the answer,not youth.

  • landl47 on October 2, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    @Vvk Temp: Mitchell Marsh is not yet 20 years old, has played 13 first class games with a batting average of 20 and taken 9 wickets at an average of 37. Are you seriously suggesting that he should be picked for the Australian test side as an allrounder? I'm all for giving youth a chance, but that's just throwing him to the lions.

  • landl47 on October 2, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    Watson has been an excellent opener in ODIs and he should continue to open in them. He hasn't been as successful in tests, because his conversion rate is so poor- he's passed 50 as an opener 16 times but has only gone on to make 2 centuries, with a highest of 126. The series against Sri Lanka, in which he scored 85 runs in 3 games at an average of 17 against one of the weaker attacks in world cricket, didn't make much of a case for him staying as opener. His bowling is useful and might be more than that if he bowled more. He's 30 years old now and the time has come for Australia to make a decision. If he's to be an opener, he can't bowl more than a few overs. If he's to be an allrounder, he needs to drop down the order. Where does Australia need him most?

  • c3vzn on October 2, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    This should be the lineup in a year or so.

    1.Warner 2.Marsh 3.Khawaja 4.Clarke 5.Hussey 6.Watson 7.Wade 8.Hauritz/Lyon 9.Harris 10.Copeland 11.Bollinger

  • righthandbat on October 2, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    Hussey and Watson could swap places, with Wade coming in for Haddin (due to his poor form)

    1) Hussey 2) Hughes 3) Marsh 4) Ponting 5) Clarke 6) Watson 7) Wade 8-11) Bowlers

    of course, I'd be tempted to give Khawaja another go, so Ponting should be rotated with him to help blood in Khawaja a bit.

  • RJHB on October 2, 2011, 2:44 GMT

    He'd be a world class number six. The problem is Australia's tail is fairly poor these days. Haddin is hopelessly inconsistent and unreliable, Johnson is a bonafide number ten now, they dropped Hauritz who can bat and none of the other bowlers are much chop. So how is Watto going to score runs with that lot?

  • AussieGreek on October 2, 2011, 1:31 GMT

    If Australia are serious about restructuring Watson was and is a short term fix as an opener. Warner is a long term solution as an opener in tests. He is the next Sehwag. They need to lock down a long term opening partnership this Australian summer.

  • tearawayquick on October 2, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    Watson has not been much of a bowler. Aus should restrict him to bowling around 15 overs per match. His batting skills outweigh his bowlin and he is mighty effective at the top of the order with his ability to dominate bowling attacks.He has done really well as an opener and Aus will find it easier to find a Middle Order Batsman than a New Opener.. The batting line up looks set now and there is no reason to tamper with it...

  • VivGilchrist on October 1, 2011, 23:50 GMT

    Watson the all-rounder is more valuable to the team than Watson the opener. World-class all-rounders are hard to find, and by playing him as an opener they are compromising his all-round ability and nullifying the advantage they have of having him in the team. Watto turns the starting XI into a XII just like Kallis, Sobers, Botham, and Imran did. Move him to no4.

  • on October 1, 2011, 22:05 GMT

    Moving down the order would be the worst thing to do for him. He is probably the only opening batsman in the world today capable of scoring 200 in an ODI.

  • popcorn on October 1, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    This will be a big mistake.You are well settled at the opening slot. You have no role in the middle order.You'll find yourself out of the team if you slide down the order.

  • Gupta.Ankur on October 1, 2011, 17:38 GMT

    Don't you guys think english and aussie cricketers are big from outside, but soft from inside?

    you hear so much about depression and stuff from these 2 countries the most......

    Watson has opened for only 2 years now and already he is feeling the pressure? come on watto.........

  • Winsome on October 1, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    I don't understand this mad rush by fans to suggest that Marsh should open. He doesn't open for his state. They should leave him at 3 till he's actually established in the team, which I don't think he is yet. Great start but he really needs to keep putting runs on the board. He's not like Hussey, Clarke and Punter who can go for ages without 'putting out' so to speak. As we've seen before, they won't persist for long with the newer players who don't keep scoring runs. Watson will probably stay opening for now, he's kind of dicey against spin anyway so I don't see much mileage in sending him to start against what probably would be the spin bowlers.

  • on October 1, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    If they try Mitchell Marsh in the Test squad he would be able to take over Watto's bowling responsibility and Mitch is a good bowler and can bat well at #5, #6 or #7.

  • rajsri on October 1, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    Really a welcome decision. Australlia need some on ein the bottom to accelerate and watson would be the ideal man. you need to have a sound judgement to play at the top of the order and shane though dilligently did that could not replicate it for long period. He now coming lower down the order will have to deal with mostly a old ball and can score runs quickly.

