Australia v SL, Champions Trophy, Group A, The Oval June 17, 2013

Watson's diminishing returns

With the retirement of Michael Hussey and injury to Michael Clarke, Australia desperately needed Shane Watson to perform at the Champions Trophy
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In the 2009 Champions Trophy in South Africa, Shane Watson was the Man of the Match in Australia's victories in the semi-final and the final. He also had the best average and the most centuries (two) in the tournament. Four years on, Watson cut a much diminished figure throughout.

Just 34 runs. That's all one of the most valuable players for Australia managed in this edition of the tournament. With Michael Clarke convalescing, the burden was on Watson's shoulders to pilot Australia. It was an opportunity to correct the wrongs committed during the controversial Test series in India earlier this year where Watson was slapped with the one-match ban for not doing his homework.

Watson has not forgiven the Australian team management for rapping his knuckles, calling it the lowest point of his career. He made it clear that he was not interested in standing as Clarke's deputy in case the occasion arose during the Ashes as he wanted only focus on how best he could help the team with his contributions.

Mentally, Watson remains vulnerable. His failure has only exacerbated Australia's problems. Undoubtedly, being the senior-most player adds to the team's expectations. But you earn your badge by rising to the occasion.

Take Mahela Jayawardene. He had come in at a point when Xavier Doherty had tied down Sri Lanka in the middle overs. He had walked in midway into the Sri Lankan innings. Sri Lanka were 99 for 3 after 25 overs. Ten overs later they had managed just 43 more runs. But Jayawardene remained busy.

The pitch was two-paced, verging on the slower side. An elastic batsman, Jayawardene used his strengths to guide the ball into the various gaps without breaking sweat. The beauty about watching Jayawardene is he does not take the fielder on, but simultaneously he can beat any field.

Coming from round the wicket Mitchell Johnson pitched back of a length and short. Backward point and point were in position. Rooted to the crease, Jayawardene stretched laterally, opened the face of the bat, cut the ball to the left of backward point, lending just that much power required to beat Phil Hughes, who rushed in vain from third man.

Cuts, upper cuts, revere sweep, nudges, failed scoops. Jayawardene used all those weapons to make the bowler's job that much more difficult. He played the situation, using his head to put Sri Lanka in a winning position.

In contrast, Watson lost his head while attempting a stroke which has proved to be dangerous. He had started off with a fluent boundary in the first over but having just faced one ball from Nuwan Kulasekara, Watson cut; so close to his body he virtually cut the stumps. He was the most crucial batsman in the chase. Someone who could overpower their bowling. In the end Watson sat in the changing rooms head in hands, as Sri Lanka kept their nerve in a tantalising victory.

The period between 2009 and 2011 were Watson's best years. He worked hard, performed consistently and deserved the status of the most valuable player. He was in a happy state of mind. He was especially formidable in the one-day arena. You could look up to Watson and, up to a point, he would deliver. Coincidentally, it was the period when Ricky Ponting was Australia's captain. Ponting had a lot of respect for Watson and backed him in every possible situation. Watson respected Ponting for having the belief in him and standing by him.

Today Watson is isolated with Michael Clarke at the helm. He was Clarke's deputy in India, but as soon as he reached India, he made it clear he had no intention to step into the leadership duties. Watson is happy to continue making the contributions, but wants to do it on his own terms. Mickey Arthur has admitted his dynamic within the team remains a work in progress

Failing to adapt to the situation has been the major stumbling block. Disappointingly Watson has remained an impact player. Not the batsman who has the patience to construct an innings consistently. His form has declined from 2012 where onwards he has averaged 32.05. In Twenty20 cricket, such as the IPL, Watson has expressed himself with much more freedom. He has remained the most dependable player for Rajasthan Royals since 2008. He has remained flexible in the roles he has been asked to perform in the IPL.

