January 25, 2003

Injured Watson ruled out of World Cup

MELBOURNE, Jan 25 AAP - Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has been ruled out of the World Cup because of stress fractures in his back.

Watson was assessed by team medical staff today, who diagnosed a stress fracture in his lower back.

He will be replaced by Victorian all-rounder Ian Harvey.

And in a further setback for Australia's World Cup hopes, batsman Michael Bevan has injured his leg while batting in today's second tri-series final at the MCG.

Bevan collapsed in agony after completing a run and was stretchered from the field with a suspected hamstring or groin tear.

Bevan's injury is still being assessed by Australian team medical staff.

Tasmanian all-rounder Watson was being treated for back soreness before the stress fracture was discovered today.

Watson said he was disappointed, frustrated and angry at the timing of the injury and missing the World Cup in South Africa next month.

"Prior to today, I still had hopes of playing in the second series final and now it seems my World Cup dreams are dashed," he said.

"I can't really sum up how I'm feeling at the moment.

"One minute it's disappointment, the next it's frustration, maybe even some anger at having being denied this chance.

"But I'm realistic enough to know that as an all-rounder, I can't afford to jeopardise my ability to bowl so it's important I get myself right over time."

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