West Indies in Australia, 2012-13

Watson to make ODI return

Daniel Brettig

February 4, 2013

Comments: 37 | Text size: A | A

Western Australia celebrate the wicket of Shane Watson, New South Wales v Western Australia, Ryobi Cup, Sydney, January 30, 2013
Shane Watson's first three innings as a batsman have not been promising © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ashton Agar | Shane Watson
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India

Shane Watson will try to regain his batting touch at international level after he was recalled to Australia's ODI team against the West Indies.

Recalled in place of Usman Khawaja, Watson is set to take part in the remainder of the series before departing for India as part of the last of three groups of Test players to journey to the subcontinent.

Since returning to the game as a non-bowling batsman following a calf injury, Watson has managed scores of 30 and a duck for Sutherland in Sydney grade cricket, while he also made a scratchy six for New South Wales against Western Australia in a domestic limited overs match at the SCG.

He will now be afforded the chance to bat in the third ODI on the exceedingly friendly Manuka Oval pitch, which gave up almost 650 runs when the West Indians played the Prime Minister's XI in their opening tour fixture last week.

In naming the squad for the ODIS, the national selectors also outlined how the India squad will depart, with Watson, the captain Michael Clarke, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc, Phillip Hughes and Mitchell Johnson to miss the opening warm-up game in Chennai in order to take part in the remainder of the West Indies matches.

David Warner, Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell will fly out to India on February 9, in time to take part in the first tour match, joining the advance party of Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith, who are all slated to leave on February 7.

The 19-year-old West Australian spin bowler Ashton Agar was also included in a development capacity, after a trio of striking domestic displays since his debut for the Warriors against New South Wales at Blacktown Oval.

"[Agar] will be in India for the period 9-16 February and will play in the first warm-up fixture," the national selector John Inverarity said. "He will provide ideal practice for the batsmen in the lead-up to that first Test in Chennai.

"Last year we took Mitchell Starc to the West Indies to further his development and this is a similar opportunity for Ashton."

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

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Posted by Baundele on (February 4, 2013, 13:10 GMT)

I misread Agar as Agarkar, and it seemed like a news. :)

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 4, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

@DylanBrah Khawaja got 70 in a record 300 chase against the South Africans in his 4th test match, i am predicting he will be one of our better batsman in India, watch out for him. Fantastic to see Clarke get the AB medal, well deserved.

Posted by smudgeon on (February 4, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

You know what? I was going to write a comment in response to Joseph Langford's comment, then I got so TIRED. Someone wake me for the first session, please?

Posted by Muzgrob on (February 4, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

Good to see them taking Agar over for a developmental role. I watched him bowl at Blacktown and he looked quite impressive. It's to bad they're not taking O'keefe over for the same thing. Not quite sold on Watson in the squad as a pure batsmen, as an all-rounder he's essential to the squad... But without his bowling he just becomes dead weight. Hopefully he proves me wrong though.

Posted by anuajm on (February 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Agar is only going to be a net bowler and for his own development which is a good move by Australia. SOK needs to be compared with Doherty and Lyon and i think he is surely unlucky to miss. I think Australia have missed a trick or two here. Maxwell, Moises and Smith will not be taking any significant wickets on the tour and their batting does not inspire confidence specially in the slow wickets of India. They will be used to give breaks to the main bowlers which could have been done by Clarke and Warner too. Selectors should have selected at least one proper batsman and Bailey would have been the ideal candidate.I still think it will be a close series ending in 2-1 in India's favor purely because of lack of good spin bowlers in Australian ranks.

Posted by greatshinwari on (February 4, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

shaun marsh should replace finch...he recntly scored 155 notout aginest the blues...finch failed in 6 international games ...marsh also played gud innings aginest srilanka in second t20....usman khwaja shouldn't be dropped from the squad bkz he is part of team touring india...

Posted by DylanBrah on (February 4, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

It's a privilege to play for Australia, and he (Khawaja) needs to cash in when he get's a chance. So far he has had 6 tests and 3 ODI's. Thats 14 innings, and quite frankly he has shown us nothing.

Posted by PFEL on (February 4, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Another ridiculous selection. No way does Watson deserve this re-selection. What happened to him having to prove his form in Shield cricket?