Australia need an assertive Watson now more than ever. Of course, the Australia team management needs to make some allowance. Clarke needs to relay the message to Watson that he remains his best man, and perhaps commit the sort of time to the allrounder that Ponting once did. For his part Watson has to realise that he cannot rely on a captain cajoling him all the time. He has the ability to stand up on his own two feet and be heard, even if recent evidence of such is growing scarce.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PrasPunter on June 18, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @PadMarley, I agree with you. Mahela, in my opinion, is one of the finest test-cricketers with around 10K runs on both formats. Comparing Watto with him may not be fair. But the point I think the author tries to make is how great players rise to the occasion and make things count and done. Watto has played a few good ODI innings but by and large , his has been a dissappointing career. Ashes might be his last chance for any sort of redemption. More failures and he can kiss goodbye to his test career. We should move on.

  • UAETigers on June 19, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    M.Clarke is the most insecure Captain and Middle order Aussie batsmen I have ever seen. In his regime as Captain leave great not even a single good player has emerged or make a permanent memeebr of OZ team. He has ensure that Hussey is out of the way and played with Watson. Now there is no one to replace him in middle order!!! As far as he is a great spin batsmen I doubt it now as Jadeja got him out 5/6 times in three test he plays againt India.

  • on June 18, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    @Alex Prabaharan, that is not really true that the Aussies just continued winning everything if a critical player went down with injury. Just look at the impact Mcgraths absence had in the 2005 Ashes series. Australia was actually quite lucky really in that Ponting, Gilly, Warne, McGrath and Steve Waugh very rarely missed games of cricket and if they did there was still plenty of other classy and experienced performers in the team.

  • on June 18, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    What felt like teething issues seem more like festering ones now and the Australian Cricket Board will need to take some bold steps to restore the Aussies to their former glory. An Aussie team has always had grit and courage. This was personified through its captains and key players through the last few decades, be it Border, Boon, Lillee, Gilchrist, Ponting, McGrath or Warne. It seems that the fight has gone out of their system of late and there seems a sudden dearth of talent in their ranks. Hope that there is silver lining to this cloud hanging around Aussie cricket, of which players like Hughes, Maxwell, etc are only a personification. They need a soul searching catharsis not summary executions.

  • on June 18, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Sure,the times have changed.From the era when Ricky wud never talk abt d injured player (and win it as convincingly with d available players) to Aus missing their star batsman in a major tournament,times have changed.In that time the mighty has fallen.

  • stogster on June 18, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    At some point now really soon, Australia is going to hit rock bottom. Then and only then will the impetus for re-building a great team emerge - a work ethic, ability to graft an innings, an understanding that the world doesn't owe you an innings. I am looking forward to it.

  • Kedars_DT on June 18, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    Watson simply doesn't look comfortable in the current Australian team. He looked more relaxed when he was with the Royals in IPL. He was thoroughly involved and enjoyed all the games even when he didn't perform. Remember the match against MI when he almost ran towards Pollard, Dravid had to calm him down. At the same time its not that he is out of form and needs one good innings to come back into his own. Something's not right between him and Clarke which was evident during India series and the earlier they sort it out between themselves, the better it is for the team especially with 10 Ashes test matches lined up. The last thing you would want is Australia loose without putting up any fight. Looking at yesterday's match it was only the last wicket partnership which showed glimpses of a real Australian team. They somehow need to get back to that mould and start playing "together". I can't remember the last time when an Australian batsman got out like George Bailey did yesterday.

  • on June 18, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    I remember his innings at Chennai in RR's match against CSK. It was a really fantastic innings. Rahul Dravid and Watto have a great rapport. It is sad to see such a great player looking demoralized. One hopes he will fall into the groove again and become the mainstay of Australia.

  • palla.avinash on June 18, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Drop watson immediately and draft bailey into ashes squad he seems no longer focused at all in international cricket better drop him now, he is same as yuvraj singh for india in tests.

  • on June 18, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @Mindmaker to strengthen your point I remembered it appeared to me as if the Australian team being dominant as they were allowed to have a beer here and here,but thing has changed under Clarke,it may appear to be the coach,however Clarke has a lot to do with the change of culture,remember Simmons, he had enough to do ending his career although Simmons should have adjusted to the change in culture,it's appears Watson is having difficulty coming to grips with it...

  • PrasPunter on June 18, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    @PadMarley, I agree with you. Mahela, in my opinion, is one of the finest test-cricketers with around 10K runs on both formats. Comparing Watto with him may not be fair. But the point I think the author tries to make is how great players rise to the occasion and make things count and done. Watto has played a few good ODI innings but by and large , his has been a dissappointing career. Ashes might be his last chance for any sort of redemption. More failures and he can kiss goodbye to his test career. We should move on.

