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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

Posted by pat_one_back on (January 27, 2013, 2:00 GMT)

Is Watto playing 'keep aways' with the selectors here? If you give me Ed's gig in India then I'll be bowling by the Ashes is what I'm reading between the lines. If he's thinking his best chance in India is facing the hard ball (not likely to be seamers opening BTW Watto) he's on the mark though I guess. If ever there was a batsmen that needed new ball boundaries to get going (and then quickly get bogged the moment the ball stops coming on)... Would love to see Moises come-on, this maybe Ed' only chance to keep his place since Aust can't seriously go to Eng with Hussey/Quiney-esque change bowling.

Posted by Dashgar on (January 27, 2013, 1:49 GMT)

@Eightfa, Lyon has 60 wickets in 19 tests. Why are you looking at his FC average instead of his test average for test selection unless you're trying to run a vendetta against him. Lyon has to play in India, he's the best spinner Australia have. If O'Keefe plays it is as a second spinner who can bat a bit. I wouldn't mind O'Keefe in the squad but Lyon must play.

Posted by Dashgar on (January 27, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

I thought we had 2 openers. Does he not want the spot occupied by Warner?

Posted by Buckers410 on (January 27, 2013, 1:16 GMT)

I don't think that Khwaja gets a test run yet. He has scored runs but there are players doing better than him, and he has only scored one century this season in the shield. It looks as though Burns, S Smith, Rodgers, Hughes, Doolan even Cosgrove are doing bettre than him. Henriqeus even. Moises is playing really well and I think he deserves at least a squad place. My team for India would be; 1.Watson 2.Warner 3.Hughes 4.Clarke (c) 5.Smith 6.Wade (wk) 7.Henriques 8.O'Keefe 9.Siddle 10.Lyon 11.Bird. The rest of the squad would be Khawaja, Pattinson, Zampa, Starc, Maxwell. Joe Burns would get picked if Watson was to be ommitted.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 27, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

I think by the time its ashes you will see that Watto is opening and bowlng a few overs and Khawaja will be at 4 or 6 depending on how Cowan goes in India. Khawaja will be 4 if Cowan fails and 6 if Cowan does well.

Posted by Massz on (January 27, 2013, 0:09 GMT)

I have always believed that shane Watson could be a good quality test batsmen once he got an extended run without injuries. Hopefully by stopping bowling he will become less injured and begin to bat like his potential says he can!

My team for India would be: Warner, Watson, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Henriques, Pattinson, Siddle, Starc/Bird and Lyon.

Most people think that in India it is a must to play with at least two spinners but i think Australia must go with their strength which is their pace bowling. Australia's spin stocks are non existent so playing two below test grade spinners would be more of a risk than playing 3 seamers. Cheers Massz

Posted by crh8971 on (January 26, 2013, 22:18 GMT)

Watson has averaged well under 30 with the bat over two years in test cricket so for me it is very simple, if he can't bowl he doesn't get picked. Steve O'Keefe can not and never will be able to bat at number 6 in test cricket. Having said that his batting should be treated as a bonus and he should get picked for India on the basis of his bowling alone. Given what we know about India and the pitches that they will prepare Australia must pick the best two spinners available which would be Lyon and O'Keefe. I would also like to see a specialist spin coach appointed to help them for the series. Either someone like Ashley Mallet or a specialist from the sub-continent. If we still want to have three quick bowlers then we really need an all round replacement for Watson and based on his performances this year Henriques deserves that chance. Therefore my eleven for India would be; Warner, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Kawahja, Henriques, Wade, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon.

Posted by bemUSed2 on (January 26, 2013, 21:20 GMT)

The team that I would take to India (but will never happen) is... Warner, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Henriques, Wade, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Siddle, Bird. I would also take Haddin, Johnson, Starc, Doolan and Zampa to make up the rest of the squad... Henriques averages over 70 with the bat and 18 with the ball this year, so surely deserves a shot at the all-rounder position, Doolan is averaging over 50 and Zampa took 5 wickets at 9.75 in his only game this year... a little better than Lyon's 7 @ 43 against Sri Lanka and 7 @ 71 in shield cricket this season

Posted by Chris_P on (January 26, 2013, 21:11 GMT)

Looks like rain will finish the shield match, so Moisese's absence won't be a factor. Here's hoping he improves & continues his shield form.

Posted by bemUSed2 on (January 26, 2013, 21:06 GMT)

As a neutral observer, the Australian team has a lot of issues that need to be sorted out and I can't see that happening any time soon... The obvious one is a top class spinner as Lyon is an honest trier but has not been in good form for a long time... Watson appears very selfish and I'm not sure if he is the sort of guy you want around a team despite his talent... Khawaja looks good but it's interesting that his average this season is only just better than Callum Ferguson's and Ben Cutting's... Wade is inconsistent and Haddin is too old, Johnson, Starc and Warner are matchwinners on their day but can cost their team badly when they are not... and Cowan is simply not a Test standard batsman...

