Australia v Afghanistan, World Cup 2015, Group A, Perth March 4, 2015

'Big decision' to drop Watson - Rod Marsh

ESPNcricinfo staff

Play 03:27
Bevan: Without Watson, Australia may be a batsman short

Rod Marsh, the Australia chairman of selectors, has said that dropping Shane Watson for James Faulkner was a "big decision" that had to be taken because of the former's disappointing recent form. Allrounder and key finisher Faulkner was included in the Australia XI against Afghanistan for his first match of the World Cup after having recovered from a side strain, and Watson had to make way for him.

"Faulkner's in for Shane Watson, which is a big decision but it's one we thought we had to make, because in Shane's last 10 one-day games he's got 220 runs [245]," Marsh said.

"Unfortunately he's been getting starts but he hasn't been going on with it, and we had to fit James in and someone had to go. I'm not saying it was a choice between any players, but it just happened to be it was Shane's time to go for this particular match."

Marsh said that too much should not be read into the decision as far as the future was concerned, but indicated that a return for Watson would have to happen through poor form or injury to someone else in the XI. Mitchell Marsh is the third seam-bowling allrounder in Australia's squad apart from Watson and Faulkner, and had pushed his case with a five-for against England in Melbourne in the tournament opener.

"It doesn't mean anything going forward, except that he's not in the XI at the moment," Marsh said. "If things change then there's no reason why he won't be back in the XI.

"He's a fine, fine player…it was a tough decision. No one likes to leave out anyone. Hopefully he'll find himself back in the team at some stage. He might have to rely on someone else's lack of form or an injury to get back in, but it's a good situation to be in really when you've got both Watson and George Bailey out of the side - two extremely well-credentialed one-day players."

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