Australia in South Africa 2005-06 March 10, 2006

Thomson dismisses Watson's all-round ability

Cricinfo staff

Jeff Thomson says Shane Watson does not get wickets. Here he dismisses Boeta Dippenaar at Cape Town © Getty Images

Jeff Thomson has scoffed at Shane Watson's description as an allrounder by saying his bowling "plays blokes in". Thomson made the claims at a sportsman's dinner in Ipswich, Watson's Queensland home town, and also doubted the ability of Mitchell Johnson, who is with the one-day squad in South Africa.

Watson missed selection in the Test squad as Andrew Symonds's mix of skills were preferred, and he was knocked out of the side for tonight's fourth ODI against South Africa. Thomson told Ipswich's Queensland Times he did not rate Watson. "He's not an all rounder's a***hole," Thomson said. "He bats okay but his bowling is way below par at top level, so he's not an allrounder ... let's get serious. To me, he plays blokes in."

The outburst will not help Watson's confidence as he continues to make his recovery from shoulder surgery. Watson suffered a dislocation in his third Test against West Indies in November and he played the first three one-day games in South Africa, taking four wickets and making 53 runs.

Watson has asked for a meeting with Ricky Ponting to discuss his omission from the Test side. "He wants to have 10 or 15 minutes and have a bit of a chat about things," Ponting told AAP. "It's pretty important for me being the captain of the side and, more importantly, one of their mates, so I guess it's good to hear it coming from me and not just the selectors. That's part of the job."

Thomson questioned the bowling places of both Watson and Johnson, who delivered only three overs in the first ODI in South Africa. "Seriously, are they taking wickets? No," he said. "In my day, you got picked for Australia for taking wickets ... you didn't get picked on some selector thinking: this guy might be able to play."

The choice of Shaun Tait gained Thomson's approval, but he said Andy Bichel and Mark Cosgrove should be considered for the 2007 World Cup. "If I was a sole selector, I'd have Bichel in my team," he said. "[Cosgrove] should have been in that Australian side six months ago."