Commonwealth Bank Series 2011-12 February 20, 2012

Watson required to fill Ponting void

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If Shane Watson requires any reminder of the responsibility now thrust upon him, he need only look at the name of the cricketer he has replaced in Australia's ODI squad: Ricky Ponting. It was difficult to escape the symbolism of Watson's recall at Ponting's expense, as the spiritual leader of the team was replaced by a man who must show himself worthy as a senior figure in the dressing room as well as an allrounder.

John Inverarity, the national selector, had spoken with Watson in Perth this week as the Australia vice-captain made his first-class return via the Sheffield Shield. While emphasising that Watson's performance with the bat, ball and in the field would be his primary duty, Inverarity also acknowledged the gulf Ponting would leave in the dressing room, and the team-building qualities Watson needed to demonstrate on his recall.

"I've had a good chat with him," Inverarity told ESPNcricinfo. "His role in the team is to play very good cricket, batting, bowling and fielding. There is a gap in that regard [leadership] with Ricky not being in the side, and a gap that needs to be filled, and the senior players need to step up for that.

"[Ponting's] batting has been outstanding, his fielding's been brilliant and his captaincy record is outstanding as well. His contribution in the dressing room has been a feature of his contribution to the team. When he goes all four of those aspects need to be covered."

The plan for Watson's return to the ODI team will evolve over the course of this week. He has stayed on in Perth following the Shield match for New South Wales, and will train there before he flies to Hobart on Wednesday to join the squad ahead of Friday's match against Sri Lanka. Inverarity said there was a chance that Watson's return would be held back until Sunday's match against India in Sydney.

"Shane is inching his way towards full fitness," Inverarity said. "There's a squad of 13 and Shane is vice-captain of that squad. He may or may not play in Hobart. He'll go to Hobart on Wednesday and he'll practice hard with the team and in fielding drills, and he'll be in the embrace of the team, and it may be considered that it's better to keep him there and practising with the team and he plays in Sydney rather than Hobart. That decision is yet to be made, but those two options are open.

"He's inching towards full fitness and it might be in Sydney on Sunday because there is more work to do. Shane feels good that he got through the [Shield] game, and I thought he was better in his third spell of four overs than he was in his first spell. I thought he looked a bit freer then. Practising today, tomorrow, and Thursday, I think that gives him a nice run in."

In moving from NSW back to Australia, Watson will leave a Blues dressing room that has grown increasingly unhappy across the season. A wide selection of players on the fringes of the national side has not helped to foster a united team, as demonstrated by the innings and 323-run hiding administered to the Blues by Western Australia. Inverarity watched the match, and was not impressed by what he saw from Australian cricket's most populous state.

"New South Wales' performance in recent weeks has been very disappointing, and they've got a large player population," Inverarity said. "The national selection panel looks forward to NSW, with the talent they've got in their squad, coming to the fore and performing well and the individual players performing well. We want to see all six states with the teams thriving and we want to see players knocking down the selection door. In NSW there's a lot of talent and we want to see them performing."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 23, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    @zenboomerang - nice drop in on another string, but the point I was making is that it was NOT unheard of to have an opener of Wattos record in Tests. None of the batsmen mentioned were failures, they were more a product of tougher times for openers as most were combatants against the WIndies pace battery. You mention that Stackpole was a good opener, yet Watto has a higher average, my stats referred to instance when the batsmen opened. So Watto is not 1 in 29, rather 22.5, assuming that "cherry-picking" can go both ways. Whether Watson is a good or poor opener is very much for debate an average of 43, puts him marginally below the likes of Mark taylor or Slater, or Greenidge & ahead of Atherton, Haynes, or Strauss - ALL of those players have been regarded as good or great openers. So I would say that "cherry picking" would be to bang on about a 100s per innings without considering a historically world class ave as an opener!

  • POSTED BY crikey on | February 22, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    You've been warned watto!

