SL Board XI v Australians, Colombo August 24, 2011

Watson concerns put toilers in pace frame

33

Australian concerns about the workload of Shane Watson over an unprecedented three back-to-back Tests may yet allow the pace toilers Peter Siddle and Trent Copeland to jump the queue for selection in Sri Lanka.

As the tourists considered the risks of fielding two fledgling spin bowlers against the Sri Lankans on what is expected to be a turning pitch in Galle next week, the captain Michael Clarke said his deputy Watson would not be overbowled as a third seamer if two slow bowlers were chosen. The tour schedule is so cramped that Australia play three back-to-back Test matches for the first time in history.

Such a selection would be counterbalanced, Clarke said, by the selection of pace bowlers capable of long spells, placing Siddle and Copeland firmly in the frame. Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, arguably Australia's two most incisive fast bowlers, can be better suited to shorter bursts. Harris is also returning to the Test team after a broken ankle, and has not played first-class cricket since he suffered the injury in last year's Melbourne Ashes Test.

"No doubt it's a concern," Clarke said. "It is a positive we have Watto and we know he can bowl, he's got some good bowling in the one-dayers, but no doubt he's a huge player for us, opening the batting is a big role as well.

"I don't want to blow him out in the first Test, knowing we've got three very important Test matches so there's some concern if we decided to go with two spinners about how heavy his workload would be. But then it also depends on the two other quicks you pick as well.

"If you go with two spinners, the two fast bowlers' role becomes very important, because you have to have someone there who can bowl you some overs. It really is determined by conditions and picking the best bowling unit. When we're picking this team, it's about who we think are going to take 20 wickets, and what is the best combination to do that, not necessarily who are the best four individual bowlers to bowl."

There is little consideration being given as yet to Watson's shift down the batting order, particularly after Simon Katich was so harshly sacrificed by the selectors. This was apparently done to establish Watson and Phil Hughes as a settled opening partnership ahead of the next Ashes series.

"He's been so good at the top of the order, so I don't think it would be smart to move him right now, who knows what may happen in the future," Clarke said. "On one side he's probably going to find it a bit harder opening the batting if he's bowling a lot more, but the other side of it is if he comes off the field after bowling, it generally takes a bit of time for your body to stiffen up, so it might be better for him to get out there and keep playing.

"It's important me and Watto continue to communicate and we'll see how he's travelling and what his thoughts are. Right now he's loving opening the batting and he's a big player for us, he's our vice-captain, and I want him scoring runs, so if he's happy with that right now, then we'll keep him there."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on August 26, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    [cont] - 4. Gets out just before or after milestones (in the 40s or 90s). This is why I didn't want him to be the vice captain or captain. To be an allrounder he needs to be able to bat & bowl. Therefor logic would dictate that he bats lower in the order, HOWEVER, he has clearly been one of Oz better players, & for the time being needs to stay opening the innings until another good NSW opener comes along like Maddinson, Katich (again), or Warner!!!! LOL!!! Seriously though I really meant until ANY other good opener comes along. We need our openers do what haydos, slater, langar, taylor & boonie did - that is when in, score big. I tend to think that one day, something will just CLICK with Watto & he will epically destroy attacks all round the world. At the moment I think he is soft mentally, he doesn't have great match awareness. At the moment he is expected to open the batting, bowl 10 overs a day at least, & be the vice captain, all whilst not fully developed as a cricketer! Jeez!!!!!

  • HatsforBats on August 26, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    @ Hyclass: you're probably right, I'm not going to contest any theory with Bradman involved : ) Let's just agree we want to see Watson converting those 50's to 100's.

  • hyclass on August 26, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    Lets agree to disagree@HatsforBats...in my experience,the mental fatigue you are describing is caused by loss of electolytes due to physical fatigue.I recall reading the SA captain discussing how,at the end of an extremely hot day,Bradman had only a tiny dot of sweat on his shirt back and still looked fresh as he jogged off after making 299*,while all around were exhausted and sweat soaked.Bradman pointed to many players around him,whom he considered were as good,but lacked the concentration and mental stamina.I have always felt that his amazing concentration was due to his rare gift of hardly sweating and his bodies outstanding endurance,that wore all around him down.This allowed his mental faculties to remain sharp in all circumstances.He was described as a genius with a head for business,who would be running the second hard at the end of the day on the chance of a misfield and an extra run and if players today could see it,they would be better for it.Endurance is heavily underrated.