  • UAETigers on June 19, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    M.Clarke is the most insecure Captain and Middle order Aussie batsmen I have ever seen. In his regime as Captain leave great not even a single good player has emerged or make a permanent memeebr of OZ team. He has ensure that Hussey is out of the way and played with Watson. Now there is no one to replace him in middle order!!! As far as he is a great spin batsmen I doubt it now as Jadeja got him out 5/6 times in three test he plays againt India.

  • on June 18, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    @Alex Prabaharan, that is not really true that the Aussies just continued winning everything if a critical player went down with injury. Just look at the impact Mcgraths absence had in the 2005 Ashes series. Australia was actually quite lucky really in that Ponting, Gilly, Warne, McGrath and Steve Waugh very rarely missed games of cricket and if they did there was still plenty of other classy and experienced performers in the team.

  • on June 18, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    What felt like teething issues seem more like festering ones now and the Australian Cricket Board will need to take some bold steps to restore the Aussies to their former glory. An Aussie team has always had grit and courage. This was personified through its captains and key players through the last few decades, be it Border, Boon, Lillee, Gilchrist, Ponting, McGrath or Warne. It seems that the fight has gone out of their system of late and there seems a sudden dearth of talent in their ranks. Hope that there is silver lining to this cloud hanging around Aussie cricket, of which players like Hughes, Maxwell, etc are only a personification. They need a soul searching catharsis not summary executions.

  • on June 18, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Sure,the times have changed.From the era when Ricky wud never talk abt d injured player (and win it as convincingly with d available players) to Aus missing their star batsman in a major tournament,times have changed.In that time the mighty has fallen.

  • stogster on June 18, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    At some point now really soon, Australia is going to hit rock bottom. Then and only then will the impetus for re-building a great team emerge - a work ethic, ability to graft an innings, an understanding that the world doesn't owe you an innings. I am looking forward to it.

  • Kedars_DT on June 18, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    Watson simply doesn't look comfortable in the current Australian team. He looked more relaxed when he was with the Royals in IPL. He was thoroughly involved and enjoyed all the games even when he didn't perform. Remember the match against MI when he almost ran towards Pollard, Dravid had to calm him down. At the same time its not that he is out of form and needs one good innings to come back into his own. Something's not right between him and Clarke which was evident during India series and the earlier they sort it out between themselves, the better it is for the team especially with 10 Ashes test matches lined up. The last thing you would want is Australia loose without putting up any fight. Looking at yesterday's match it was only the last wicket partnership which showed glimpses of a real Australian team. They somehow need to get back to that mould and start playing "together". I can't remember the last time when an Australian batsman got out like George Bailey did yesterday.

  • on June 18, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    I remember his innings at Chennai in RR's match against CSK. It was a really fantastic innings. Rahul Dravid and Watto have a great rapport. It is sad to see such a great player looking demoralized. One hopes he will fall into the groove again and become the mainstay of Australia.

  • palla.avinash on June 18, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Drop watson immediately and draft bailey into ashes squad he seems no longer focused at all in international cricket better drop him now, he is same as yuvraj singh for india in tests.

  • on June 18, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @Mindmaker to strengthen your point I remembered it appeared to me as if the Australian team being dominant as they were allowed to have a beer here and here,but thing has changed under Clarke,it may appear to be the coach,however Clarke has a lot to do with the change of culture,remember Simmons, he had enough to do ending his career although Simmons should have adjusted to the change in culture,it's appears Watson is having difficulty coming to grips with it...

  • ajay.icici1 on June 18, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Watson has not been performing and he should be thrown out of the team as australia can not afford more than 2 allrounders in side...moreover phil hughes with no technique cannt be an international player...mitch marsh again is a useless player like steve smith..Aussies need to have specialist batsman..but clarke's insecurity will prevent any selection of middle order specialist batsman...