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    If Watson is fit, I'd like to see Watson/Wade open, with Warner, Clarke, M Huss, D Huss, Christian, Lee, Harris, Hilfenhaus, Doherty... Benching McKay, Forrest... Forrest can't replace Christian as it weakens the bowling attack - Watson still isn't up to ODI fitness which is physically more stressing than Test/4 Day cricket... It also breaks up the lefthanders with righties making the bowling a little more difficult... Can't see Hilfy being dropped for the last 3 games & finals... Time to put the foot down...

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    @mthw... Although I take jonesy2's comments with a big grain of salt - he is correct in regarding Watson as the best ODI player in the world in recent years... Where does Oz sit in the world rakings - No.1 for the last few years & much of that success has come from Watson's allrounder ability... He hasn't played ODI for a while but still ranks no.5 batting & no.40 bowling - Kallis is no.11 batting & no.51 bowling... Currently Watson in ranked no.2 as an allrounder & Kallis is no.5 ... I think you can work out who is the better ODI player :) ...

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    @Eight8... Agree that gregjones was a bit harsh - Watson when 100% fit has been 1 of the best ODI players in the world... With only 3 games before the finals, I would expect him to get runs or miss out... His first 12 Tests as an opener ave 47 while in the last 12 mths it is just 20... Definitely not a Test quality opener with 2 100's in 58 innings... By far his best attribute has been his bowling which makes him an allrounder at no. 6-7... Pattinson has an ave of 29 batting at no.9 & Siddle looking strong, so we now have a good late middle order/tail...

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    @Meety... Cherrypicking samples again & trying to skew it... lol... Except for Stackpole none of your picks are remembered as good openers & some as abject failures - are you saying that Watto is up there with some of our worse openers?... Your point?... Stackie got 4 more centuries than Watto in only 6 more innings - Stackie 1 in 10.6 innings... Watson 1 in 29... Your point?... Don't agree with gregjones comment about being the worst in history - though perhaps he was referring to recent history which should have been his point...

  • POSTED BY mthw on | February 21, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Haha @jonesy2... "the best allrounder on the planet for the past few years"... There is a guy from Sth Africa called Kallis if you hadn't heard, that I think has a geniune arguement to be called best all rounder ever... Much prefer him in my team... Watson would be a much better all rounder if he drops down to bat 4-6 in tests.. He doesn't need to be opening in any format, when aussies now have openers for both...

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | February 21, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Watson's inclusion will add insult to injury for CB series opponents who are (specially india) already struggling. His exclusion so far gave aussies to try a lot of bench strength and equation will be very interesting after his inclusion.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | February 21, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Gotta agree with Eight8. Watson has been our best one day cricketer for a while now. Besides, I was always under the impression that at as soon as he proved his fitness he was back in the side. I thought it was pretty much a given. .. Watto isn't Gary Sobers or Ian Botham, but he is still a very good cricketer and the best all rounder we've had in years. .. having said that I can't see him replacing Ricky Ponting on a like for like basis . ..completely different characters and skill sets. .. Punter was one of the absolute greatest players the game has seen in its 140 years. You can't replace that, you can only do your best until the next genius comes along. I think even Watto would agree that he is not that player but he still brings something good to the team.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 21, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    @Eight8 - well said. @gregjones - several things - firstly, as an opener Watto has batted 45 times NOT 60 & has an ave of 43. As far as being "That is unheard of for an opener in Australian test history." Try these names & stats - Stackpole 64 inns, 6 tons @ 40; Dyson 45 inns, 2 tons @26; Wood 92 inns, 8 tons @ 33; Blewett 22 inns, 0 tons @ 29; Laird 40 inns, 0 tons @35; Elliott 29 inns, 3 tons @ 35. These are just modern examples, there are plenty of other openers that have less of a record than Watto's. Yes he needs to convert his starts more, but he has been consistant to achieve an ave of almost 44 as an opener. As far as McKay is concerned, he is on track to become the fastest Ozzy to 50 ODI wickets & his S/R is world class.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 23, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    @zenboomerang - nice drop in on another string, but the point I was making is that it was NOT unheard of to have an opener of Wattos record in Tests. None of the batsmen mentioned were failures, they were more a product of tougher times for openers as most were combatants against the WIndies pace battery. You mention that Stackpole was a good opener, yet Watto has a higher average, my stats referred to instance when the batsmen opened. So Watto is not 1 in 29, rather 22.5, assuming that "cherry-picking" can go both ways. Whether Watson is a good or poor opener is very much for debate an average of 43, puts him marginally below the likes of Mark taylor or Slater, or Greenidge & ahead of Atherton, Haynes, or Strauss - ALL of those players have been regarded as good or great openers. So I would say that "cherry picking" would be to bang on about a 100s per innings without considering a historically world class ave as an opener!