  • HatsforBats on August 25, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    @ Hyclass: I think you misunderstood my post re: Watson. I agree he does get fatigued, but I believe it is more mentally not physically, and that it is brought on by curbing his natural offensive play because he feels the responsibility to stay at the crease. His SR of 50 indicates that he is playing within his "natural" style, or rather the style we see him displaying in ODI's and T20. I am suspect on his lack of aerobic fitness; he doesn't do weights anymore and I believe he mostly does plyometric and stretching work, and the reason you won't see him run at full pace is due to his previous hamstring injuries. His fatigue during the 185* in Bangladesh was after fielding/bowling in humid conditions, it would happen to most players.

  • hyclass on August 25, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Did you even read my blog @VivGilchrist? I use words like admire,appreciate and gifted to describe Watson.There is no attempt to denigrate him.His test S/R IS 50-a fact-not an opinion.Thats 1 more run per hundred balls than Katich.I have stated here that any side without him would be unbalanced and that in light of his physical limits and well publicised propensity to injury,a well prepared selector or coach would make contingency plans.I use the caveat that he should be recognised and accepted as a great player with stamina limitations,whose innings fall into easily identifiable patterns.Its supported with his own words.This article addresses that very factor and Clarkes concerns are about that subject.@KingPie demonstrates a similar position in describing the same approach being used for Kallis.Some believe that he suffers nerves nearing a hundred.Ive never seen signs of nerves and believe mental fatigue caused by physical exertion is the explanation that best covers all the facts.

  • VivGilchrist on August 25, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    KingPie, ....and where does Kallis bat, at 4. What do you think of that othello22?

  • BellCurve on August 25, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Kallis is also a big unit and like Watson he can crank up the pace to around 140km/h (even at the ripe old age of 36). SA have managed him very carefully for many years. If he scores big he doesn't bowl much; and if he is dismissed cheaply, his bowling workload is often increased, particularly when the conditions favour swing/seam. Australia should take notes. That is the only way to manage an extremely talented batting allrounder. No-one is capable of taking on a full batting a full bowling responsibility. The only exceptions in the history of the game are Sobers and Faulkner, but neither of them bowled anywhere near 140 km/h.

  • Mervo on August 25, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Not Siddle please! He is hopeless and exactly the sort of bowler they will play. Us Copeland for the next 10 years. he is that good.

  • othello22 on August 25, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    I find it hilarious that even now, there is still a noisy chorus of lunacy ranting and raving in the background about how Watson is not an opener and how he should bat at 6. Are you people serious? This guy's success at opening the batting is about the only positive thing to come out of Australian cricket for the last two years. I don't care how good a bowler he is, he is a genuine batsman (not to mention currently our best and most consistent batsman) and demoting him down the order now would make even the dumping of Simon Katich look like a masterpiece of progressive thinking. It's not broke. Don't fix it. There are plenty of things going on in Aussie cricket that need fixing, but Watto opening the batting is not one of them. Give it a rest.

  • VivGilchrist on August 25, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Wow hyclass! You must be an awesome cricketer yourself to so easily criticize Watto the way you do. The guy averages over 40 with the bat, opens the innings, never drops a catch, and 31 with the ball. Name one Aussie allrounder of the past 30years in test cricket who would even be worthy of carrying Wattos bags?

  • Meety on August 26, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    [cont] - 4. Gets out just before or after milestones (in the 40s or 90s). This is why I didn't want him to be the vice captain or captain. To be an allrounder he needs to be able to bat & bowl. Therefor logic would dictate that he bats lower in the order, HOWEVER, he has clearly been one of Oz better players, & for the time being needs to stay opening the innings until another good NSW opener comes along like Maddinson, Katich (again), or Warner!!!! LOL!!! Seriously though I really meant until ANY other good opener comes along. We need our openers do what haydos, slater, langar, taylor & boonie did - that is when in, score big. I tend to think that one day, something will just CLICK with Watto & he will epically destroy attacks all round the world. At the moment I think he is soft mentally, he doesn't have great match awareness. At the moment he is expected to open the batting, bowl 10 overs a day at least, & be the vice captain, all whilst not fully developed as a cricketer! Jeez!!!!!