  • tusharkardile on June 18, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    In the 2009 Champions Trophy - Watto made 2 ducks in first two innings and averaged a paltry eight in the group stages. During league games In this edition, he averages much better.... See you can twist statistics to prove whatever agenda you have. Also he did not have highest average in the tournament; Kohli had. Well, you could have proved your point as emphatically even without leaning on (sometimes incorrect or selective) statistics.

  • randikaayya on June 18, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @Chandra Bindu: Common mate, you are comparing IPL performace to a top International tournament. The preparation, teh pressure, the aspirations and above all the quality of competition are a gulf apart

  • yocasi on June 18, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Seems like Watson has evolved into Australia's version of Carl Hooper: just enough to keep you interested, not enough to turn a profit.

  • harry93 on June 18, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Chandra, T20 is not cricket. It destroys the patience required for Tests and even ODIs

  • shillingsworth on June 18, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    Watson's team had to win the match by scoring at 8 an over for 29 overs. Jayawardene's team merely had to post a par score knowing that Australia would probably self destruct chasing it. For all Jayawardene's undoubted ability, this is hardly a fair comparison.

  • on June 18, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    What felt like teething issues seem more like festering ones now and ACB will need to take some bold steps to restore the Aussies to their former glory. An Aussie team has always had grit. This was personified through its captains and key players through the last few decades, be it Border, Boon, Lillee, Gilchrist, Ponting or Warne. It seems that the fight has gone out of their system of late. Hope that there is silver lining to this cloud hanging around Aussie cricket, of which Watson is but only a personification. They need soul searching not executions.

  • on June 18, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Watson became the best player of the IPL 2013 even without playing some of the matches. Why isn't he performing for Australia? He forgot cricket in a space of one/two weeks?

  • on June 18, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    maybe let's blame it on the focus on the ashes. if we look carefully, not one of the ashes specialist batsmen in the side made anything reasonably good enough. hughes, watson, and of course... dave warner! clearly the team is in a tense frame of mind. havent won a cricket match since sriLanka were down under. but i agree with @Dark_Harlequin. clearly something's wrong with clarkes man management skills. we've lost Katich, Hussey, both arguably due to differences with clarke.

  • Mindmaker on June 18, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    The problem is with the coach. I am surprised not enough light is being shone on Mickey. The "problems" that the Aussies are having coincide with his arrival at the crease so to say. These guys are fully grown men who must be held accountable for their performance but leading them by their noses like kindergarteh kids is crap. All Saffers must be quietly sniggering as they have successfully transfered the chokers tag to the Aussies with their appointment of this guy. CA must decide what they want for their team: a cricket coach or a boot camp commander.

  • on June 18, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    I think the attitude of the team, let alone Shane Watsons performance, was nicely summed up by how the Captain George Bailey got run out - He didn't even bother trying, just wandering along - It is that sense of entitlement that cripples this current Aussie mob - Little ethic to do the work required, just an expectation that all will work out alright. They will be slaughtered in the Ashes.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on June 18, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    Watson's case is well known all over the world as too overly rated for too low output which is a mystery as 1 who sees him bat can't imagine him @ less than 50 avg . with his class and quality of strokes . In the end it is not about how good looking player but how much you score and he is mentally found wanting at this level .

  • Baundele on June 18, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    People are talking about Watson's mental strength! That guy has been going through injuries throughout his whole career. From a fast bowler he changed himself to become the best all rounder. And when he did recover from his latest injuries, Aussie management put him under pressure instead of helping him. Watson needs to be an iron man to fight against his own management and then perform in the field.

  • mehulmatrix on June 18, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Mahela played a lovely crafted innings in such a crucial match. His inside-out shots, dabs & flicks were wonderful to watch. It was nice to see Faulkner's matured appreciation of one shot in the last over. Important point there by Nagraj regarding Watson needing teams and captain's confidence. I think thats impacting his mindset and approach. Under Dravid, he would have enjoyed the confidence and atmosphere. More about vibes in team then form for him. I still back him to do well in Ashes. Come on Watto! For some reason, i never feel good about Clarke and his attitude, no matter how many runs he makes.