  • POSTED BY crikey on | February 22, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    You've been warned watto!

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    If Watson is fit, I'd like to see Watson/Wade open, with Warner, Clarke, M Huss, D Huss, Christian, Lee, Harris, Hilfenhaus, Doherty... Benching McKay, Forrest... Forrest can't replace Christian as it weakens the bowling attack - Watson still isn't up to ODI fitness which is physically more stressing than Test/4 Day cricket... It also breaks up the lefthanders with righties making the bowling a little more difficult... Can't see Hilfy being dropped for the last 3 games & finals... Time to put the foot down...

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 5:03 GMT

    @mthw... Although I take jonesy2's comments with a big grain of salt - he is correct in regarding Watson as the best ODI player in the world in recent years... Where does Oz sit in the world rakings - No.1 for the last few years & much of that success has come from Watson's allrounder ability... He hasn't played ODI for a while but still ranks no.5 batting & no.40 bowling - Kallis is no.11 batting & no.51 bowling... Currently Watson in ranked no.2 as an allrounder & Kallis is no.5 ... I think you can work out who is the better ODI player :) ...

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    @Eight8... Agree that gregjones was a bit harsh - Watson when 100% fit has been 1 of the best ODI players in the world... With only 3 games before the finals, I would expect him to get runs or miss out... His first 12 Tests as an opener ave 47 while in the last 12 mths it is just 20... Definitely not a Test quality opener with 2 100's in 58 innings... By far his best attribute has been his bowling which makes him an allrounder at no. 6-7... Pattinson has an ave of 29 batting at no.9 & Siddle looking strong, so we now have a good late middle order/tail...

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 22, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    @Meety... Cherrypicking samples again & trying to skew it... lol... Except for Stackpole none of your picks are remembered as good openers & some as abject failures - are you saying that Watto is up there with some of our worse openers?... Your point?... Stackie got 4 more centuries than Watto in only 6 more innings - Stackie 1 in 10.6 innings... Watson 1 in 29... Your point?... Don't agree with gregjones comment about being the worst in history - though perhaps he was referring to recent history which should have been his point...

  • POSTED BY mthw on | February 21, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Haha @jonesy2... "the best allrounder on the planet for the past few years"... There is a guy from Sth Africa called Kallis if you hadn't heard, that I think has a geniune arguement to be called best all rounder ever... Much prefer him in my team... Watson would be a much better all rounder if he drops down to bat 4-6 in tests.. He doesn't need to be opening in any format, when aussies now have openers for both...