  • HatsforBats on August 26, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    @ Hyclass: you're probably right, I'm not going to contest any theory with Bradman involved : ) Let's just agree we want to see Watson converting those 50's to 100's.

  • hyclass on August 26, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    Lets agree to disagree@HatsforBats...in my experience,the mental fatigue you are describing is caused by loss of electolytes due to physical fatigue.I recall reading the SA captain discussing how,at the end of an extremely hot day,Bradman had only a tiny dot of sweat on his shirt back and still looked fresh as he jogged off after making 299*,while all around were exhausted and sweat soaked.Bradman pointed to many players around him,whom he considered were as good,but lacked the concentration and mental stamina.I have always felt that his amazing concentration was due to his rare gift of hardly sweating and his bodies outstanding endurance,that wore all around him down.This allowed his mental faculties to remain sharp in all circumstances.He was described as a genius with a head for business,who would be running the second hard at the end of the day on the chance of a misfield and an extra run and if players today could see it,they would be better for it.Endurance is heavily underrated.

  • HatsforBats on August 25, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    @ Hyclass: I think you misunderstood my post re: Watson. I agree he does get fatigued, but I believe it is more mentally not physically, and that it is brought on by curbing his natural offensive play because he feels the responsibility to stay at the crease. His SR of 50 indicates that he is playing within his "natural" style, or rather the style we see him displaying in ODI's and T20. I am suspect on his lack of aerobic fitness; he doesn't do weights anymore and I believe he mostly does plyometric and stretching work, and the reason you won't see him run at full pace is due to his previous hamstring injuries. His fatigue during the 185* in Bangladesh was after fielding/bowling in humid conditions, it would happen to most players.

  • hyclass on August 25, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Did you even read my blog @VivGilchrist? I use words like admire,appreciate and gifted to describe Watson.There is no attempt to denigrate him.His test S/R IS 50-a fact-not an opinion.Thats 1 more run per hundred balls than Katich.I have stated here that any side without him would be unbalanced and that in light of his physical limits and well publicised propensity to injury,a well prepared selector or coach would make contingency plans.I use the caveat that he should be recognised and accepted as a great player with stamina limitations,whose innings fall into easily identifiable patterns.Its supported with his own words.This article addresses that very factor and Clarkes concerns are about that subject.@KingPie demonstrates a similar position in describing the same approach being used for Kallis.Some believe that he suffers nerves nearing a hundred.Ive never seen signs of nerves and believe mental fatigue caused by physical exertion is the explanation that best covers all the facts.

  • VivGilchrist on August 25, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    KingPie, ....and where does Kallis bat, at 4. What do you think of that othello22?

  • BellCurve on August 25, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Kallis is also a big unit and like Watson he can crank up the pace to around 140km/h (even at the ripe old age of 36). SA have managed him very carefully for many years. If he scores big he doesn't bowl much; and if he is dismissed cheaply, his bowling workload is often increased, particularly when the conditions favour swing/seam. Australia should take notes. That is the only way to manage an extremely talented batting allrounder. No-one is capable of taking on a full batting a full bowling responsibility. The only exceptions in the history of the game are Sobers and Faulkner, but neither of them bowled anywhere near 140 km/h.

  • Mervo on August 25, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Not Siddle please! He is hopeless and exactly the sort of bowler they will play. Us Copeland for the next 10 years. he is that good.

  • othello22 on August 25, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    I find it hilarious that even now, there is still a noisy chorus of lunacy ranting and raving in the background about how Watson is not an opener and how he should bat at 6. Are you people serious? This guy's success at opening the batting is about the only positive thing to come out of Australian cricket for the last two years. I don't care how good a bowler he is, he is a genuine batsman (not to mention currently our best and most consistent batsman) and demoting him down the order now would make even the dumping of Simon Katich look like a masterpiece of progressive thinking. It's not broke. Don't fix it. There are plenty of things going on in Aussie cricket that need fixing, but Watto opening the batting is not one of them. Give it a rest.

