The Ashes 2013-14 November 6, 2013

Watson not yet ruled out of Gabba Test

  shares 46

Shane Watson may yet play in the opening Ashes Test after scans showed his hamstring injury was only a low-grade strain, but his chances depend on how he responds to "intense treatment and rehabilitation" over the coming days. Watson suffered the injury while bowling during Australia's final ODI in India on Saturday, less than three weeks before the Gabba Test.

His availability in Brisbane will have ramifications for the balance of Australia's side, for if he is ruled out or unable to bowl, the selectors would need to consider another allrounder to provide an extra bowling option. Watson remains confident he will be fit to bowl during the Test, but Australia's physio Alex Kountouris said much would depend on the next few days.

"Since returning home from India, Shane has been assessed and had scans on his injured left hamstring, which confirm a low-grade muscle strain," Kountouris said. "He will have intense treatment and rehabilitation in Sydney over the coming days and just how well he responds to this will determine how quickly he can resume full training and match preparation.

"It goes without saying that Shane and the medical team will be doing everything possible to get him fit and available for selection ahead of the first Test. We'll be assessing him on a daily basis and expect to have a clearer picture of his progress later in the week."

Whatever the case, Watson is unlikely to have any first-class cricket before the Ashes opener, given that New South Wales have only one more Sheffield Shield match - against Queensland in Brisbane starting next Wednesday - before the Test. Watson ended the Ashes tour of England with 176 at The Oval, which effectively locked him in as the incumbent No.3 for the start of the home series.

If Watson is fit to bat and bowl, he would be expected to remain at first drop with another batsman, perhaps the Tasmania captain George Bailey, to slot in down the order. However, should Watson be ruled out it might affect Bailey's chances of a Test debut, for he is considered a middle-order player rather than a batsman who could fit in the top three.

In that case, Bailey's Tasmania team-mate Alex Doolan might be considered for his first Test as the No.3, while James Faulkner may take the allrounder's role and Brad Haddin could move up to No.6. However, as well as Watson's recovery over the next few days, the coming week will also provide clarity on the form of several batting contenders, with three Shield matches and an Australia A v England tour game all starting on Wednesday.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ScottStevo on November 8, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    @Chris_P, apologies, oddly enough I included his tour games, which I'd envisage you'll be happy to accept ;-) Faulkner isn't up to test standard. Current form?! Aren't you looking at the prior season?!

  • cricketsubh on November 8, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    every one picking khawaja and huges to be picked i think both player is not reacdy for test cricket huges need to improve his leg side and also playing aganist the spinners .khawajw also need to improve playing spin to sucess in test cricket i think give some more year to devlop and then pick them but at the moment thy are not ready for test cricket .

  • cricketsubh on November 8, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    i pck doolan for watson for no3 and play berly at no6 spot.and plz clarke donot get ultra agresive set a diffrent field for batsmen and place a 3rd men for bell every one seen in last ashes bell score so many runs 3rd men .

  • brusselslion on November 7, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    @Mary_786 is right (at least, as far as this POM is concerned), I'll be happy if Watson plays no part in the forthcoming series.

    I can understand Aussie supporters' frustration with Watson: He's injured a lot - mind you, most of your players fit into that category - and he hasn't fulfilled his potential. He regularly gets out when apparantly set... but, as Mary points out, he does add balance to the team, as he's a quality bat and a more than useful bowler.

  • social_monster09 on November 7, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    If watto's not fit for the 1st test then silk is the better contender for his position but if he is fit to play: Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Bailey, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Harris, Lyon. Watson adds proper balance to the side. This is a perfect team combination of batsman & bowlers to blow up England 4-1

  • CricketChat on November 7, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Aussies need not worry much if Watson is missing from test line up. His loss may be felt more in ODIs and T20s. Having watched in the recent Ashes series, I felt he just doesn't have the patience to build an innings. Untimely shots cost him and his team dearly time and again. Bailey should be tried after his overwhelming success with bat on India ODI tour. As a bonus, he could take over captaincy reins if Clarke becomes unavailable.