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 26, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

Squad I expect oz 2 go with in ind, cowan,warner,Hughes,Watson,Clarke,khawlja,Maxwell, wade, haddin,siddle,pattinson,bird,johnson,starc,Lyon,beer

Posted by Thefakebook on (January 26, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

Steve O'Keefe can bat @6 if required I mean look at Dan Vittori heis the best batsman and spinner of kiwis in past 2 years!I meant if want O'Kiffe to end up like Bryce McGain then do it @ your owm risk Inverity!

Posted by Beertjie on (January 26, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

I had hoped Watto might have given us maximum 10 overs an innings but but judging from this it seems to be ruled out for India. That means a 5/1/5 selection is inevitable. I like you team mate @Hippiantor on (January 26 2013, 13:06 PM GMT) especially O'Keefe as a kind of all rounder. Since Haddin is going it might be better to see how he keeps to the two spinners. His batting at 6 may be needed in spin-friendly conditions. Rogers would then be a good pick as an extra batsman in case Watto broke down again (lol).

Posted by Bloody_Hell on (January 26, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

@ Matthew_Rogers - I actually think Watson could be an excellent test batsmen - and maybe having the all round responsibility removed is the catalyst required.

You can't tell me someone so dominate with the bat in one day and T20 will be useless at Test Level.

He needs to bat in tests like he does in one dayers...strike a bit of fear into opposition bowlers.

Posted by Bloody_Hell on (January 26, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

@Eightfa - I was going to say his test average is under 30...but after a quick look it isn't anymore...by some margin.

Again I say to the selectors - WHAT ABOUT SOK????

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 26, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

@Hippinator yes i like your team. 1. Watson 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Khawaja 6. Wade 7. O'Keefe 8. Pattinson 9. Starc/Johnson/ Bird 10. Siddle 11. Lyon. Khawaja desrves to come in at 6 and as for the spinner it will be either O Keefe or Doherty. Doherty is bowling well in the shorter format which will work in his advantage though i am a firm believe that both for batting and bowling you shouldn't use form in the shorter formats to reflect test form.

Posted by Hippiantor on (January 26, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

If Watto isn't bowling on the India tour he should open. Not excuse on poor conversion due to worrying about bowling workload. This allows O'Keefe to play as the allrounder too. I can't see Cowan being successful in India ( England different scenario) so my team would be 1. Watson 2. Warner 3. Hughes 4. Clarke 5. Khawaja 6. Wade 7. O'Keefe 8. Pattinson 9. Starc/Johnson/ Bird 10. Siddle 11. Lyon. O'Keefe bowling is good enough for a front line spinner, and I believe he as the potential to average around 30 with the bat.

Posted by Eightfa on (January 26, 2013, 12:28 GMT)

Lyons FC average is how do I say average 38 okeefe is 27

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (January 26, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

@Bloody Hell yes i have no doubt O Keefe will do well in India and would be my pick too but i think given Bailey talked up Doherty's chances it might not be as simple as that. Though for Bailey i would focus more on cementing his own spot rather then talk up other players. For the ODI's i would get either Khawaja or Faulkner in for Moses. If we want to strengthen our batting then Khawaja makes sense. For Faulkner i would drop Maxwell as Faulkner is a better allrounder.@MatthewRogers some very good points mate.

Posted by Bloody_Hell on (January 26, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

@brendon_edward - be suprised if there aren't 2 spinners for India...and what does S.O'Keefe have to do??? Did he insult Clarke in some way??? Taken 8 wickets against WA with 2 more still possible , averaging under 30 (FC) - the only spinner besides Lyon to do so in Oz...and handy with the bat. Apparently Australia has leadership issues...well this guy captains NSW. The left and right arm spinners to compliment each other.Love to hear the selector speak about him.

For India I'd like to see: Warner, Hughes, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, Wade, Johnson, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon

Won't happen, but I think the teams to tour India and England will be different.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 26, 2013, 11:06 GMT)

We need Watto bowling otherwise i am not sure he can hold his spot in the team. Watson at the top of the order looks better to me than Ed Cowan and may be just the right move to balance the team and add solidarity at the top of the order though i am a fan of Cowan as well and he can prove everyone wrong with a big showing in India .Khawaja is a man in waiting. He has been biding his time and has demonstrated good form in both the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League. He's the next man in line and deserves his place now. Four Tests in India may be an excellent way for Khawaja to slot into the side. If Khawaja gets the chance, his technique and knack for scoring in testing conditions will place him in fantastic stead to succeed for not only India but the ashes. Peter Siddle and James Pattinson are unquestionably among the top fast bowlers in the world. They will likely lead the Australian attack and both have been in fantastic form of late. We are lucky to have Clarke leading us.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (January 26, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

Cowan must be nevrous and will have to prove his worth in India otherwise Watto will get the opening slot. However for India i see the top X1 as follows: Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Wade, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon

Posted by bobagorof on (January 26, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

So is Watson a non-bowling batsman now, or is he an all-rounder aiming to bowl in the Ashes? Each article I read is different from the last. Can't be good for his recovery if he doesn't even know what he's trying to accomplish!

Posted by cccrider on (January 26, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

OK, Watto, score back to back tons in Shield cricket and a five for in bowling and then we'll call you.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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Daniel BrettigClose
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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