  • VivGilchrist on August 25, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    Wow hyclass! You must be an awesome cricketer yourself to so easily criticize Watto the way you do. The guy averages over 40 with the bat, opens the innings, never drops a catch, and 31 with the ball. Name one Aussie allrounder of the past 30years in test cricket who would even be worthy of carrying Wattos bags?

  • on August 25, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Watto has to bowl. He is definatly one of our best bowlers at the moment and hence he needs to bowl. If this means he can't open the batting then so be it, we have other options when it comes to opening batsment but not when it comes to fast bowlers

  • notvery on August 25, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    2 quicks- siddle + 1 other, 2 spinners - take your pick. + watto. if 4 frontline bowlers cant win you the game then 5 wont either. 2 spinners should be able to soak up enough overs with wickets to ease the quicks life.

  • hyclass on August 25, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    His test S/R along with his lack of conversion,tell against your theory @HatsforBats.His dismissals also indicate the same.He is usually out attacking,not defending.His last ODI innings had all the hallmarks-56 from 27.5 overs,or less than one session,caught,attacking. He also has a history of injury related to his overly muscled physique. His greater success has been since he modified and limited his weight training. That kind of muscle is well known to limit aerobic stamina and contribute to mental fatigue.He stated publicly,after his 185*,that he played that way during that game,because he was too exhausted to run and thought he might just have a go.Against Bangladesh,it worked,but stronger attacks,different results. I think its indicative of his self awareness.His batting weaknesses are driving in the air around point and hitting across the line to leg.Otherwise,its mental lapses while on top and attacking. I see fatigue as the explanation that best covers all the known facts.

  • RandyOZ on August 25, 2011, 3:30 GMT

    @Steve Gregory, that was a terrible comment. I think if anyone is dedicated to playing for his country it is Watto. You don't win AB medals being a flash in the pan player who chases money. As for the 2 spin option. I am not completely against it but I would agree with the article that Siddle or Copeland would have to play IF this option was chosen. As much as I like Mitch and Harris they can't sustain long spells so one of these other two would have to play. I know I am sounding like a broken record, but how the hell is O'Keefe not in this squad? Convey to CA anyone?

  • AidanFX on August 25, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    The selectors need to get the spin thing right. Can't believe they are thinking Marsh ahead of Khwaja - get the batting right; ease the reliance on Watson. I think three seemers is the way to go ultimately.

  • HatsforBats on August 25, 2011, 2:58 GMT

    @ Hyclass: I agree with your comments about Watson's fatigue problem, but he also has a few 90's to go with those centuries. I think he struggles with the responsibility to be at the crease for a few sessions and curbing his natural aggression which reduces his impact as an attacking option. I think the perception of him as attacking is well served in that he can absolutely dominate and take a session away from the opposition. All in all I still believe he would be better placed coming in at 3, 4 or 5 and I hope with the retirement of Hussey & Ponting that it happens.

  • HatsforBats on August 25, 2011, 2:52 GMT

    I don't see the problem in playing an extended squad over the course of the series i.e. resting Harris between matches. @ Hyclass and @ jonesy: I agree that someone like North, D.Hussey or Katich would be of great value, and I would much prefer their bowling over Beer who was just absolutely massacred by the young Indian side. If they would just pick O'Keefe we could all stop discussing it.

  • VivGilchrist on August 25, 2011, 2:08 GMT

    I think this highlights why Watto would be better suited down the order. Why halve his value opening the innings?

  • on August 25, 2011, 1:34 GMT

    Whats going to happen with Watson is he will blow out, stop scoring runs an bowl poorly an will get dropped an never play again because he just wants play an keep getting the paycheck regardless of the consequenses.What the captain an selecters need to do is grow some balls an say right Watto your batting at six an hughes an whoeva open end of story

  • hyclass on August 25, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    Watson has all the gifts that any cricketer could hope for,except stamina.I admire his game but recognise its limitations.His muscular physique drains energy from his body faster than a naturally athletic person.He is perceived as an attacking opener,yet his S/R is 50,barely beyond Katich.In his first 45 minutes at the crease,he attacks.He loses energy after this time and slows up.He begins to struggle around 90 minutes and is often out to what appears a mental lapse,inside the first session.His score at this time usually varies between 30 and 60.I doubt the idea that he holds himself in reserve for bowling.His 2 centuries have required multiple dropped catches and have only reached 126.He should be appreciated for what he is.His ommission will unbalance the side.I find it surprising that contingencies werent in place when the side was selected,given Watsons history.If O'Keefe was on tour,it would add options,given his batting.A North as a bowling allrounder.Even D.Husseys bowling.