  • Dazako on November 7, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Oz top 6. 1 Warner, ODI slogger, hit and miss player who is in good form. 2 Rogers, solid grafting player good temprement. 4 Clarke, pure class batsman. 5 Smith in good form lots of potential tendancy to swing bat at too much. As it stands positions 3&6 are up for grabs. Contenders are Bailey good ODI player but unteseted in long format, Watson, good allrounder great in ODI should not be playing tests unless fit to bowl, Faulkner another good allrounder better bowler than Watson and almost as good with the bat, but not a top 6 batsman (also ODI payer). With all but Clarke and Rogers and to some degree Smith we have more ODI specialists than test match batsman in our side we need more grit and graft in our order. I think Bailey could make it into the team at 6 as he has a good head on his shoulders and good temperament however we need someone who can bunker down and punch out a good innings in the team instead of another ODI player. Maybe Doolan or one out of the box Criss Lynn

  • sifter132 on November 7, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Watson baggers pile on! Look at Watson's Test career from his return in 2009. Those 2 years were very productive, averaging almost 50 with bat, taking 1-2 wickets per game at 30. That is top class. And yet Aussie Watson sceptics still wonder aloud why Watson keeps getting a go. Yes he had a quiet couple of years in 2011 and 2012. But Michael Clarke had a quiet couple of years in those years when Watson was hot - it happens! You can't blame the selectors for continuing to pick Watson when he showed he could be a good Test all-rounder over that time, and has continued to be one of the best white ball players in the world since he started opening in 2008. I say stop screwing around with his batting position and he might perform more regularly. It's no coincidence Watson's average starting dipping as soon as they starting moving him around.

  • Jagger on November 7, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    In the interests of Australian cricket, our Test side needs the best six batsmen this country can offer, our best wicketkeeper and our best four bowlers.

    'Variation' and 'balance' are the domain of champion sides, not those taking a punt on some mythological miracle to lift them from the current ranking of fifth, to first.

    The only time the best can be compromised is if none of the top 6 batsmen can bowl, because 5 bowlers is a necessity. I don't think Watson is a better option than Smith.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    @ScottStevo. If you going to quote stats, get them right. Watson averaged 41 in the Ashes, scoring nearly half of his runs in one innings, the other 9 innings he batted he averaged 27 runs (actually about his career average for the past 3 years) so not sure what balance he is adding. His bowling is containment mode, he is 32 & on the way out. Maxwell is not up to test standard, but Faulkner is, Henrques, if nothing else has current form. Current form, now that is a radical way to select players I would suggest?

  • ScottStevo on November 8, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    @Chris_P, apologies, oddly enough I included his tour games, which I'd envisage you'll be happy to accept ;-) Faulkner isn't up to test standard. Current form?! Aren't you looking at the prior season?!

  • cricketsubh on November 8, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    every one picking khawaja and huges to be picked i think both player is not reacdy for test cricket huges need to improve his leg side and also playing aganist the spinners .khawajw also need to improve playing spin to sucess in test cricket i think give some more year to devlop and then pick them but at the moment thy are not ready for test cricket .

  • cricketsubh on November 8, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    i pck doolan for watson for no3 and play berly at no6 spot.and plz clarke donot get ultra agresive set a diffrent field for batsmen and place a 3rd men for bell every one seen in last ashes bell score so many runs 3rd men .

  • brusselslion on November 7, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    @Mary_786 is right (at least, as far as this POM is concerned), I'll be happy if Watson plays no part in the forthcoming series.

    I can understand Aussie supporters' frustration with Watson: He's injured a lot - mind you, most of your players fit into that category - and he hasn't fulfilled his potential. He regularly gets out when apparantly set... but, as Mary points out, he does add balance to the team, as he's a quality bat and a more than useful bowler.

  • social_monster09 on November 7, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    If watto's not fit for the 1st test then silk is the better contender for his position but if he is fit to play: Warner, Rogers, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Bailey, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Harris, Lyon. Watson adds proper balance to the side. This is a perfect team combination of batsman & bowlers to blow up England 4-1

  • CricketChat on November 7, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Aussies need not worry much if Watson is missing from test line up. His loss may be felt more in ODIs and T20s. Having watched in the recent Ashes series, I felt he just doesn't have the patience to build an innings. Untimely shots cost him and his team dearly time and again. Bailey should be tried after his overwhelming success with bat on India ODI tour. As a bonus, he could take over captaincy reins if Clarke becomes unavailable.