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | February 21, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Watson's inclusion will add insult to injury for CB series opponents who are (specially india) already struggling. His exclusion so far gave aussies to try a lot of bench strength and equation will be very interesting after his inclusion.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | February 21, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Gotta agree with Eight8. Watson has been our best one day cricketer for a while now. Besides, I was always under the impression that at as soon as he proved his fitness he was back in the side. I thought it was pretty much a given. .. Watto isn't Gary Sobers or Ian Botham, but he is still a very good cricketer and the best all rounder we've had in years. .. having said that I can't see him replacing Ricky Ponting on a like for like basis . ..completely different characters and skill sets. .. Punter was one of the absolute greatest players the game has seen in its 140 years. You can't replace that, you can only do your best until the next genius comes along. I think even Watto would agree that he is not that player but he still brings something good to the team.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 21, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    @Eight8 - well said. @gregjones - several things - firstly, as an opener Watto has batted 45 times NOT 60 & has an ave of 43. As far as being "That is unheard of for an opener in Australian test history." Try these names & stats - Stackpole 64 inns, 6 tons @ 40; Dyson 45 inns, 2 tons @26; Wood 92 inns, 8 tons @ 33; Blewett 22 inns, 0 tons @ 29; Laird 40 inns, 0 tons @35; Elliott 29 inns, 3 tons @ 35. These are just modern examples, there are plenty of other openers that have less of a record than Watto's. Yes he needs to convert his starts more, but he has been consistant to achieve an ave of almost 44 as an opener. As far as McKay is concerned, he is on track to become the fastest Ozzy to 50 ODI wickets & his S/R is world class.

  • POSTED BY JAH123 on | February 21, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    @ gregjones - Mate, get your facts straight before you launch into a rant. Yes, there is an issue with Watson's conversion of starts into 100s, but he is still averaging around 40, perhaps more, since he began opening in tests, which is decent considering his lack of giant scores to boost his figures. Plus he wasn't even in the team before he began opening in 09. And his bowling has been extremely effective; he constantly chips in to pick up wickets and break partnerships. Bad fielder? Overweight? Please. He is a quality slips fielder (will slot straight back into that spot in WI) and is built like a machine.

    But even if you were right, what does his performance in tests have to do with ODIs? Before he got injured he was considered one of the most damaging ODI and T20 batsmen in the world and a quality death bowler. If fit he should come straight back in. If you don't rate the guy then at least find some stats to back up your vitriol. PS I'm not from NSW, so no bias there.

  • POSTED BY Eight8 on | February 21, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    @gregjones. Pretty harsh on Watson. What has he done recently to earn an instant recall. Won the Allan Border Medal the last 2 years. Won last year's cricinfo ODI batsmen of the year (1024 runs in 20 innings with two 100s and seven 50s at the best strike rate in the world: 109). Scored the highest percentage of his teams runs in the world. Also scored the most runs in chases. Given these stats and his bowling as well, he should be an instant recall. As far as tests, I agree it is a weakness that he doesn't convert more 50s to 100s but he has been pretty consistent in getting decent scores (not bad considering Australia without him have often been 3 for not many). He average about 54 for his first 14 innings as an opener but his returns have been leaner since. But his bowling now sees him ranked in the best 10 bowlers in the world so he is a vital allrounder. I'm a bit unsure about his best batting position considering his bowling, but can't see how he can't demand a spot in the top 6.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | February 21, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    I must have blinked and missed it, what form did Watson get picked on? He had none before injury and his effort for NSW on his comeback isnt selection worthy.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | February 20, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    With Watto coming back, it will be interesting to see how the order is re-arranged. Will they drop Warner (or was his 40 odd the other day enough to hold his spot)? I suppose it will be that Wade drops back down the order, (maybe at #3).

  • POSTED BY on | February 20, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    I think Watson should be playing first-class cricket for NSW, and not be in the National team until the West Indies tour. Watson gets injured a lot, and Cricket Australia need to better manage him. Shane wants to play every match that he can, which is great, but his body is not up for the task. Watson is one of the more valuable players in the squad, and I think some tough selection calls need to be made for him (maybe Test cricket only?).

  • POSTED BY on | February 20, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    ponting vs watto isn't an issue here it's obvious from the selectors that if watto is fit he will slot straight into final 11 since he is match fit he was bought back....