  • D.V.C. on August 24, 2011, 23:54 GMT

    Simon Katich batting at 6 would have made an excellent second spin option. Just saying.

  • on August 24, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    as a well wisher of the australlian cricket team, I am of the firm view that watto should play down the order and aussies should try to bring in a batsmen who is much techncially sound. hayden and Langer were sucessfull at the top not because they were mentally strong and physically built.They shone at the top because they were techncially sound, watson suffers from few infirmites like his ability to handle swing and spin. His tempermant also has come in question has his conversion rate is bad. No wonder he stood tall as a opener in 2010, however there is a difference between opening in Tests and ODI's.Shane should bat @ 6 and should do what symmo and gilchrist did so well for australlia.Thats a position where you can take the ame away from the opposition by way of attacking play.

  • montys_muse on August 24, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    I think Watson should be sent in at no. 6 and be used as a genuine all rounder rather than converting him to batsman who can bowl.....marsh can be sent in as an opener with hughes.....katich and marsh wud have been ideal...

  • on August 24, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    The thing is that they have no viable alternatives at this time. Hughes himself hasn't really stamped his authority in the opening role. Ideally u wud want him @ 5 or 6 with an increased bowling workload. But with Watson, I doubt whether he'l ever feel comfortable bowling more than 10 overs a day

  • Advance-Australia-Fair on August 24, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    This is picky, and not relevant to the main point of the article, but South Africa played three Tests back-to-back on their tour of Australia in 2008-09. The first Test, in Perth, was shifted back a week to accomodate the Champions League or something.

  • jonesy2 on August 24, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    there is no need to go crazy with spinners just because the pitch is turning, see this is where marcus north is a brilliant player to have. its about the psychology of the fast bowlers, they need to be expecting to get something out of the pitch and be confident of dominating. as far as watto goes, yeah, just manage him well for gods sake dont overwork him.

  • on August 24, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Bottom line is watson is a Batsman 1st and his main job is to score as many runs as he can. He has been too worried about workload of late that it may be a reason for him getting out in the 50's all the time when he knows he has to still bowl, it must be playing on his mind and affecting concentration. I'm definetely not saying for him to stop bowling, but the workload does have to be managed. U can replace watsons bowling, but its harder to replace his good batting.

  • popcorn on August 24, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    Excellent thinking,Pup! Remind the Sri Lankans of their 3 nil whitewash in 2004.

  • bobagorof on August 24, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    I would have thought the primary reason to pick 2 spinners is that you believe the pitch will take turn and you expect the spinners to bowl most of the overs. Then you can rotate your fast bowlers with the new ball and for short incisive spells. To pick 2 spinners and then bowl mainly pace doesn't make sense. So I see no problem with having Watson bowling a few 6-7 over spells during the day and getting through 20-25 overs in an innings, with the other bowlers contributing 30 if needs be.

  • katandthat3 on August 24, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Maybe in SL conditions Johnson, Harris, Copeland and Lyon might be the better options with Watto to add some overs (Hussey too but that could be a bad sign if we get to him!). Not sure if Clarke will put his fitness and dodgy back under pressure with a few overs but they would be handy too. Siddle might be more suited to the SA tracks but see what happens in the tour match. SL have some interesting options as well. They have about 4 or 5 spinners to choose from that would be a handful while their quicks are handy as well. The young one Eranga has impressed, Lakmal isn't bad, with Matthews to add some overs like Watson. P Jaywardene is also a bonus to the batting order, was impressed the way he batted against the Poms in their UK tour. I'll be pretty surprised if this series doesn't go the wire. If the Aussies can get a good result first up in Galle, that will be a huge boost. Ponting looks pretty good, I don't think a big one is far away and we'll need it.