  • Dazako on November 7, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    Oz top 6. 1 Warner, ODI slogger, hit and miss player who is in good form. 2 Rogers, solid grafting player good temprement. 4 Clarke, pure class batsman. 5 Smith in good form lots of potential tendancy to swing bat at too much. As it stands positions 3&6 are up for grabs. Contenders are Bailey good ODI player but unteseted in long format, Watson, good allrounder great in ODI should not be playing tests unless fit to bowl, Faulkner another good allrounder better bowler than Watson and almost as good with the bat, but not a top 6 batsman (also ODI payer). With all but Clarke and Rogers and to some degree Smith we have more ODI specialists than test match batsman in our side we need more grit and graft in our order. I think Bailey could make it into the team at 6 as he has a good head on his shoulders and good temperament however we need someone who can bunker down and punch out a good innings in the team instead of another ODI player. Maybe Doolan or one out of the box Criss Lynn

  • sifter132 on November 7, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    Watson baggers pile on! Look at Watson's Test career from his return in 2009. Those 2 years were very productive, averaging almost 50 with bat, taking 1-2 wickets per game at 30. That is top class. And yet Aussie Watson sceptics still wonder aloud why Watson keeps getting a go. Yes he had a quiet couple of years in 2011 and 2012. But Michael Clarke had a quiet couple of years in those years when Watson was hot - it happens! You can't blame the selectors for continuing to pick Watson when he showed he could be a good Test all-rounder over that time, and has continued to be one of the best white ball players in the world since he started opening in 2008. I say stop screwing around with his batting position and he might perform more regularly. It's no coincidence Watson's average starting dipping as soon as they starting moving him around.

  • Jagger on November 7, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    In the interests of Australian cricket, our Test side needs the best six batsmen this country can offer, our best wicketkeeper and our best four bowlers.

    'Variation' and 'balance' are the domain of champion sides, not those taking a punt on some mythological miracle to lift them from the current ranking of fifth, to first.

    The only time the best can be compromised is if none of the top 6 batsmen can bowl, because 5 bowlers is a necessity. I don't think Watson is a better option than Smith.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    @ScottStevo. If you going to quote stats, get them right. Watson averaged 41 in the Ashes, scoring nearly half of his runs in one innings, the other 9 innings he batted he averaged 27 runs (actually about his career average for the past 3 years) so not sure what balance he is adding. His bowling is containment mode, he is 32 & on the way out. Maxwell is not up to test standard, but Faulkner is, Henrques, if nothing else has current form. Current form, now that is a radical way to select players I would suggest?

  • ScottStevo on November 6, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    @Mitty2, disagree completely. Watson DOES add balance to our side as he stops our selectors looking for Henriques, Maxwell, Faulkner types, ie, those that aren't good enough in either discipline to warrant selection in a test side. There are loads here quick to dismiss Watson's abilities with the ball and say how horrible his stats are, but I thought he bowled very well in the last Ashes and was unlucky not to pick up a few more wickets and even opened the bowling. His batting form is a concern, but he averaged over 50 in the last series (for those that love to use stats to prove absolutely everything) even though he batted poorly and only made the one big score. Otherwise, in the last few years we've batted him up and down the order like a yo-yo which obviously didn't work. Top that off with his obv rift with Arthur, and its no wonder he's not batted well. If he's fit, he's a def in our top 6. Faulkner will be in contention after his ODI digs, but I pray we don't see him - and us lose

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on November 6, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    Has it never occurred to Watson that he's carrying a bit too much timber? He needs to shed a few kgs and he might be able to bowl without getting injured every 5 minutes. It's not that he's fat, but he is a very bulky guy and not a natural athlete. He's like a tank in the outfield. And as an England fan, I definitely don't see him as a match-winner for Australia. He's played in around 10-15 Ashes tests now and never played a part in a win for the Aussies. Mind you, not many of your current side have!

  • popcorn on November 6, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    Now do you see, Mr.James Sutherland, how the overdose of cricket through IPL and meaningless ODIs is affecting us? When will you ever learn? I hope Shane Watson can play, because we will have a settled side then with George Bailey at Number 6. I don't see James Faulkner as an allrounder in Test Cricket. Mitchell Johnson is our all rounder.So is Peter Siddle.Usman Khawajs should take Ricky Ponting's number 3, if Watson is injured.

  • on November 6, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    If Watson plays he will be out LBW for 25 twice, waste 2 reviews and have bowling figures of 1/20 and 0/25 from 20 overs in the match. Do we really need this from our no.3? In my opinion it makes more sense to have a proper no.3 like Khawaja or preferably Doolan, and if an allrounder is needed, have Faulkner bat at 6/7. He is far more likely to score under pressure, whether we need him to play a tough match winning innings if we are 100/5 chasing 200 for the win on day 5.. or if we need him to play an ODI style innings to boost our total quickly. Not only is he more likely to play an important innings, he is FAR more likely to take wickets than Watson. Oh, also, he is not injury prone like Watson, meaning he is a less risky selection and can bowl a high amount of overs with little risk of being injured. To me his selection is an absolute no-brainer.

