Australia news December 8, 2012

New No.4 Watson wants more bowling

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Watson hopes his move to No.4 in the Test batting order will allow him to take on a greater bowling workload. At the WACA last week, in his first match back from a calf injury, Watson sent down nine overs in each innings, and while there was no set limit on the amount he was able to bowl, Watson said he felt the captain Michael Clarke had held him back.

"Mickey Arthur talked to me at the end of the last Test to say the way it was looking, they were going to move me down to four," Watson told reporters on Friday. "It's taken me a few days to get my head around that, but it means I can bowl a few more overs.

"In the last Test match, I know Michael in the second innings was a bit hesitant to bowl me a few times towards the latter part of their innings, just to give me the chance to be as fresh as I could going into bat. The ultimate is to be able to contribute with both bat and ball throughout the whole Test match and not be held back. Batting at four will give me that extra time to freshen up."

Watson will move down the order for Australia's first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart to accommodate Phillip Hughes at No.3 in what will be one of at least two changes to Australia's side. The selectors must also decide on the make-up of the attack, with Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus having sat out of the Perth match due to niggles after their heavy workload in the previous game in Adelaide.

John Hastings, who played in Perth, won't be part of the side in Hobart but both Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson will be fighting to retain their positions. Clarke said the Australians were yet to decide on what attack would work at Bellerive Oval.

"When somebody doesn't play in a match, it gives someone else an opportunity and that's what has happened," Clarke said of Siddle and Hilfenhaus. "Now we've got to work out what's our best XI."

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  • Andrew on December 10, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    @pom_don on (December 09 2012, 11:57 AM GMT) - oh dear, an English fan wanting to write off Sri Lanka as a "minnow". Well at least Sri Lanka does not have any foreign born cricketers in their side! LOL! Head to head over the last home & away, over 5 tests its 2-1 England, not real impressive against a minnow. It gets worse! Since the 20th centuryrolled around - Sri Lanka & England have played 20 Tests & Englands great record is 7-5 versus Sri Lanka? (BTW - Oz 7-0 in 10 tests in the same period). Nice try! Until England can field a side with 11-English born & bred players, I'll worry about where England is ranked.

  • Graham on December 10, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Sorry Popcorn - Mitchell Starc was only ok at the WACA when SOuth Africa got away from us he went at around 8 runs an over. I cant see how anyone can label this outstanding. he got the last 4 wickets when South africa had no value on there wickets. Johnson clearly outbowled him and Starc should be 12th man in Perth.

  • Lou on December 10, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Watto is always angsting about something or another, he must drive his teammates nuts. Just watch, if he makes even a half-decent score in the next match, he'll be coming out with the 'oh, perhaps I shouldn't bowl too much.' I think he's saying he should bowl more as he's well aware he's close to being dropped on batting form alone. For the past 2 years, he's averaged in the the 20s.

  • Michael on December 10, 2012, 2:28 GMT

    What is going on with the Aussie selectors. Watson is unfit - watching him against SA was embarrassing - he was obese and slow in the field. And 9 overs in each innings proved he is not fit. Wade - cannot keep. He cost us the 2nd test with his poor keeping and getting out the way he did on 68 in the 3rd test shows he is not a good enough batsmen to compensate for his keeping. Cowan is uncordinated in the field Warner is hit and miss. Lyon has no variation, and Johnson and Starc led an attack that allowed SA to 5-538. And I don't even want to comment on Hastings and Quinney - I have no idea where they found them. And now they look to Hughes. Is state cricket really that poor that this is the best we can do. Moving Clarke and Hussey in the batting order would be a mistake, they are the only two shining lights this year - so leave them as they are, don't rsik ruinging that. If Watson cannot deal with 4, drop him.

  • michael on December 10, 2012, 2:20 GMT

    The top 4 of a great team should be the big scorers who're in the habit of hitting the 150s+ that a team can hinge a big total around.That's why we were so strong when Punter etc were in their prime.Clarke is now our big 100 scorer & must bat in the top 4.He has been able to score the 100s at 5 recently because of Huss's form at 6.Keep Huss at 6 until he fades (which will be soon).Clarke to move up to 4 - and towards being remembered as a true great!Watto is not a big 100 scorer at test level - this has been shown.Bat him at 5 where a score of 50 (or maybe just reaching a 100)is either a great support act during a big total or a good rescue mission during an upper order batting collapse.Then let him bowl more & be a true allrounder.He adds balance & options to our bowling attack & is our best utiliser of reverse swing at the 40 over mark. After Huss retires, use no.6 to blood new batting talent.This was how Border,Ponting,the Waughs,Clarke,Martyn,Harvey & many others first started.

  • Andrew on December 10, 2012, 1:03 GMT

    @ Busie1979 on (December 09 2012, 02:34 AM GMT) - you are right IF we look at historical averages, Watto's stats are comparable with & better than some great allrounders. However averages do not always tell the full story particularly with bowling. At one point after his last wicket, I think Warner had a batting ave of around 45 & bowling ave of 30, yet no-one would really describe his leggies as being anything more than useful part time. The problem with Watto is in his wickets per match ratio, it is about 1.7, which IMO is nowhere near good enough to be classified as a genuine 5th option. He averages 17 overs a match, (of good bowling), but the quantity is really only an advantage, if he was averaging 45+ (which I think he is good enuff to do). I consider Watto about 40% of a specialist test bowler at the moment, (100% in ODIs), & with his overall batting ave in the mid 30s, barely 75% of a Test batsmen. I would EXPECT this to change after the SL series - if NOT, he has to go!

  • Michael on December 10, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    I am totally over this 'Clarke should bat at 3/4' tripe. Steve Waugh batted at 5 for most of his career, including when he was Captain. Allan Border also batted in the middle order as Captain. Clarke has been most successful at 5. That's what's best for the team.

  • Don on December 9, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    @RandyOZ, I am enjoying watching the 'minnows' it's really rather good.....what is the match up for Aus v SL then do I refer to it as the 'mini minnows' seeing how Aus is ranked below England & SL below India or are they top of a lower division?

  • Mariam on December 9, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    @skhh agree with you mate, Khawaja should have been a must allowing Watson to stay at 3 if required as he is a better player of fast bowling. Khawaja has to be the standout choice at numer 3. Personally i would keep watto in the top 3 and Khawaja at 4 if required. If you look at the games Khawaja has played compared to Hughes there will be a marked difference in runs scored of the teams in those matches. Khawaja has played on at least 4 green tops this year including a game where he scored 1 and a half times the entire opposition in one inngs, whereas Adelaide is the best place to bat in the country. English fans will be hoping we don't pick Khawaja as he is one of the few youngsters who can handle the moving ball in England.

  • chris on December 9, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    Not sure about the top 3 looks average at the moment, but i would have clarke at4 hus at 5 wato at 6, then stark, sidle, hilf, lyon for hobart

    but when all fit, stark, cummins, Paterson will be a great bowling attack for aus in the future, also j bird

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