Australia news October 1, 2011

Watson could move down the order

ESPNcricinfo staff

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