Posted by   on (February 4, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

WHAT HAS O'KEEFE DONE???

John Inverarity said. "He will provide ideal practice for the batsmen in the lead-up to that first Test in Chennai." HA,HA,HA,HA!!!

My Post (January 31 2013, 05:59 AM GMT) http://www.espncricinfo.com/india-v-australia-2013/content/story/602848.html?comments=all#usrcomment

"But if you are down 1-0 on spinning wickets and Lyon is bagging a few, O'Keefe is your best option. The other BIG PLUS about taking O'Keefe is that he will be able to bowl to your batsmen in the nets between tests."

Looks like Johnny is looking to the public for selection ideas.

So you are taking Smith, Doherty, Maxwell and now Agar to provide quality spinning practice in the nets instead of a quality spinner like O'Keefe. Save some money, drop the other four and just take O'Keefe!!!

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (February 4, 2013, 6:26 GMT)

Khawaja seems to only get one innings each time he is brought back. Yet Finch has had several opportunities this summer and failed. Not saying we should make a move on either, just that Khawaja never seems to get a proper chance. I know Khawaja hasn't been dropped and is being send to India early but i would have like to see him get some innings outside the bowling paradise of WACA and then send with the next batch of players on Saturday. And really If you bring in anyone it should be Pomersbach- not Watson who seems to break down every time there is a light breeze. Hope this makes the young man more hungry for India where he can be a star for us.

Posted by Meety on (February 4, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

Just on Agar, in the space of 4 balls, he nearly had Pomersbach got at slip, gets Moller at Point, dot ball, then nearly gets a caught & bowled. So it's not like he is a complete hack.

Posted by DylanBrah on (February 4, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

Agar is going for developmental purposes only... why is this so hard for some of you to understand? Agar won't get a game for WA when Beer returns so it makes complete sense for a young bloke who has performed relatively well to travel with the national team for development.... happens all the time.

Posted by HansonKoch on (February 4, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

Khawaja needs to score more centuries. Take a leaf out of Hughes' book.

Posted by mike.iz on (February 4, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

Watson back in the squad is good new for Australia. He needs to get some runs against WI and get his batting confidence up.Think we are going to see more controlled aggression now since his going to start the new phase of his career being a batman who bowls.His batting form is vital now that Aus have lost some experienced batsman. The Khawaja Vs Finch debate I would go for Finch in the shorter forms because he seems the complete package for ODI's and T20 but anyway he is keeping the place form for Warner.Khawaja though MUST be 1st pick for the tests seems a class batsman could possibly be the next Amla. Ashton Agar is taken for experience & practice vs left are spin since half the squad including Doherty is back in Australia.In ending the scheduling seems a bit of a shocker here...

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (February 4, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

@Shaggy076 i agree with you mate, Khawaja was earmarked for the test tour regardless of how he went yesterday and that should be the priority for him as he will be an important test player for us in India.

Posted by Thefakebook on (February 4, 2013, 5:44 GMT)

You are kidding me Agar who's played 1 game over O'keeffe

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 4, 2013, 5:30 GMT)

Good decsion to bring Watto in and send Khawaja to India, Khawaja will be key for us in India.

Posted by Apocalypse_EX on (February 4, 2013, 5:27 GMT)

Whats the fuss about? Agar has been chosen as a net bowler not as a serious option to play. He'll stay till feb 16 play a warm up game just as an expierence and he'll be gone.

Posted by Moppa on (February 4, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

Guys, a lot of comments here are jumping at shadows: if you count the number of players leaving on 7 Feb and 9 Feb, it adds up to 11. For those of you who follow cricket, you'll realise that that is *just* a team's worth. You might also notice that the remaining six of the 17 man squad will miss the first warm-up fixture, and that Doherty is in that six. So clearly Agar is backing Doherty up until the rest of the squad arrives and making sure we have 11 players for the fixture. This is probably on the logic that he won't play Shield cricket in the intervening period, *not* a statement that he is somehow superior to O'Keefe or in line for a baggy green. Similarly, you could say Khawaja has been dropped, or that he has been prioritised for a Test recall by an early trip to India. I agree with @BigBoodah that he's a bit unlucky, but I wouldn't read too much into it. @Meety agreed, Watto should play the Shield game, not ODIs.