  • Baundele on June 18, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Watson looked a sad face throughout the tournament. The current Aussie management has successfully ruined their best player, the best all rounder of the world.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on June 18, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    The question that needs to be asked is, why promising young batsmen in recent years have invariably performed well short of potential. The last newcomer to be picked purely for his batting, who went on to fulfill his potential, was Hussey. Its worrying that in 8 years since then, not a single youngster has performed consistently well enough to become a fixture in the side. Clearly, the problem is systemic.

  • C.Gull on June 18, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    It's hard for us to know what's really going on in the inner sanctum of the Aust national team, and clearly things are not all well, but I just can't agree with those who continually insist on blaming Clarke for Watson's poor form and bad attitude. Next we'll be hearing him blamed for Watto's latest blown hamstring.

    Watson is a grown man and a highly-paid professional athlete; at the end of the day he is responsible for himself and his game. The Australian public needs to get over its long-held dislike of Clarke. He's grown and matured; he's a superb batsman and outstanding on-field captain; and he is trying to make the best of a team which isn't up to scratch in the face of high public expectations. To snipe about his man-management without any real facts to go on is just petty scapegoating.

  • Harlequin. on June 18, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    Watson gets a lot of grief for not having the mental fortitiude to step up into a senior position within the team, but I'm not sure why he is being forced to do so; it is not for everyone, some players just aren't good at it and Watson has said he doesn't want it. An older, experienced player can be used effectively even if they are not part of the senior 'think tank' or whatever you want to call it. Look at KP, sometimes you just have to let people like that play cricket and they will reward you with runs rather than wisdom.

    From what I can see though, the problem is Clarke. He is clearly a good batsman, he seems like a decent tactician, but reading between the lines his man-management is dire and I wonder how many more great players he is going to ruin before Australia says enough is enough...

  • stormy16 on June 18, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    As the article suggests something is horribly wrong in the Aussie camp as Watto is (or should) be in prime form after the IPL where he was most valuable player. If you look at Sanga and Mahela who couldnt buy a run in the IPL and Sanga even dropped himself as captain and from the team, but get the SL colors on them and its a totally different issue - the exact opposite of Watto. Clearly Watto is a quality player at limited overs level and dont think we need to debate that but he has been lost in this series. Aus need to spark Watto as he could be the next big thing for Aus at all levels. Mind you I said this last summer and he got injured, then he kept getting out and now he can perform in the one area where there is no doubt he is one of the best. Something is rotting in the Aus camp!

  • zenboomerang on June 18, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    @Nagraj Gollapudi... Some of your points seem accurate, but Clarke is not the reason for Watto's problems... Ponting & Hussey were still par of the Oz team until last summer when they retired - Punter was still there but if anything, Watto never needed Pontings backing but he badly needed those senior players around to shield him from him mental frailties & his complete inability to handle the leadership role that is now required...

    Of interest was your highlight of Watto's 2012/13 form (Bailey & Voges are standouts) both Faulkner & Starc have higher batting averages & S.R.'s + Maxwell show we have 3 potential allrounders that can fill Watto's position... Would also add Cutting as a bowler with good batting potential...

  • Rahul_78 on June 18, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    I guess it is bit of old school versus new school issue at the moment in AUS cricket. Clarke is undoubtedly a very good captain but his dealings with difficult characters remain under the clouds. There has been many instances in the past including the likes of Katich an Symonds who parted bitterly with Clarke. It is all right to expect everyone to follow the team ethics and disciplines but in a squad of 16 you cant expect everyone to toe the similar line. In the past of the great AUS teams it is no secret that legends like Gilchrist and Warne were never best of mates but it never affected the team or individuals on fields performances. Lot of credit needs to be given to the leadership group of that time for managing the big boys carefully. There is also a mystery on Mike Hussey's retirement. Why a guy so committed as Hussey will leave a belvoed team when he knew he was badly needed? With Clarkes dodgy back may be AUS administrators need to rethink about the future leadership roles.

  • on June 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    when u see players like maxwell,wade,hughes wearing the baggy green then u know that AUS cricket is in deep crisis.....i think clarke and arthur should take the blame for this,when clarke finishes his career he will be remembered as great AUS batsman but i don't know whether he will be remebered as great aussie captian(like waugh,ponting are remembered)....i don't think shane watson is reason for AUS poor show in this CT,when his own captain is not backing him then how can u expect him to score runs everytime,he is not in good form but they need to persist with him as there are no replacements for shane watson,so clarke need to put aside his personal thoughts and he need to back his players when they r in tough situatuions....

