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January 26, 2013
Shane Watson has declared himself ready to tour India as a non-bowling batsman after a single innings of 30 in Sydney grade cricket, but Moises Henriques' immediate international prospects have clouded over due to a badly infected right index finger.
It was a contrasting tale for the two New South Wales cricketers on Sunday, Watson returning to the game following a calf strain and facing 50 balls for Sutherland against Campbelltown-Camden while Henriques was invalided out of the Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia at Blacktown Oval.
If his innings was insubstantial, the sight of Watson merely playing the game will be a help to the national selectors as they sit down to finalise the squad for the subcontinent. While Watson will not play a first-class fixture before the squad is named, making do with a domestic limited-overs match for the Blues against Western Australia on Wednesday, he has continued to covet the opening spot currently occupied by Ed Cowan.
"The opportunity to be able to take the first ball and take on the quicks with the new ball is something I do absolutely love," Watson said, reiterating his desire to open. "A few balls were seaming around a bit [on Saturday] ... which hopefully I'm going to have to get used to opening the batting in some form of games anyway.
"Hopefully I can get back in the team as soon as I can. In a perfect world I do play in India as a batsman with an eye on slowly building up bowling to hopefully bowl some overs throughout the Ashes. But the world isn't always perfect so we'll see how we go."
Less encouraging was the news that Henriques' finger was in such a bad way that he had to leave the Blues' Shield match to have surgery on his finger, which had grown increasingly swollen and painful. Watson's inability to bowl in India has opened the field for all-round options, with Henriques impressing recently during his ODI appearances for Australia against Sri Lanka, and making 71 at Blacktown.
However his place in the ODI team to face the West Indies is now open to question, depending on his recovery from the finger problem, which is expected to stop him from playing or training for at least a week. The finger trouble was aggravated during his Shield innings by a couple of precisely-directed balls from Nathan Coulter-Nile, which struck Henriques on the gloves.
"Due to concern over increasing swelling and infection Moises was reviewed by a Sydney hand specialist this afternoon and has undergone a minor surgical procedure," New South Wales team physiotherapist Murray Ryan said. "Moises will be unable to play or train for at least one week. His availability for state and international cricket will be determined as the injury heals."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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