  • POSTED BY gregjones on | February 20, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Of course Ponting has been in poor form in the one dayers but what has Watson done to walk straight into the Aussie team? He is too overhyped a cricketer. He has a pathetic record as opener in tests scoring only 2 hundreds in almost 60 innings. That is unheard of for an opener in Australian test history. And he bowls well like 1 in 6 matches. So how come he is called an all rounder in the first place? And he is a poor fielder in the slips dropping sitters galore and looks overweight for an Australian cricketer.He would easily get a place in the Indian team but he has to prove his fitness to be in the Oz team.Watson used to be good back in 2008/09 but since then he was made opener, he has been nothing but average to say the least. And now he has been picked into the side even though he has not scored even a 50 in the domestic circuit.May be there is too much favoritism going on in the selection policies regarding players like Watson, McKay, Starc etc. who are ordinary cricketers.

  • POSTED BY HLANGL on | February 20, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Ponting is a legendary batsman, one of the top three in modern era along with Lara & T'kar. Watson is a good tallented batsman, true, still he himslef would be the first person to understand the fact that filling the boots of someone like Ponting would be too much to him.

  • POSTED BY Aussie5566 on | February 20, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    Ponting aged 37 played Test Series and played CB Series too.It shows that his physical fitness in a fantastic level. Can we see that kind of thing from Watson.He's a good all-round player.But he can't fill Ponting's place any day.Can he? If Ponting decides to retire from all kind of cricket,it'll be a heavy loss to the future of Australian Cricket.That's the unfortunate of Australians.

  • POSTED BY on | February 20, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    Well, Invers, Haddin is knocking on the exit door, maybe you should try opening that one?............................... I hope Wade has skipped past Paine too, i really think he's far more of a match winner with the bat. Watto has nothing to prove, he's a match winner, all he needs to do is keep on blasting quick fifties, hold his catches and produce the odd jaffer, just as has been doing the last few years. Wit Clarke, the Husseys, Lee and Harris there's more than enough old heads! As much as i'm a fan of Rhino i'm not sure why he's in for Starc. At least one of Pattinson, Starc and Cummins should be playing the whole time to build experience, that's where its at for 2015. I don't see Harris or Lee being there.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | February 20, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    As much as his detractors might not like it this role of Ponting as a great man around the team needs to be filled. Can recall being in Perth over Christmas when Ponting was there with his Big Bash team and hearing that after batting in practice he spent an hour just throwing balls for his younger teammates. Don't imagine too many others of his stature would do that. Personally I think Watson needs to step up and harden up. Always a bit lackadaisical for mine.

  • POSTED BY Tripswitch on | February 20, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    There is no doubt that Shane Watson is a superb player but the Australians cannot keep asking him to open and then bowl as front liner. Either that or expect more injuries, depriving us of getting to watch a fine cricketer.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 20, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    Watson has a lot to prove he is better than Ricky Ponting - after Ponting was axed for him... Watson didn't do much in Perth, averaging 26 with the bat (a bit more than his Test record for the last 12 mths) & his bowling was just OK, considering his inability to bowl more than 12 overs out of 171 overs bowled in that 1 innings... Still his ODI form has always been good, so expect him to bat well out of the blocks... Very big boots to fill though... His on field behaviour better improve greatly for me to see him as VC material...

  • POSTED BY on | February 20, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    This is pretty...yep! Please get the fact right. Watson is not replacing any one, he is just returning to his usual place in the Australian team. Ponting is replaced by a 'new' batsman, may be Forrest or someone else. So, do not make it an Ponting vs. Watson issue.

  • POSTED BY SUSMIT_DW on | February 20, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    No one can fill up places of players like Ricky and Sachin. We lucky enough to see this people still playing. Will feel sad if Ricky goes for retirement after this. They give extra edge to the conetst between bat and ball.

  • POSTED BY Yasassri on | February 20, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    No pressure would help him to perform well rather putting some words on his role is not necessary.

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | February 20, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Watson is an outstanding talent. He worked his way into the team and has excelled in what ever role given to him. He would relish the responsibility of being the Vice Captain of the side. However, the recent layoff due to injuries might have shaken his confidence a little bit. I think CA should leave him alone for some time before he regains everything. He is an impact cricketer and will not be happy if he does not create that impact on every match. Being an allrounder he can deliver in any or every discipline of the game. On the way if he wins a couple of matches for Aus his confidence will be back and you can put extra burden on him. First he has to decide on his batting position in the test side. If Ponting decides to retire, then Watson might be asked to take the No. 3 slot. In ODIs Watson should take Wade's spot at the top. With his bowling abilities, it makes easy for Clarke to come back without disturbing the balance of the side. Christian might sit out. Team looks perfect!

