South Africa v Australia, 2nd ODI, Port Elizabeth October 23, 2011

Australia hopeful over Watson

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Shane Watson, Australia allrounder, is likely to be fit for the third and deciding one-day game against South Africa in Durban on Friday. Watson left the field after bowling three overs and five balls in Sunday's game in Port Elizabeth after experiencing back spasms. However, he returned to bat at No. 6 and did not show too much discomfort, although he was a little slower between the wickets.

"It was a very positive sign that he went back out and batted and I am very confident that he will ready for Friday's game," Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, said.

This is not the first time Watson has suffered from spasms. He also experienced them during a Test match against India but recovered quickly. "He continued to play and was fine," Clarke said. "Two days later, he ended up bowling. He wasn't great at the time when it happened but after some time he was fine."

Watson initially had a hip injury which caused him to miss the second Twenty20 and first ODI on the current tour. The injury was not described as serious but Australia wanted to manage Watson's return carefully. They made it clear that they did not want to rush him back because with a two-match Test series looming they will need him fully fit. However, his importance in their line-up is apparent and they were willing to leave it to the absolute last minute before deciding on his availability for this match.

Watson was advised not to bowl for New South Wales during the Champions League T20 by Cricket Australia's medical team because of the workload he faces this season. Clarke said he is likely to return in his all-round capacity for Friday's crucial match. "I'm hoping he will be fine to bowl on Friday," he said. "I am very happy that he came out to bat and I think he will be fine."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ajayrcs on October 26, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Now Australia should not trun back and replace Watson with White instead Callum Ferguson or Phil Hughes should replace him

  • RandyOZ on October 26, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Drop Watson (injured) and Haddin (rubbish) ASAP. How is Haddin still in the team? He's the new Marcus North!

  • rienzied on October 26, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    time for Mitch Marsh to come to the party, bring in another batsman and PLEASE drop Steve Smith. He really is not up to international class, his technique is more like that of a schoolboy at times. He does play with plenty of heart but he is clearly out of his depth

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    I see all the fitter and tougher players opting for Rugby or Soccer...............

  • iftikhar93 on October 25, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    I reckon that Aussies should give some rest to Shane Watson, they can replace his top spot with Mike Hussey. He played a vital role for CSK in IPL 4 & CLt20 and I'm sure that he will not disappoint. Let Mitchell Marsh in the squad instead of Watson for the next ODI even if they are not satisfied with Steve Smith. Try to make some change..

  • Meety on October 25, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    @Nathan Kiely - mate since 1st January 2009 - MJ is the ONLY ODI bowler to have taken 100 wickets. No other pace bowler in the top 10 wicket takers has been as economical. He has taken his wickets at a world class S/R of 32. Luck has had NOTHING to do with it. HatsforBats is 100% right! His career stats in ODIs are amongst the best of all time 11th fastest bowler ever to have taken 150 ODI wickets, 19th best S/R of all time in ODIs, (of the bowlers with better S/Rates only 3 have taken more wickets). As was said - if you want to drop him, its the test team, NOT the ODI side!

  • Larawasbetta on October 25, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    Hope the selectors are smart. Rest Watson and S.Marsh. Tests victories are what count in the eyes of serious cricket fans. Like the look of M.Marsh - he's def up for the contest - love to see him go around again. Cummins took a pasting in g2 but has a resilient character from what i've seen domestically - worth another crack in the ODI. But i'd be wary of throwing him into the Test arena too quickly, despite his wicket taking ability. We've got to nuture this bloke.

  • Aussasinator on October 25, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    He has to be rested if he has to be enabled to realise his dream of being the next Australian captain in any format of the game. He can come back as opener, No. 4, whatever! His bowling of course is history now, which puts a lot of additional pressure on him to perform to stay in the side and ward off strong competition from Ricky Ponting for the opener's slot! :)

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    Watto needs some rest right now.......It's really necessary to give him rest bcus he is one of the key player in upcoming test series. If Marsh is fit give him a chance bcus he is in good form that we have seen during T20s. Otherwise let Haddin to open the batting & keep Punter on his right place in batting order. It's really risky to allow him to open the batting. Good luck Aussie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on October 25, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    @HatsforBats Mitchell Johnson is lucky to be carrying his ODI ranking thanks to some poor batting by Sri Lanka in the first 3 matches of their recent series, a weak batting line-up in Bangladesh and the fortune of being able to take 4 wickets against an under performing New Zealand and second rate Zimbabwe at the world cup (not taking away the fact that he did manage to take the wickets). His recent bowling form at test level has been appalling as he has troubled very few batsman and offered little test. I think there are better options available for the remainder of this tour. Johnson is a good bowler against poor batting, however, South Africa offer a formidable batting line up that will not be intimidated into throwing away their wickets, as has happened recently, by Johnson's pace.

    If you're going to criticise my comment, at least have the decency to know what you're talking about...

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