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Watson won't play before India squad chosen

Daniel Brettig

January 21, 2013

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson keeps his eyes on the ball, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 1st day, December 14, 2012
Shane Watson will take his first steps as a non-bowling batsman for NSW © AFP
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Australia's selectors will have their trust in Shane Watson tested by the revelation he will not play a match in his redefined role as a non-bowling batsman before the India Test touring squad is chosen.

Watson is in the latter stages of recovering from a calf strain that was aggravated during the Melbourne Test against Sri Lanka, and ESPNcricinfo understands that he is expected make his return to the game in a domestic limited-overs fixture for New South Wales on January 30.

The national selector John Inverarity has said that the squad for India is due to be announced before the end of this month, meaning Watson's inclusion in the touring party would have to be made on faith rather than form and fitness.

Watson trained in front of Inverarity and Andy Bichel in Sydney on Sunday and batted in the nets on Monday, but he was ruled out of Australia's Twenty20 matches against Sri Lanka and a Sheffield Shield match for the Blues against Western Australia, due to begin on Thursday.

"He had a good running work-out. Andy Bichel and I were there when he did his running drills . . . but he didn't bat," Inverarity said. "When we left it yesterday it was uncertain, but he'll certainly play before the end of this month."

This means that neither Watson nor the man he has effectively nominated to displace in the Test side, Ed Cowan, will play a first-class match before the announcement.

NSW's next Shield fixture is due to take place against Tasmania in Hobart from February 6-9.

Inverarity said that his panel would not be swayed by Watson's public airing of his preference to open the batting. "Not really, no. We'll consider all players on their merits, in a dispassionate way," Inverarity said.

"The captain always determines the batting order. We've had many discussions with Shane. One of the basic points is he's always willing to play and bat where he's asked to bat."

Another player of interest to the selectors is Moises Henriques, who is likely to be slotted into the NSW Shield team to play against WA even if his Australian duties with the ODI team in Hobart on Wednesday means he makes a delayed entry to the match.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (January 24, 2013, 1:16 GMT)

As much as I love to see Watto play Test Cricket, Maybe its time to re-think his prioritys? Australia Cricket needs him for up coming T20 and World Cup as a Opener and Go to Bowler, A a Cricketer he needs to start thinking about how much longer he wants to play, A Fit and inform Watson is Invaluable to Aussie Team

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (January 23, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

Keith Miller once asked the selectors to consider him as a batsman rather than an all rounder and as a result wasn't selected for a tour to Sth Africa. There is no doubt that as good as Miller was as a batsman he would have been even better if he hadn't been an opening bowler but the simple fact was that his greatest value to his team was as an all rounder and if he didn't fill that role the selectors preferred to look at other options. I firmly believe that also has to happen in this case. Watson has to prove he is worth being picked as a batsman alone rather than him simply announcing the fact and expecting to be selected. If that means he stays home from India and goes and plays County Cricket then so be it.

Posted by Simoc on (January 22, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

I can't see Watson getting picked. His injury record is second to everyone elses'. And though excellent when in batting form, he has nothing to go on. Mind you given our batting assets he is a better bet than Khawaja, Smith,Ferguson and probably Hughes. Since India doesn't try to hard to win tests, we should win and hand them the ODIs as a thank-you gesture.

Posted by goodhoot on (January 22, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Brad Hodge!He's put up he's available for the ashes tour.Please pick him,I want to see him humiliated one last time.Coulter-Nile showed how Hodge can't play a short rising ball,this is the reason he was dropped in the first place,but maybe the poms won't bowl there to cos he's 38

Posted by Sushrutdhakal on (January 22, 2013, 10:43 GMT)

If Watto cannot bowl then he might not be that useful in subcontinent condition. His aggressive batting style is not quite suited some indian turfs with slow and low bounce.

Posted by DylanBrah on (January 22, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

1. Rogers 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Khawaja 6. Wade 7. O'Keefe 8. Starc 9. Pattinson 10. Siddle 11. Lyon 12th. Bird

Watson only gets a look if he scores a couple of big hundreds in the shield.

Posted by takenaback on (January 22, 2013, 9:25 GMT)

popcorn I don't know whether you have heard the news but Shane Watson intends not to bowl any more so his clever medium pacers aren't going to be doing us any good. As far as I am concerned he is an all-rounder and was always an all-rounder. If he can't perform that role he shouldn't be in the side unless his batting becomes magnificent, which at the moment it isn't and doesn't deserve selection. I really get sick and tired of these professional sportsmen deciding that they can't perform a required task. Such as Clark not being able to bowl because of a bad back and Watson not being able to bowl because of a calf injury. You don't hear professional tennis players say they can't do the backhand any more and if they can't they are out of the game. Michael Clarke is going to be needed in India and has the potential for some success so to all the precious players you must be capable of performing the skills of the game, harden up.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 22, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

Simple solution, take Khawaja as's replacement and get Ferguson as backup, for spinners focus on Lyon and O'keefe.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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