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | February 20, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    WATSON WILL FILL PONTING'S SHOES . LOL. I M SURE AFTER PLAYING A SERIES WATTO WILL AGAIN INJURED HIMSELF FOR MONTHS .

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | February 20, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    haha what? he must show himself worthy? you dont think the best allrounder on the planet for the last few years is worthy? i guess mitch marsh is pretty good and james faulkner is unlucky to miss out..

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | February 20, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Wonderful tried and tested backup for great ponting who has been true deputy of the legendary Don.

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  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | February 20, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Wonderful tried and tested backup for great ponting who has been true deputy of the legendary Don.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | February 20, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    haha what? he must show himself worthy? you dont think the best allrounder on the planet for the last few years is worthy? i guess mitch marsh is pretty good and james faulkner is unlucky to miss out..

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | February 20, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    WATSON WILL FILL PONTING'S SHOES . LOL. I M SURE AFTER PLAYING A SERIES WATTO WILL AGAIN INJURED HIMSELF FOR MONTHS .

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | February 20, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Watson is an outstanding talent. He worked his way into the team and has excelled in what ever role given to him. He would relish the responsibility of being the Vice Captain of the side. However, the recent layoff due to injuries might have shaken his confidence a little bit. I think CA should leave him alone for some time before he regains everything. He is an impact cricketer and will not be happy if he does not create that impact on every match. Being an allrounder he can deliver in any or every discipline of the game. On the way if he wins a couple of matches for Aus his confidence will be back and you can put extra burden on him. First he has to decide on his batting position in the test side. If Ponting decides to retire, then Watson might be asked to take the No. 3 slot. In ODIs Watson should take Wade's spot at the top. With his bowling abilities, it makes easy for Clarke to come back without disturbing the balance of the side. Christian might sit out. Team looks perfect!

  • POSTED BY Yasassri on | February 20, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    No pressure would help him to perform well rather putting some words on his role is not necessary.

  • POSTED BY SUSMIT_DW on | February 20, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    No one can fill up places of players like Ricky and Sachin. We lucky enough to see this people still playing. Will feel sad if Ricky goes for retirement after this. They give extra edge to the conetst between bat and ball.

  • POSTED BY on | February 20, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    This is pretty...yep! Please get the fact right. Watson is not replacing any one, he is just returning to his usual place in the Australian team. Ponting is replaced by a 'new' batsman, may be Forrest or someone else. So, do not make it an Ponting vs. Watson issue.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | February 20, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    Watson has a lot to prove he is better than Ricky Ponting - after Ponting was axed for him... Watson didn't do much in Perth, averaging 26 with the bat (a bit more than his Test record for the last 12 mths) & his bowling was just OK, considering his inability to bowl more than 12 overs out of 171 overs bowled in that 1 innings... Still his ODI form has always been good, so expect him to bat well out of the blocks... Very big boots to fill though... His on field behaviour better improve greatly for me to see him as VC material...

  • POSTED BY Tripswitch on | February 20, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    There is no doubt that Shane Watson is a superb player but the Australians cannot keep asking him to open and then bowl as front liner. Either that or expect more injuries, depriving us of getting to watch a fine cricketer.

  • POSTED BY Behind_the_bowlers_arm on | February 20, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    As much as his detractors might not like it this role of Ponting as a great man around the team needs to be filled. Can recall being in Perth over Christmas when Ponting was there with his Big Bash team and hearing that after batting in practice he spent an hour just throwing balls for his younger teammates. Don't imagine too many others of his stature would do that. Personally I think Watson needs to step up and harden up. Always a bit lackadaisical for mine.