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    @Mitty2 I think you, Beertjie & I are about the only ones who see the folly of selecting Watson after years of non contributions. If there is any better example of why one day & T20 form should never count towards test selction, Mr Shane Watson, take a bow! Seriously, when was the last time someone else been selected for test cricket when their batting average has been less than 30 & bowling 40+ for the 3 years previous? I was a big fan in his early days, but far, far too many disappointments to have faith any more.

  • on November 6, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    seriously cameron white should atleast be considered in the squad .he is in serious form and he can adjust to any level of cricket with the kind of experience he has got. he must be in the squad to be able to fill the middleorder slot.

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    @stormy16, well he said that in India and it failed miserably with a series of average of 16. Oh and I'm struggling to remember the last time Watson won us a test, if ever? Might have taken a few five fors here and there, but with the bat? No.

  • izzidole on November 6, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    If Watson is not fit to play in the first test then the obvious choice to take his place ofcourse is James Faulkner who is also quite an effective medium pacer and a hard hitting batsman. Then the problem would be who will bat at number three? I reckon Bailey should come in at number three since he is very good against fast bowlers and at the sametime has the patience to occupy the crease for a long time and despatch the bad balls to and over the boundary. He should try to bat the same way he does in the shorter version of the game but not take many risks. My team for the first test in batting order reads Warner, Rogers, Watson/Bailey, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Siddle, Harris and Lyon. 12th man Maxwell for his fine fielding if someone is off the field.

  • on November 6, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    If Watson is fit to Play:

    Rogers Warner Watson Clarke (c) Smith Bailey Haddin Johnson Siddle Harris Lyon

  • stormy16 on November 6, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @gregt123 - hit the nail on the head with the Mark Ealham theory. Eng tried and failed and I don't understand why Aus are obsessed with it now when in their glory days, there was no such player. They just played 7 batters and 4 bowlers and yes agreed, its easy to do that when you have Warne and Mcgrath as two of them! You cannot look for another Watto - there isn't one and Watto just about makes the cut. The rest or unlikely to win you a game with either skill on a consistent basis but play more a supporting role. I think the time has come for Aus to seriously consider Watto's future role. He is now a senior players but off the park too often due to the love affair with his bowling. Yes he is more than a handy bowler but it's costing him through injury. Aus right now need an experienced and reliable batter to support Clark and there are no obvious choices. Steve Smith looked as good as any I didn't think he would play test cricket! Watto could be the batter Aus are seeking.

  • CodandChips on November 6, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Rogers, Warner, Cowan, Clarke, Bailey (C), Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Coulter-Nile, Harris

    Oz will miss Watson's bowling control if he's unfit. Smith can cover as a spinner for Lyon but they would need 4 seamers in case Johnson misfires or Harris gets injured.

    If Watson's fit- Rogers, Warner, Watson, Clarke, Bailey (C), Smith, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Harris, Lyon

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 6, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    We will be OK, they might replace him with a batsman.....

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Edwards_Anderson; Your kidding aren't you with Lynn. Decent player but couldnt make the Queensland side for the first shield game. Surely you have to be in your states best XI before you make the Australian team.

  • Paul_Rampley on November 6, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Its a real shame Mcdonald isn't available as he would have been perfect as a replacement. I reckon Ronnie Mcdaonald will be lucky to ever bowl again…he tore his hammy from the bone …it has not healed ..he is not in for the next shield game either …if South oz get a few runs out of him this year …it will be a blessing …he is the wrong side of 32….it is a pity he was a good player…hopefulluy he gets on the park as a top order bat …starting to think Vics got the better of the deal …chuck swapped Christian for Mcdonald …Christian could also be a contender …depending on what you went for …he has played at international level before. Khawaja is the guy at first drop for me and i hope he smashes it when he gets his chance. Watson's injury shows how important he is to our makeup.