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on October 1, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    He needs to go down the order, I think the two options will be him moving to number 4 where he has spent a lot of his time in first class cricket for Tasmania and Queensland or number 6. I think if they do move him down it'll be to number 4 but personally I'd prefer him at number 6, that's the natural spot for an all rounder and he is also very aggressive and powerful which is helpful with the tail. Maybe when his defensive technique improves he could move up to number 4 in the future.

    If he does bat at number 6, I'd like to see Hussey go to number 4 with Clarke staying at number 5 like in the last 2 Tests vs Sri Lanka. If Watson bats at number 4 then I'd like to see Clarke and Hussey stay in their current positions.

  • Ben1989 on October 1, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    @Ravi, yes all thats well & true, but do you remember how bad his body was when he first played Int cricket? obviously his body cant handle all that, some people are different mate..

  • CHARLA on October 1, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Right or wrong--Aussies are always thinking of ways and means to look after the interests of their cricket and cricketers.It does'nt matter if what they do turns out to be a mistake. they are(and should always be)honest enough not to try it again.their thought to ban SHANE WATSON bowling is indeed commendable(probably from the opponent's view as well). And what does BCCI and the INDIAN SELECTORS do.why,they do not waste their time on any thinking!

  • on October 1, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    I have always felt that Watson is wasted as an opener in Test matches. He can do wonders in the middle order. Shaun Marsh can easily fill the opener's slot.

  • Trapper439 on October 1, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    He's done a great job as opener, but I'd like to see him moved down the order where he'd have the opportunity to play with a bit more abandon on the occasions when the top order has scored runs. He's been very consistent as an opener, but I can see him scoring some big match-winning hundreds at #6.

  • bumsonseats on October 1, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    the guy does not seem to be injury prone these days. but hes not an opener even if hes done quite well. australia will need him to bowl in SA though as other than harris u will struggle for wicket takers. put him at 6 which in tests should be his position. he can change a match from there. get rid of johnson hes your weak link, and has the heart of a stuffed lion.dpk

  • on October 1, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    Moving down to number six balances the side with marsh and hughes opening, ponting at number three where his best at, clarke and hussey at four and five where they should be, watson six, haddin seven, with johnson, harris, copeland and lyon being the bowlers for the first test. You've go khawaja as the first batsman and siddle first bowler to be picked if injuries hit.

  • AidanFX on October 1, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    @ PontingTendulkarMcGrathAkram - I like your inclusion of Khawaja - but you have left out poor Watto

  • TheAscendancybegins on October 1, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    After witnessing Watson's success over the past few years in the openers slot, I was reluctant to see him go back to batting down the order, however the recent series in Sri Lanka was a reflection of his poorer performances. No doubt it was due to the balance he was trying to strike between being a key player in the batting line up and playing a supporting role in the bowling department but I think 1 more series should be given for Watson to adjust with this new role. If he doesn't feel comfortable then by all means move him down the order. If it happens, this would be my team for South Africa. 1.Hughes, 2.Marsh, 3.Khawaja, 4.Ponting ,5.Clarke,6.Hussey,7.Haddin/Paine,8.Johnson,9.Harris,10.Copeland,11.Lyon/O'keefe (preferably Hauritz but he's recovering)

  • ravi_hari on October 1, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    Watson is a treasure and should be preserved. However, he is strongly built and has been successful at the top. I think like he did with his bowling turning to Victor, he should trun to Kallis for his role as an allrounder. Look how Kallis takes the load of batting and bowling in all formats for South Africa and his IPL side. He does not look tired and if gets injured is back very soon. His performance has always been very consistant with both bat and ball. What Watson should instead do is to develop his skills against the moving ball - whether it is pace or spin. He commits himself to striking the ball hard and that is his nemesis many-a-time. He needs to be a little patient. Opening the batting and bowling 20 overs in an innings have no relation. Alec Stewart used to keep wickets for 2 days and come back and open the innings. Gilli did it in ODIs. I think Watson was expected to explode in Sri lanka which he did not and that is giving him nightmares. Think again Watto. Hari Ravi

  • on October 1, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    In order to protect SHANE WATSON for international cricket - Australia play South Africa and India later this year - Cricket Australia has placed a bowling ban on him for the duration of the Champions League Twenty20. These types of hard and good decision can only take by the CA, CSA etc. For the better of team watson should move down the order as he is a perfect allrounder.

  • AidanFX on October 1, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    @ Luke ... What's your point caller?

