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Watson fit, Henriques infected

Daniel Brettig

January 26, 2013

Comments: 34 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson at Australia's training session, Adelaide, November 19, 2012
Shane Watson is confident he will be ready for the Test tour of India © Getty Images
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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 here

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Posted by Meety on (January 29, 2013, 0:33 GMT)

@Shaggy076 on (January 27 2013, 07:17 AM GMT) - I agree. Whilst Ussie has to get a crack, a Shield ave of 38 (regardless of the conditions), is not something that screams "pick me". His runs have been classy & I would say they were way tougher than Ferguson's, but then again as mentioned Cutting's ave is similar, & he outscored Ussie in a couple of innings. The class batsmen in the Shield this summer (IMO) in order have been 1. Hughes, 2 Ponting, 3. Haddin, 4. Henriques, 5. Doolan 6. Rogers, 7. Khawaja. With special mention to AB Mac who looked likely to give Hughes a run for his money. Ussie is on the plane to India, but I would like him to start cashing in on his starts. I couldn't believe somebody on this thread tried to put Khawaja & Steve Waugh in the same sentence, (a blike with a 50+ average over 160 odd tests!!!!!)

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 28, 2013, 10:16 GMT)

@hyclass and mattrogers i know who I want for the ashes and it's the guy who has scored on some very green tracks and that's Khawaja, and excellent summary of khawajas performance across all formats bud

Posted by hycIass on (January 28, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

Allan_stephens makes some good points. Khawaja has already forced the selectors' hands. His returns in cricket this summer have been remarkably consistent. Khawaja's 2012/13 domestic season has yielded 440 runs @ 40 in First-Class matches, 257 runs @ 51.4 in List-A matches, and 206 runs @ 42 in the BBL. And as Hyclass mentioned he has got his runs in some real tough conditions not on flat tracks which will be very important against the POMs. I also notice that those asking Khawaja to improve his fielding fail to mention that his fielding has been excellent this summer for the Bulls and ignores the run out he made in the ODI.One would hope that the selectors actually look at these things. I am a fan of Mcdonald but Watto has said he will bowl in the ashes so we wont' need Mcdonald but what we do need is a solid number 6 and that is Khawaja.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 28, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

Guys i have to go with Allan_stephens on this one. I know we are all in agreement with Khawaja taking Mike Hussey's spot so that's not what's in question. What's in question is when you start throwing averages in when what you should look at is where the players got their runs. You will agree that in the ashes we will have great bowling conditions so playing swing bowling will be a must. Well none better then Khawaja in that department. Khawja has 450 runs averaging 40 and Hughes had 500 runs. The standout for Khawaja has been where he has got his runs, 140 in Hobart on a green minefield where Tasmania got 90 and 130 and he got 140. And 90 on debut for the Bulls at the Gabba on a day 1 green track where the next best score was in the 20s. Lets reward shield performance and get Khawaja in.I am also a fan of Burns and would take him as the reserve batsman.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 27, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

bemUsed2 - I completely agree with your take. I would have Khawaja in next as he has been next in line for a while and as such he should replace M Hussey. However, his domestic cricket stats does not scream pick me like hughes does. He needs to be ready to take this opportunity or find himself back on the scrapheap. In years gone by he would never have been given the opportunity with his current stats so he needs to deliver on the promise that so many on here think he has. As for one-day cricket there is about 10 batsman better in this country and as such he should just concentrate on taking his opportunity at test level. His domestic level stats are good but nowhere near great.

Posted by Ducky610 on (January 27, 2013, 6:48 GMT)

I personally would give shane watson a crack, After the Cowans big hundred at the start of the summer I wouldnt have said so but he hasn't looked right since... Maybe a bit of competition would show cowan he has to be better or maybe Watson will bat the way he did the first time... As for Lyon being australias best spinner im not so sure... O'keefe has performed markedly better than Lyon this summer at state level in batsmans conditions (avg 34 to lyons 46 this summer).. I wouldnt boot Lyon for india but he'd be in trouble for the ashes I'd think.

Indea team for me: 1. Watson 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Khawaja 6. Wade 7. O'keefe 8. Pattinson/Johnson 9. Siddle 10. Lyon 11. Bird

(Starc, Cowan and Heneriques in the squad)

Posted by bemUSed2 on (January 27, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

@Alan... not sure that you do disagree with me considering I said that Khawaja looks good and I picked him in my team to play the first Test against India... I recognise is talent, I merely pointed out that his stats don't read all that well considering how many people are saying he is Australia's next big thing... I'm also not sure how you can say " His stats are among the top 3 in both shield and Ryobi" as he has scored 438 runs @ 39.81 with 1 century... Players with higher averages are Ponting, Macdonald, Henriques, Doolan, Haddin, Hughes, Wade, Krejza, Rogers and Dunk... Hughes, Rogers and Ferguson have all scored more runs... Ryobi Cup stats are meaningless as this discussion is about Test cricket, but even then he only has the 10th highest average and is third on the list of runs scored

Posted by hycIass on (January 27, 2013, 5:09 GMT)

In my opinion Henriques at 25 has a lot going for him and could well be a potential test player. He's smart, has reasonably good first class bowling averages, OK batting averages. I dont think he's ready for test cricket…maybe another year and improvement in his batting, which seems to be happening now, is needed..Steve Smith is not far behind him but if he is going to bowl he needs to improve markedly there. Has potential as a batsman though. Maxwell I think is about 2 years shy of test cricket. Got the potential but lacks the temperament yet. Needs to keep working on his batting and bowling which can too easily fall into the mediocre class at stages.These 3 will blossom but not yet. In term of batsman David Hussey may find it tough to make the Indian squad as he is averaging 14 in sheidl this season. Usman deserves the first crack and deservingly so as he is averaging above 40 in shield, ryobi and big bash. Hughes and Khawaja are our 2 best batsman right now.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 27, 2013, 4:14 GMT)

@bemused disagree with you mate, Khawaja is among the best batsman in the younger players coming through. His stats are among the top 3 in both shield and Ryobi and we need blokes with ticker similar to Steve Waugh, Ian Chappell and Clarke and Khawaja is the closes we have right now. My only concern with that is that the selectors will once again mess Khawaja around. Play Warner-Cowan-Hughes-Watson-Clarke-Wade-SOK for the first two tests and then bring Usman over for the third and fourth tests when Watson flies home to be a daddy.I would much rather see Warner-Cowan-Hughes-Khawaja-Clarke-Wade-SOK for the whole series.O'Keefe does appear to be bowling well in the shield. If he can get some runs as well the selectors may finally get over their collective love for Maxwell.

Posted by BenjiForsyth on (January 27, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

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

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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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