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Watson makes comeback in grade cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 12, 2012

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Shane Watson bowls in the nets, Johannesburg, November 16, 2011
It has been a tough few months for Shane Watson © Getty Images
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Shane Watson hopes to be fully fit within a week after making an encouraging return to Sydney grade cricket on Saturday. But Watson remains uncertain whether he will be able to play in any of the Commonwealth Bank Series, insisting that he needs at least one Sheffield Shield game under his belt before he can be considered for national duties.

Watson has not played for Australia since the tour of South Africa in November, having been initially ruled out of the home Tests against New Zealand due to a hamstring tear. However, it is a calf injury picked up during his recovery that has caused him ongoing problems, and it was not until this weekend that he was able to play again, for his club side Sutherland.

He got through the match without any concerns and scored 30 from 27 deliveries and bowled six overs for figures of 0 for 17. Watson hopes to be available for New South Wales' next Sheffield Shield match, against Western Australia at the WACA, starting on Friday.

"It's been a very frustrating couple of months. It's something I love, doing so much, so I missed it a lot," Watson told AAP. "There's been a few false starts over the last month or so, so to be able to get through the game was the most important thing. I've been working pretty hard on my batting and making a few adjustments on my batting technique. In the end, I suppose I got more than I was hoping out of the day."

However, Watson knows setbacks can arrive at any time. While he might be able to return in the later stages of the tri-series against India and Sri Lanka, that remains dependent on how he recovers this week and how well he gets through the Shield game.

"If I'm able to get through a Shield game then and get some bowling into me in that Shield game, I feel like I will be ready to be able to play one-day cricket especially," he said. "But I'm not getting too far in front of myself. I know how important the next few days are to recover."

The day didn't go so well for Australia's struggling wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who was playing against Watson for Eastern Suburbs. Haddin didn't keep wicket - Peter Nevill was given that job - and scored 1 batting at No.3 before he was caught at cover off the legspin of Steven Smith.

And in Melbourne, the fast bowler James Pattinson made his comeback from a foot injury for his club side Dandenong, although as a batsman only. Victoria's captain Cameron White said Pattinson was bowling in the nets and could be in the mix for next weekend's Ryobi Cup game against South Australia, or failing that for Victoria's next Shield game, starting on March 1.

"Obviously not this Shield game but maybe the one after that," White said. "I'm not sure about the one-day game [on Saturday]. He's back bowling in the nets now, reloading after that foot injury. We'll make sure he gets enough work through it to get him right to play for Australia. I think once he's fit he'll be straight back in there."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 13, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

@Meety... You should read up on Watsons medical/body building history... Also look at his very long recovery times in the past... Personally I like Watson as a cricketer ( except when he is sledging after every ball he bowls) but think he is a bit of a drama queen when he sprains a little finger... Like many players he hasn't worked on his gluteal's enough - which leads to hamstring, hip & lower back problems... Still torn calfs can take a long time to recover from & probably lead from his hamstring injury - transfering weight to other parts of the body to compensate for a weakened zone... Don't blame the physio's - Watson is his own worse enemy...

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 13, 2012, 7:23 GMT)

@Blake Houston... Really should read up on cricket before commenting... Pattinson has always played Grade cricket up the order & has a number of centuries to his name... Why isn't he bowling?... Obviously building up his fitness levels before going into the 100% commitment require for pace bowling... It will happen, but it wont happen overnight - lol... Sorry for the old pun... :)

Posted by Meety on (February 12, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

@Behind_the_bowlers_arm - LOL! I think Pat Howard should review the Watto saga, as I think his recent injury has been totally mismanaged. I wonder how much is the Physio team's balme & how much is Watto's own self management????

Posted by   on (February 12, 2012, 23:03 GMT)

Pattinson started his cricketing career as an opening bat, so I'd say it's a part of his game he's proud of. Haddin should definitely be done.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (February 12, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

I class Pattinson as an all rounder having see him bat against India. If he is fit it wouldnt do him harm to get out in the field and have a hit. Good to see Watson back and hopefully he is over his problems and will play regularly ..... to be honest i'm not holding my breath. This hamstring/leg/calf injury has had the recovery period more associated with an amputation. He isnt Australia's first wooden legged Test cricketer now is he?

Posted by Vincent49 on (February 12, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

Yeah... I think Haddin is done. Its a real pitty national cricketers cant retire in opposed to being dropped.

Posted by   on (February 12, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

why would pattinson even bother playing a grade game if he cannot bowl and can only bat?? It is only giving him a chance for an injury!

Posted by Okakaboka on (February 12, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

See...even the local grade cricketers know Nevill is a better keeper than Haddin. I'd bet even the seconds keeper could be better! And picking Haddin as a batsman????......Mmmmmm???.... You would have to be desperate!

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