  • Dashgar on August 24, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    I think Siddle has to play no matter what the composition of the bowling attack is. He was consistently our best pace bowler against England and is capable of long spells as either an attacking or defensive bowler. He's perfect for the sub-continent and I'd have him ahead of Johnson any day.

  • Meety on August 24, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    Are they saying that Watto's workload is already heavy or just that it MAY get heavy??? He didn't bowl too much in the ODIs.

  • onlinegamer55 on August 24, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    I think it would have been far better to move Katich to No. 6 and let Watto and Hughes open the batting for Australia instead of removing Katich from the contract list. The selectors were obviously muddled and didn't know that they were going to axe Steve Smith. Marsh is certainly nowhere near as good as Katich and Usman Khawaja is a fine young cricketer but also needs time before we can say he is as good as Katich.

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  • onlinegamer55 on August 24, 2011, 11:02 GMT

    I think it would have been far better to move Katich to No. 6 and let Watto and Hughes open the batting for Australia instead of removing Katich from the contract list. The selectors were obviously muddled and didn't know that they were going to axe Steve Smith. Marsh is certainly nowhere near as good as Katich and Usman Khawaja is a fine young cricketer but also needs time before we can say he is as good as Katich.

  • Meety on August 24, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    Are they saying that Watto's workload is already heavy or just that it MAY get heavy??? He didn't bowl too much in the ODIs.

  • Dashgar on August 24, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    I think Siddle has to play no matter what the composition of the bowling attack is. He was consistently our best pace bowler against England and is capable of long spells as either an attacking or defensive bowler. He's perfect for the sub-continent and I'd have him ahead of Johnson any day.

  • katandthat3 on August 24, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Maybe in SL conditions Johnson, Harris, Copeland and Lyon might be the better options with Watto to add some overs (Hussey too but that could be a bad sign if we get to him!). Not sure if Clarke will put his fitness and dodgy back under pressure with a few overs but they would be handy too. Siddle might be more suited to the SA tracks but see what happens in the tour match. SL have some interesting options as well. They have about 4 or 5 spinners to choose from that would be a handful while their quicks are handy as well. The young one Eranga has impressed, Lakmal isn't bad, with Matthews to add some overs like Watson. P Jaywardene is also a bonus to the batting order, was impressed the way he batted against the Poms in their UK tour. I'll be pretty surprised if this series doesn't go the wire. If the Aussies can get a good result first up in Galle, that will be a huge boost. Ponting looks pretty good, I don't think a big one is far away and we'll need it.

  • bobagorof on August 24, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    I would have thought the primary reason to pick 2 spinners is that you believe the pitch will take turn and you expect the spinners to bowl most of the overs. Then you can rotate your fast bowlers with the new ball and for short incisive spells. To pick 2 spinners and then bowl mainly pace doesn't make sense. So I see no problem with having Watson bowling a few 6-7 over spells during the day and getting through 20-25 overs in an innings, with the other bowlers contributing 30 if needs be.

  • popcorn on August 24, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    Excellent thinking,Pup! Remind the Sri Lankans of their 3 nil whitewash in 2004.

  • on August 24, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Bottom line is watson is a Batsman 1st and his main job is to score as many runs as he can. He has been too worried about workload of late that it may be a reason for him getting out in the 50's all the time when he knows he has to still bowl, it must be playing on his mind and affecting concentration. I'm definetely not saying for him to stop bowling, but the workload does have to be managed. U can replace watsons bowling, but its harder to replace his good batting.

  • jonesy2 on August 24, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    there is no need to go crazy with spinners just because the pitch is turning, see this is where marcus north is a brilliant player to have. its about the psychology of the fast bowlers, they need to be expecting to get something out of the pitch and be confident of dominating. as far as watto goes, yeah, just manage him well for gods sake dont overwork him.

  • Advance-Australia-Fair on August 24, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    This is picky, and not relevant to the main point of the article, but South Africa played three Tests back-to-back on their tour of Australia in 2008-09. The first Test, in Perth, was shifted back a week to accomodate the Champions League or something.

  • on August 24, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    The thing is that they have no viable alternatives at this time. Hughes himself hasn't really stamped his authority in the opening role. Ideally u wud want him @ 5 or 6 with an increased bowling workload. But with Watson, I doubt whether he'l ever feel comfortable bowling more than 10 overs a day