  • Sunil_Batra on November 6, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Henriques didn't bowl well today but he is a good allrounder to consider. He is a batting allrounder who bowls medium pace, quite similar to Watson and why he might be considered, though he would need to do some rather impressive business in the next few days to be considered. Hopes is a bowling allrounder anyway. He isn't a compelling choice for number 3, but if we are going to shorten our batting order and play a bowling allrounder at 7 a la the faulkner recommendations Hopes is a worthy candidate for that position.I wasn't pushing for his selection just stating that he is overlooked, He is an experienced leader and key player of a successful side, and therefore is surely worthy of consideration. For the number 3 Khawaja is still the best option for me but i agree that just like the other guys he needs to score a big one in this game. I say that whoever gets a big one in this game should get the number 3 node, its as simple as that, this is assuming Watson doesn't make it for Bribane

  • Beertjie on November 6, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Agree @Mitty2 on (November 6, 2013, 1:19 GMT) that his bowling is not too flash, but when Hilf broke down in Hobart last year who stepped up to the plate with 47.4 overs in that match? What if Ryano broke down at the Gabba? The big question is whether Faulkner can bat in the top 6. Throwing him in the deep end may provide the answer, but you can't blame the selectors and commentators here from having misgivers despite not being fans of Watto Not everyone has the boldness/foolishness (only hindsight can tell which) displayed in the comments of posted by Peter James Warrington on (November 6, 2013, 6:36 GMT). Tend to your view about Faulkner, @RightArmEverything on (November 6, 2013, 5:11 GMT). I see no reason not to have Doolan at #5 and Smith at #6. There's no reason to lock him into #3. A century at Hobart should surely ensure that he's at least in the squad. My sentiments concerning Bailey as well, @wellrounded87. At best he can make the squad but why must he play without 4 day form?

  • Edwards_Anderson on November 6, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    If Watson is ruled out my side would be: Rogers Warner Khawaja Clarke Smith Lynn Haddin Cutting Siddle Harris Lyon I have been impressed by Warner, Khawaja and Smith form throughout the Ryobi Cup and the hopefully the likes of Klinger, Khawaja get big runs in the Aus A game and if they maintain their form for the next couple of matches these guys will be good to go for the side for the first test. And i am sticking with Lyon, he again bowled well today, Fawad will come in but Lyon is our number 1 for the moment. Cutting can hopefully get some wickets tomorrow though its a batsman paradise there. I hope that Watson is fit and ready to play most of the series.

  • Clavers on November 6, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    I agree with Keeperwithabat. Watson brings a lot with the ball. His test bowling average is 30.9, comparable to a lot of specialist strike bowlers such a Brett Lee. And bear in mind that he is disadvantaged as a seamer that never gets the new ball.

    He bowls very good reverse and uses the old ball as well as anyone. He has the physique to step up his pace from medium when the situation requires, and throw in a good faster ball or bouncer. And although he doesn't usually bowl a lot of overs given his batting load and injury record, the option is there for the captain to bowl him more in the event of a long innings, a follow-on or if one of the specialist bowlers gets injured.

  • on November 6, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    gregt123 and the smashing of the "allrounder position" lingo, I am with you and against Inverarity on this!

  • aus_trad on November 6, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    "(If Watson) is ruled out or unable to bowl, the selectors would need to consider another allrounder to provide an extra bowling option". This implies the mistaken view that there is such a thing in a test team as the "all-rounder's position". True test all-rounders (and I include Watson in that category) come along in a country maybe once every 10-15 years. England didn't have one between Botham and Flintoff; but their ceaseless search for "the next Botham" led to them picking a number of "bits and pieces" players (remember Mark Ealham?) who did more harm than good. Four true, test-quality bowlers is enough: an all-rounder is a bonus, and the desire for one must never be allowed to affect the balance of the team. The simple criterion is that a player must always be good enough to be selected for his batting or bowling alone. BTW, I think Phil Hughes deserves more chances. He is still potentially a test great (unlike Bailey), and should be given the full series to prove himself.

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Anyone can add balance by just being there and bowling a stock ball again and again and again. Faulkner has far more striking ability with the ball so I repeat, what makes Watson a better choice than Faulkner? Because every selection panel will rave on about Watson's 'potential' (he's over 30) and maybe he made a meaningless score when the innings changed nothing in the course of the series or the match, i.e. his Oval ton. Faulkner too more wickets than Watson did in one test, than Watson did in five. Yes, that's right, Faulkner got triple the amount of wickets in one test than Watson did in five. So how exactly does Watson add balance? Because he's a class test batsman? No, he's a batsman in name, not performance. A batsman selected because of limited overs performance and because we're in our biggest batting slump since the mid 80s. The sooner Faulkner's in and Watson isn't the healthier Australian cricket becomes.