  • on June 18, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    For me Watto & Clark both are quality players in Australia, but their chemistry is not matching with each other...on top of that Australia have worst coach at the moment...they need to replace both Captain & Coach...Baily seems best option to me at the moment....

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    May be batting form is bit shaky for Watson. But I really say Clark is lacking leadership as well as cant handle the team. Clark is bullying the team, he is neither analytical, tactical or say creative captain. Under his reign, downfall of OZ cricket is forced rather than lack of form. Team don't want to play with Clark its quite visible. Adding to the agony is Bailey - he is a soft captain; OZ management is not willing to develop leader like Warner or Watto. This is same situation like Pointing & Warne.

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    Inventry, Clark & Athur are takin Oz cricket to the levels where they had never been. That's the bottom.

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    Notice that the article said the same thing in two different places: Watto respecting Ponting and Watto doing well for Rajasthan in IPL 2013 (implying Watto's respect for Rahul Dravid). Both Dravid and Ponting in turn respected and backed Watson as a player.

    This can mean only one thing. Pup is a hopeless captain ( a great batsman nonetheless) . Time Australia replaced him. I'm with you, A_Citizen_of_India :)

  • bobmartin on June 18, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Watson is not the only one at fault here, because from what I have seen these last few months.. during the tour of India and the current CT, this is not the real Australia...As a team, they look lacklustre, thoroughly demoralised, disinterested and, although I hate to say it, seem to be lacking pride in representing their country. Totally unlike any Australian team I have watched over the years.

  • PadMarley on June 18, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    When it comes to Batsmenship....I think we are trying to compare absolutely two different levels of class. No disrespect to Watson though..

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 18, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    the article clearly stands out one fact..."the leadership group"... aussies will continue to go down as long as micky arthur is the coach...is this supposed to be cricket team or a army camp!

    i never understood what was wrong with Tom Moody who wanted to coach aus side. or any other aus coach? other countries such as pakistan, bangledesh, SL etc are approaching aussies for coaching roles yet CA has hired Micky arthur...a coach described by Gibbs as one who had no authority what so ever in SA. maybe that explains why he is so dictorial !

  • on June 18, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    How true that article is, and how sad his demise is. It reflects Australian cricket, but we can only select the best teams from the stocks we have, and there is no better options. As an Australian cricket supporter we still need to get behind them in tough times.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on June 18, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    that's it for Watson in his hopes for the ashes. As much as I like him, he is just too emotionally vulnerable and out of form. My XI for the Ashes: Cowan, Rogers, Khawaja, Steve Smith, Clarke, Bailey, Haddin, Pattinson, Harris/Siddle, Lyon, Bird

  • RG2008 on June 18, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Completely agree that he was a far better player under Ponting, however a big part of the reason that he is not more respected and liked by the Australian cricketing public is that he is not considered mentally strong - surely a world class player needs to be tougher and more durable. Mitchell Johnson is another with world class talent but has been relegated to a bit part role because he is not tough or consistent enough.

  • landl47 on June 17, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Watson's 32 today. As this article implies, he remains immature, someone who needs to be nursed rather than a mentor to younger players. If he bowls, he doesn't make runs, yet he is not a good enough batsman to be selected in tests for batting alone. He doesn't want responsibility and seems to react badly when expectations of him are high, yet gets upset at any suggestion that he doesn't pull his weight.

    It's getting late in his career for him to put right the impression that, in tests at least, he has been an underachiever.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 17, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    Watson is potentially the best all-rounder in the world. All he needs is for his captain to understand/ motivate him. Clearly, Michael Clarke is not the man for that job.

    In fact, it is quite noticeable how Clarke's captaincy has coincided with Australia's non arrestable tail-spin in the world cricket rankings.

    To understand how captaincy impacts player performance, just look at how well Watto has done under Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne, both of whom were Watson's skippers at his IPL franchise. Not to mention how effective he was under Ponting of course.