  • AidanFX on October 1, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    He needs to move down the order. He is too susceptible to LBW/ Bowled. He has become a key player so moving down the order will do him good. My fear is Ponting will go back to three if Marsh opens with Hughes. Clarke was right to move him to four. Ponting is at the stage where he should be dropped really, but won't be because he will be rewarded on the back of being one of Aus' best (past few yrs aside) - selectors won't be game to drop him rightly or wrongly. I feel a tad sorry for Ricky, it appears as though he looks at Tendulka's run in recent yrs and would like to show he can do the same, and I guess retire on a high rather than a low but apart from a few innings here and there in Tests and 50 overs things just are not changing for him. Khawaja is right at his heals. Watson to go down, enable him to be a pivotal 5th bowler/ 4th seamer.

  • Ben1989 on October 1, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    It says second leading run scorer Luke...

  • c3vzn on October 1, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    @Luke it says second-leading run scorer.

  • tfjones1978 on October 1, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Cricket Australia needs to drop Watson from T20I and T20 domestic matches. Watson is a TEST alrounder. His batting and bowling is best served by focusing on this. They should financially compensate him for not playing that form of the game and focus on him being fit enough to bat at number 6 and bowl at first or second change. Watson is our best player and one of the best alrounders in the world at the moment. Australia needs to put his test career as primary focus and stop thinking about the money. Leave T20I and T20 domestic to players that are up & coming or lack the ability to handle four or five day cricket. Let our best players play at peak performance in test cricket, not T20's, its not the real measure of a player!

  • thewayitwass on October 1, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    I knew when i saw watto debut against england way back in 03 that he would be a star, i have been rooting for him from that day, too see him now after being a laughing stock for so long is truly incredible, going to get this book too

  • Nerk on October 1, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Move Watson as far away from Hughes as possible. Might be less run outs that way!

  • on October 1, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    He wasn't Australia's leading run-scorer in the Ashes series... no second guesses as to who beat him out against England.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on October 1, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    He wasn't Australia's leading run-scorer in the Ashes series... no second guesses as to who beat him out against England.

  • Nerk on October 1, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Move Watson as far away from Hughes as possible. Might be less run outs that way!

  • thewayitwass on October 1, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    I knew when i saw watto debut against england way back in 03 that he would be a star, i have been rooting for him from that day, too see him now after being a laughing stock for so long is truly incredible, going to get this book too

  • tfjones1978 on October 1, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    Cricket Australia needs to drop Watson from T20I and T20 domestic matches. Watson is a TEST alrounder. His batting and bowling is best served by focusing on this. They should financially compensate him for not playing that form of the game and focus on him being fit enough to bat at number 6 and bowl at first or second change. Watson is our best player and one of the best alrounders in the world at the moment. Australia needs to put his test career as primary focus and stop thinking about the money. Leave T20I and T20 domestic to players that are up & coming or lack the ability to handle four or five day cricket. Let our best players play at peak performance in test cricket, not T20's, its not the real measure of a player!

  • c3vzn on October 1, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    @Luke it says second-leading run scorer.

  • Ben1989 on October 1, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    It says second leading run scorer Luke...

  • AidanFX on October 1, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    He needs to move down the order. He is too susceptible to LBW/ Bowled. He has become a key player so moving down the order will do him good. My fear is Ponting will go back to three if Marsh opens with Hughes. Clarke was right to move him to four. Ponting is at the stage where he should be dropped really, but won't be because he will be rewarded on the back of being one of Aus' best (past few yrs aside) - selectors won't be game to drop him rightly or wrongly. I feel a tad sorry for Ricky, it appears as though he looks at Tendulka's run in recent yrs and would like to show he can do the same, and I guess retire on a high rather than a low but apart from a few innings here and there in Tests and 50 overs things just are not changing for him. Khawaja is right at his heals. Watson to go down, enable him to be a pivotal 5th bowler/ 4th seamer.

  • AidanFX on October 1, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    @ Luke ... What's your point caller?

  • on October 1, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    In order to protect SHANE WATSON for international cricket - Australia play South Africa and India later this year - Cricket Australia has placed a bowling ban on him for the duration of the Champions League Twenty20. These types of hard and good decision can only take by the CA, CSA etc. For the better of team watson should move down the order as he is a perfect allrounder.

  • ravi_hari on October 1, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    Watson is a treasure and should be preserved. However, he is strongly built and has been successful at the top. I think like he did with his bowling turning to Victor, he should trun to Kallis for his role as an allrounder. Look how Kallis takes the load of batting and bowling in all formats for South Africa and his IPL side. He does not look tired and if gets injured is back very soon. His performance has always been very consistant with both bat and ball. What Watson should instead do is to develop his skills against the moving ball - whether it is pace or spin. He commits himself to striking the ball hard and that is his nemesis many-a-time. He needs to be a little patient. Opening the batting and bowling 20 overs in an innings have no relation. Alec Stewart used to keep wickets for 2 days and come back and open the innings. Gilli did it in ODIs. I think Watson was expected to explode in Sri lanka which he did not and that is giving him nightmares. Think again Watto. Hari Ravi