Posted by Meety on (February 4, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

@landl47 on (February 04 2013, 01:33 AM GMT) - seems like you were one of the only commenters capable of reading the article in relation to Agar. It was a good idea to take him, the whole squad arrives in 3 stages, with the last arrivals, being too late for the tour match. It made sense to bring along a bloke who should be years away from a Baggy Green to have a trundle in the FC match & in the nets. WA should be getting Beer back sson & he would be first choice spinner & so Agar would possibly surplus to needs for WA. The upside being fantastic experience overseas for a talented but very raw spinner. The Oz batsmen can use him without detracting from the Shield - one of those win/win situations, the fact SO'K didn't get selected is another completely regretable matter!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 4, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

To the Khawaja fans - Calm down, they have picked a squad for 2 one-day games of which he will be flying to India before the second game and getting ready to fly whilst the next game is on. THey have determined his best chance to get a test spot is to go to India with the first fleet. Besides, in one-day cricket he was only warming the spot of Warner or Watson until one of them were deemed fit. As for Agar, they have seen a window where WA have no cricket, NSW have a shield game and two ford ranger cup games - to take Agar along fill in in the first warm-up game whilst other players make there way their and be a net bowler. He is not in the squad so dont take it as an Okeefe vs Agar thing.

Posted by Meety on (February 4, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

@ bobagorof on (February 04 2013, 01:47 AM GMT) - when you put it like that! @bobagorof on (February 04 2013, 01:54 AM GMT) - re: Khawaja - he shouldn't even be in the ODI side (IMO). Not for form reasons, he should be in Brisbane playing against WA in the Shield. @kempy21 on (February 04 2013, 01:57 AM GMT) - in fairness, I think they are taking Agar as a glorified net bowler. Upside being some development & experience. @ L.P.Grace on (February 04 2013, 02:53 AM GMT) - I think it is because India are unlikely to have any frontline leggies for the series, so that's why they took Agar. @c3vzn on (February 04 2013, 03:04 AM GMT) - Khawaja was dropped on his way to 8. Compared to others in the not so distant past, Ussie has nothing to complain about. He should put his head down & bat.

Posted by dunger.bob on (February 4, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

Poor old Ussy can't take a trick, but then again he hasn't exactly shot the lights out with the opportunities he's had either. .. I think it's a good idea to get him back into long version mode and give him the best possible platform to take on India. Get him into the nets and on the paddock in as many 1st class games as possible between now and the first test in India. ... Watson's place in any Australian side is suddenly open to much more doubt now that he can't bowl. .. I've been saying ever since the announcement (him giving up bowling) that he has to up the ante with his batting significantly. To my way of thinking any batsman in the top 6 is expected to convert 50's into 100's occasionally. Watto is obviously a very good batsman but he has to give us a much better conversion rate to warrant a place in the Test side in particular. His record in ODI's is pretty good I'll admit, but his Test record is woeful in terms of the number of hundreds after getting to 50.

Posted by Patchmaster on (February 4, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

I love seeing AUS clutching at straws for spinners.....being an ENG fanm the years of Warnie making our lives a misery, are finally balancing up. A teenage spinner who had 'three great games' - awesome - KP, Cookie and theboys are gonna make you wish you stayed in high school son.....

Posted by wellrounded87 on (February 4, 2013, 3:50 GMT)

Such a bizarre tactic the NSP are using in their selection it's almost as if they're shielding young players from domestic cricket. Agar has played 3 games in domestic cricket, done nothing special and gets a call up into the national squad. Meanwhile guys like Steve O'Keefe are excelling in the domestic league and don't even get a second look.

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (February 4, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

What on Earth doe Steve O'Keefe have to do to get a game for Austraklia? Leading spinner in the Sheffield Shield, took more wickets in the first class fixture WA v NSW than the new kid they picked (Agar) and almost top-scored? If I were him...I'd be looking to move countries, because obviously the Australian selectors hate him!