  • on June 17, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Just one of the many problems for the Australians at the moment. I would have to agree with RandyOZ and say the biggest seems to be their selectors and management: a baffling tendency to neglect their strongest domestic spinner, investing too much misdirected faith in a failing wicket-keeper (will Wade eventually improve into something similar to Matt Prior? I'm not so sure), and dodgy discipline enforcement.

    The players need to take their own share of the blame though. Shane Watson needs to improve his shot selection and if he wants to play in the Ashes, convert more of his starts and bowl more overs to justify his potential as an all-rounder.

  • on June 17, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Just one of the many problems for the Australians at the moment. I would have to agree with RandyOZ and say the biggest seems to be their selectors and management: a baffling tendency to neglect their strongest domestic spinner, investing too much misdirected faith in a failing wicket-keeper (will Wade eventually improve into something similar to Matt Prior? I'm not so sure), and dodgy discipline enforcement.

    The players need to take their own share of the blame though. Shane Watson needs to improve his shot selection and if he wants to play in the Ashes, convert more of his starts and bowl more overs to justify his potential as an all-rounder.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on June 17, 2013, 23:23 GMT

    Watson is potentially the best all-rounder in the world. All he needs is for his captain to understand/ motivate him. Clearly, Michael Clarke is not the man for that job.

    In fact, it is quite noticeable how Clarke's captaincy has coincided with Australia's non arrestable tail-spin in the world cricket rankings.

    To understand how captaincy impacts player performance, just look at how well Watto has done under Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne, both of whom were Watson's skippers at his IPL franchise. Not to mention how effective he was under Ponting of course.

  • landl47 on June 17, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Watson's 32 today. As this article implies, he remains immature, someone who needs to be nursed rather than a mentor to younger players. If he bowls, he doesn't make runs, yet he is not a good enough batsman to be selected in tests for batting alone. He doesn't want responsibility and seems to react badly when expectations of him are high, yet gets upset at any suggestion that he doesn't pull his weight.

    It's getting late in his career for him to put right the impression that, in tests at least, he has been an underachiever.

  • RG2008 on June 18, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Completely agree that he was a far better player under Ponting, however a big part of the reason that he is not more respected and liked by the Australian cricketing public is that he is not considered mentally strong - surely a world class player needs to be tougher and more durable. Mitchell Johnson is another with world class talent but has been relegated to a bit part role because he is not tough or consistent enough.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on June 18, 2013, 1:44 GMT

    that's it for Watson in his hopes for the ashes. As much as I like him, he is just too emotionally vulnerable and out of form. My XI for the Ashes: Cowan, Rogers, Khawaja, Steve Smith, Clarke, Bailey, Haddin, Pattinson, Harris/Siddle, Lyon, Bird

  • on June 18, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    How true that article is, and how sad his demise is. It reflects Australian cricket, but we can only select the best teams from the stocks we have, and there is no better options. As an Australian cricket supporter we still need to get behind them in tough times.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on June 18, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    the article clearly stands out one fact..."the leadership group"... aussies will continue to go down as long as micky arthur is the coach...is this supposed to be cricket team or a army camp!

    i never understood what was wrong with Tom Moody who wanted to coach aus side. or any other aus coach? other countries such as pakistan, bangledesh, SL etc are approaching aussies for coaching roles yet CA has hired Micky arthur...a coach described by Gibbs as one who had no authority what so ever in SA. maybe that explains why he is so dictorial !

  • PadMarley on June 18, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    When it comes to Batsmenship....I think we are trying to compare absolutely two different levels of class. No disrespect to Watson though..

  • bobmartin on June 18, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    Watson is not the only one at fault here, because from what I have seen these last few months.. during the tour of India and the current CT, this is not the real Australia...As a team, they look lacklustre, thoroughly demoralised, disinterested and, although I hate to say it, seem to be lacking pride in representing their country. Totally unlike any Australian team I have watched over the years.

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    Notice that the article said the same thing in two different places: Watto respecting Ponting and Watto doing well for Rajasthan in IPL 2013 (implying Watto's respect for Rahul Dravid). Both Dravid and Ponting in turn respected and backed Watson as a player.

    This can mean only one thing. Pup is a hopeless captain ( a great batsman nonetheless) . Time Australia replaced him. I'm with you, A_Citizen_of_India :)