  • on November 6, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Jordan Silk. 3rd ton in 7 first class games. one in a shield final. cruising against the Rhino today. 21. get him in. bat him at 6. see how he goes. in ye olden days it would have happened without a second thought, and George Bailey would be playing grade.

    Australia need to win at least 1 and probably 2 of Gabba and WACA, so we can't go negative with allrounderism in the middle. we need attacking options, which means Harris, Ahmed and Johnson. Watson will play and should trundle 5 a day max. Smith and Warner should pretend to be Stacky Simmo Chappelli and chuck a few down. am not convinced re Siddle but he probably adds the solidity such an approach would require - tell you what, though, he went from only test #9 to score 50s in both digs to the worst 8-9 in the world real quickly.

    it looks like: Warner Rogers Watson Clarke Smith Silk Haddin (yikes) Johnson Siddle Harris Ahmed.

    ahead 2-1 after Perth and take stock, might be able to unleash pattinson or Cummins by then and smash 'em

  • Amith_S on November 6, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    I think Khawaja should come in if Watson can't bat at 3, but looking at the scorecards today Cowan is getting back in form and i wouldn't discount him out of the equation.

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    When it comes to selection for batting I think there should be a pecking order based on first class form (primarily), one-day international form has some weighting and Ryobi form no weighting at all (otherwise Finch would have played test cricket by now). My pecking order is guaranteed spots Rogers, Watson, Clark and Smith on latest test form. Next in line Hughes and Warner (only because its in AUstralia). That would be my top 6. Next line those closest to selection would be Khawaja, Doolan, Bailey and Voges. SO if Watson out top order player I would look at Khawaja or Doolan. The next line would include Cowan, Cosgrove, Klinger and White. Then comes Marsh, Fergusson. THe likes of Burns, Maddinson, Cooper and Silk all showing good early season form do not have enough form yet to be rated. This scale can quite easily change given performance ie Bailey has just come in to face Ryan Harris and the new ball if he does well there I could promote him to the top 6. This is just how I see it.

  • RightArmEverything on November 6, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    "the selectors would need to consider another allrounder to provide an extra bowling option." - Why? Watson should not be bowling as many overs as he did in the last Ashes anyway (unless a bowler was injured during the match). If he is unfit to bowl, Smith is underused and can get handy wickets and Warner could also be used. Haddin is a good no.7 but having him at 6 weakens the batting and I don't see Faulkner as a no.7 yet. Hughes and Khawaja should be given longer to prove themselves. Hughes' 81 n.o. in the 1st Test last Ashes was underrated batting with the tail. The 2nd test was a bad team batting performance, he was not alone in failing and should have kept his spot. Bailey and Doolan may do well if selected, and I would wish them well, but if they aren't instantly successful, will they be dropped quickly, and who will replace them? Probably Hughes or Khawaja again probably.

  • KeeperWithABat on November 6, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    While many people think Watson is a useless bowler because all he offers is good economy, I think he is much more. His stifling bowling helps create pressure on the batsmen, which helps out the strike bowlers to take more wickets. He's much more useful than people think.

  • tpjpower on November 6, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    Bailey should be given a chance at 6, even if Watson isn't fit to play. If Watson can't take the field, I'd like to see Khawaja in the team - though unfortunately that might mean dropping him (again!) when Watson returns. Ultimately, Australia's primary weakness is our batting, so we need to pick 6 fully equipped batsmen in every home Test (rather than an extra bowler who can bat, i.e. Faulkner). It's true that Bailey's FC record isn't great, but two caveats need to be considered: (1) wickets prepared for Tests are much more batsman-friendly than those used in the Shield; and (2) Bailey's ODI statistics suggest he is capable of delivering improved performances, commensurate with the level at which he is playing. The attack has to be Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Lyon.

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 6, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    I think Faulkner should play regardless of anyone else's fitness, ditto for Bailey. If Watson doesn't play, it is his batting that needs to be replaced, not his bowling, as he only bowls a handful of overs anyway. Who is the next cap off the rank if Watson is ruled out? Possibly Khawaja.

  • Jeremy303 on November 6, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Just had a glance at the QLD vs TAS shield live scorecard. TAS 0/92 with MARK COSGROVE on 55 n.o. Surely Mark Cosgrove has got to be a better option than Bailey. Maybe Bailey will score runs in this shield match too and state his case, but until he scores runs in 1st class Bailey should be behind Cosgrove for middle-top order test selection.