Posted by c3vzn on (February 4, 2013, 3:04 GMT)

When are the selectors going to learn how to treat Khawaja properly? Gets 3 run out, dropped, barely gets an innings of 8 N.O and then caught by a screamer for 3. No momentum, no persistence, they want him to fail.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (February 4, 2013, 3:01 GMT)

Khawaja is probably best nurtured as a test player, not as an ODI player. Still, I guess he's unlucky, given that Finch hasn't scored anything in 5 shots. He must be on his last chance - or two. I'd like to think he's too good to miss out for long, but if you don't perform, then there's no choice but to replace you with someone who can.

Posted by meursault on (February 4, 2013, 3:01 GMT)

Who would have though that more short-form style players like Henriques and Smith would be adjudged not good enough for the one-day squad, yet travelling to India with our test specialists to prepare for a test tour. Shows where we're at with our test stocks and selectors these days.

I don't know why they didn't at least send one of the two left-arm quicks over early, but with Starc's form, it looks like Siddle, Pattinson and Bird will be in a bowl-off for two spots. By leaving Maxwell and Doherty here, it is also looking like they will only play the one spinner in the first game and get the preferable 6 batsmen, 1 WK, 3 quicks and Lyon formation I was hoping for in the first test in Chennai where it seems more of a batting pitch than a low, slow turner. Would like to see Clarke turn the arm over a bit in the next 3 ODIs though.

Posted by L.P.Grace on (February 4, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

Why Agar? Cameron Boyce is so much more promising, I would even have selected Adam Zampa before Agar.

Inverarity needs to be sacked. So many stupid selection decisions; K.Richardson playing an ODI, M.Henriques going on a test tou etc. Not to mention the hypocrisy of dropping D.Hussey in order to "look to the future" (despite the lack of quality young batsmen in the country) while at the same time continuing to select Mitch Johnson ahead of Cutting, McDermott, Coulter-Nile, Faulkner and other talented young quicks.

Posted by kempy21 on (February 4, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

Selectors really don't like Steve O'Keefe do they? Great thing for Agar to get, a free trip to India based on 3 performances, but really what does it serve other than to highlight to SOK that he's not in their plans at all. I wonder if there will be any "non-squad selections" for England?

Posted by bobagorof on (February 4, 2013, 1:54 GMT)

How unfortunate for Khawaja - plays in 2 matches on a WACA pitch that is quite helpful early on, scoring 8* and 3, and gets dropped for the next match on a belter in favour of a batsman who is out of form. Khawaja is also leaving for India the day after the game, whereas Watson will play out the rest of the series. Wouldn't it make more sense to bring Watson in as a replacement for Khawaja once he flies out?

Posted by bobagorof on (February 4, 2013, 1:47 GMT)

*snort* "Ashton Agar was also included in a development capacity, after a trio of striking domestic displays since his debut for the Warriors against New South Wales at Blacktown Oval" - a match in which the best spinner in the country got 8 wickets. O'Keefe must have really offended someone high up in CA, to be so blatantly overlooked in favour of a guy who has played one First-Class game.

Posted by Meety on (February 4, 2013, 1:39 GMT)

Pretty DUMB in respect of Watto's selection. The NSW v Tassie game finishes on the 9th. One FULL day before the WIndies bilateral ODI series finishes. He should play the Shield match. I have sympathy for Watto in respect of his last year or so in Tests, his injuries have meant that he gets no continuity, but he should NOT of played the WACA Test v Sth Africa, he had no form. He currently has no form, & I doubt he will get it against WIndies in ODIs. Playing the game against Tassie would of been a good hit out. I would of continued playing Finch in his absence. == == == The selection of Agar is a good one, (for development purposes), although I am not sure whether he has been anymore successful than Zampa, but since India don't really have any leggies pushing for Test selection, it stacks up well.

Posted by MinusZero on (February 4, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

Khawaja just cant catch a break, dropped for Watson. The selectors need to realise sooner or later that their golden boy just doesnt have what it takes. Watson should retire from tests. He is a far better short form player anyway.

Posted by landl47 on (February 4, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

Watson definitely needs the competition, but whether ODIs against the WI on Australian itches will help him more than a warm-up game in India, I'm not sure.

Great idea to take young Agar along. Good experience for him and he'll help the batsmen with their preparation.

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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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