  • Jeremy303 on November 6, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Am I missing something here? How has Mark Cosgrove fallen off the radar again?? All this talk of Bailey, Faulkner and Doolan is quite perplexing and, at least to me, seems premature. Mark Cosgrove is the best option to slot into the middle or top order (and bowl a few overs of medium pace).

  • landl47 on November 6, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Even if Watson is declared fit, can Australia really risk him as a bowler? All he offers is economy- his 2-179 in the first series was useful in giving the other bowlers a rest, but didn't do much to bowl England out.

    Without him in the line-up, Australia has to choose between two batsmen who would be making their debuts (Bailey and Doolan), one with a very shaky record against England (Hughes) and an all-rounder with one test to his name (Faulkner) for two spots. A tricky choice. I think Faulkner has to play, but unless Clarke is willing to move up to #3, maybe Doolan gets the nod over Bailey. Hughes started well in India but tapered off and 1 run in his last 3 innings against England didn't inspire confidence.

    I'm sure all Australians will be holding their breath and hoping Watson's fit.

  • cricket_ahan on November 6, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    Bailey not playing in Brisbane would be as stupid a decision as Ashton Agar debuting in the first test in England. These selectors will be the end of good cricket from the Australian team, as will be top man Sutherland. Where is the sense in continuing to play out of form players when (ridiculously) in form players are waiting in the wings? Granted Bailey's runs have been in ODI cricket, but look at how he has played in those innings - with good temperament and poise. Bailey has the added appeal of possessing serious leadership ability, and will be good support for Clarke on that front. Hopefully Watson comes back, as I think he has an intimidation factor required in this Australian line-up (that is, if he can manage to not plonk his front pad in front of stumps all the time).

  • wellrounded87 on November 6, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    Unless Bailey impresses in the shield match against QLD i see no reason why he should be considered for the gabba test

  • Mary_786 on November 6, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    I think it doesn't matter whether you want Marsh, Khawaja or Doolan to come into the side, we all want watson to be fit because of the balance he adds to the side. If he is unfit i would love to see Khawaja given the full series but i do want Watson to come back fit because the POMs will be hoping he doesn't play.

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    But anyway, my preference would be to have Bailey at 6 and Doolan (if he doesn't perform in the A game we'll have to go Watson) at 3. An attack of MJ, Siddle, Harris and a much improved and more confident Lyon seem threatening enough to me to not need an all rounder, although the pace trio of MJ, Siddle and Harris when playing together have a bad record against England... But really we don't have any other standouts to take MJ's spot - Cutting bowled well this morning and beat the bat a lot but was down on his usual pace which is around 140km/h.

    If Watson is fit for the first test he will be selected though, and we can expect the same from him: look good in making 30, get LBW, review the decision, turns out hitting middle of middle, blame Clarke and say he wants to move batting positions at the expense of someone else. He then proceeds to have a press conference, talks about himself and then the only mention of the team is when he says Clarke's a big mean bully.

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    Not sure why everyone keeps chirping on about Watson's importance and 'balance' he adds to the team... He's just as injury prone as Ryan Harris and took like two wickets in 5 tests. What's so great about this dilemma is that Twatto's already tried the 'stick to batting' and it failed miserably and he knows himself that his bowling is the only reason he's in the side, but really, his bowling is not too flash. Faulkner's a tougher cricketer, about 1000 times more devoted to the team and of course has more of a wicket taking ability than Shane. His batting has also come on in leaps and bounds and guess, what, Faulkner scores the tough runs under pressure. Watson has never scored a run under pressure in his life. If we're going to persist with an all rounder, why not go for the one who's not a divisive and selfish figure, the one with more potential and the one who's a better bowler and more dependable with the bat? (Dependable I mean not scoring runs only in dead rubbers against Kerrigan)

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    Not sure why everyone keeps chirping on about Watson's importance and 'balance' he adds to the team... He's just as injury prone as Ryan Harris and took like two wickets in 5 tests. What's so great about this dilemma is that Twatto's already tried the 'stick to batting' and it failed miserably and he knows himself that his bowling is the only reason he's in the side, but really, his bowling is not too flash. Faulkner's a tougher cricketer, about 1000 times more devoted to the team and of course has more of a wicket taking ability than Shane. His batting has also come on in leaps and bounds and guess, what, Faulkner scores the tough runs under pressure. Watson has never scored a run under pressure in his life. If we're going to persist with an all rounder, why not go for the one who's not a divisive and selfish figure, the one with more potential and the one who's a better bowler and more dependable with the bat? (Dependable I mean not scoring runs only in dead rubbers against Kerrigan)

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    But anyway, my preference would be to have Bailey at 6 and Doolan (if he doesn't perform in the A game we'll have to go Watson) at 3. An attack of MJ, Siddle, Harris and a much improved and more confident Lyon seem threatening enough to me to not need an all rounder, although the pace trio of MJ, Siddle and Harris when playing together have a bad record against England... But really we don't have any other standouts to take MJ's spot - Cutting bowled well this morning and beat the bat a lot but was down on his usual pace which is around 140km/h.

    If Watson is fit for the first test he will be selected though, and we can expect the same from him: look good in making 30, get LBW, review the decision, turns out hitting middle of middle, blame Clarke and say he wants to move batting positions at the expense of someone else. He then proceeds to have a press conference, talks about himself and then the only mention of the team is when he says Clarke's a big mean bully.

  • Mary_786 on November 6, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    I think it doesn't matter whether you want Marsh, Khawaja or Doolan to come into the side, we all want watson to be fit because of the balance he adds to the side. If he is unfit i would love to see Khawaja given the full series but i do want Watson to come back fit because the POMs will be hoping he doesn't play.

  • wellrounded87 on November 6, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    Unless Bailey impresses in the shield match against QLD i see no reason why he should be considered for the gabba test

  • cricket_ahan on November 6, 2013, 2:42 GMT

    Bailey not playing in Brisbane would be as stupid a decision as Ashton Agar debuting in the first test in England. These selectors will be the end of good cricket from the Australian team, as will be top man Sutherland. Where is the sense in continuing to play out of form players when (ridiculously) in form players are waiting in the wings? Granted Bailey's runs have been in ODI cricket, but look at how he has played in those innings - with good temperament and poise. Bailey has the added appeal of possessing serious leadership ability, and will be good support for Clarke on that front. Hopefully Watson comes back, as I think he has an intimidation factor required in this Australian line-up (that is, if he can manage to not plonk his front pad in front of stumps all the time).

  • landl47 on November 6, 2013, 2:54 GMT

    Even if Watson is declared fit, can Australia really risk him as a bowler? All he offers is economy- his 2-179 in the first series was useful in giving the other bowlers a rest, but didn't do much to bowl England out.

    Without him in the line-up, Australia has to choose between two batsmen who would be making their debuts (Bailey and Doolan), one with a very shaky record against England (Hughes) and an all-rounder with one test to his name (Faulkner) for two spots. A tricky choice. I think Faulkner has to play, but unless Clarke is willing to move up to #3, maybe Doolan gets the nod over Bailey. Hughes started well in India but tapered off and 1 run in his last 3 innings against England didn't inspire confidence.

    I'm sure all Australians will be holding their breath and hoping Watson's fit.

  • Jeremy303 on November 6, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Am I missing something here? How has Mark Cosgrove fallen off the radar again?? All this talk of Bailey, Faulkner and Doolan is quite perplexing and, at least to me, seems premature. Mark Cosgrove is the best option to slot into the middle or top order (and bowl a few overs of medium pace).

  • Jeremy303 on November 6, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    Just had a glance at the QLD vs TAS shield live scorecard. TAS 0/92 with MARK COSGROVE on 55 n.o. Surely Mark Cosgrove has got to be a better option than Bailey. Maybe Bailey will score runs in this shield match too and state his case, but until he scores runs in 1st class Bailey should be behind Cosgrove for middle-top order test selection.

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 6, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    I think Faulkner should play regardless of anyone else's fitness, ditto for Bailey. If Watson doesn't play, it is his batting that needs to be replaced, not his bowling, as he only bowls a handful of overs anyway. Who is the next cap off the rank if Watson is ruled out? Possibly Khawaja.

  • tpjpower on November 6, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    Bailey should be given a chance at 6, even if Watson isn't fit to play. If Watson can't take the field, I'd like to see Khawaja in the team - though unfortunately that might mean dropping him (again!) when Watson returns. Ultimately, Australia's primary weakness is our batting, so we need to pick 6 fully equipped batsmen in every home Test (rather than an extra bowler who can bat, i.e. Faulkner). It's true that Bailey's FC record isn't great, but two caveats need to be considered: (1) wickets prepared for Tests are much more batsman-friendly than those used in the Shield; and (2) Bailey's ODI statistics suggest he is capable of delivering improved performances, commensurate with the level at which he is playing. The attack has to be Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Lyon.