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Watson granted longer rest

Daniel Brettig

January 16, 2014

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Chris Jordan bowled Shane Watson with one that came back to hit off stump, Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne, January 12, 2014
Shane Watson will get an extended rest after falling cheaply in the first ODI © AFP

A fatigued Shane Watson will miss the majority of the ODI series against England after being granted a longer period of rest than first planned by Australia's selectors. Originally slated to return to the limited overs squad for the SCG match on Sunday after missing Friday's Gabba fixture, Watson will now be absent until the final match, in Adelaide on January 26.

To cover for Watson's absence, the Victoria and Brisbane Heat allrounder Daniel Christian has been recalled to the ODI team for his first taste of international cricket since the being part of the squad for the most recent World Twenty20 event in Sri Lanka in 2012.

Watson suffered a groin strain on day one of the Boxing Day Ashes Test, and while he was rehabilitated successfully enough to take part in the rest of that match and also the final Test at the SCG, the coach Darren Lehmann said it had been decided that he needs additional time to recharge ahead of a challenging Test match assignment in South Africa following the England matches.

Evidence of this was clear for all in the first ODI at the MCG, where Watson bowled five expensive overs and was dismissed for a duck.

"Given Shane's workload in the past 12 months we consider it would be beneficial for him to have a longer break and continue his training program at home in Sydney ahead of the final ODI and the tour of South Africa," Lehmann said. "Dan Christian, who has been in excellent form in recent weeks, has been added to the ODI Squad to provide an all-round option in Shane's absence."

Australia's management of Watson has been careful this summer, aimed at extracting the most out of the allrounder in between his frequent injury lay-offs. A hamstring complaint during the ODI tour of India that preceded the Ashes had reduced his ability to bowl at top pace early in the series, though he still contributed useful spells in addition to his batting.

The addition of the team doctor Peter Brukner to Australia's support staff has been hugely significant for Watson's progress, his expertise and use of dry needling techniques allowing Watson on several occasions to rebound from a muscle strain far more quickly than he had done in the past.

"There's no doubt that this certainly has been a new thing for me. Previously with this sort of injury it has nearly put me out for the summer in the past," Watson said earlier this summer. "I'd continue to re-injure it and then it's a struggle from there. It gives me confidence that if something does go slightly wrong, I've got more chance to come back."

Lehmann has stated previously his strong desire for Watson to be capable of bowling at all times, while also making it widely known that he would prefer his Australian teams to include five bowling options wherever possible, the better to lighten to load on the team's pacemen.

Australia's ODI squad had been named for the first three contests of the series and will be refreshed, with an eye on the South Africa Test matches to come, after the SCG match on Sunday.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (January 17, 2014, 6:13 GMT)

He was a big let down in IPL. They have better players than him. Don't they? He is not even IPL material @RedbacksFan Yesi think it was David Boon who got him IPL berth for DC

Posted by Chris_P on (January 17, 2014, 3:27 GMT)

@dunger.bob. Yes, Cummins bowled pretty well, considering he bowled well within himself off a shorter run-up. He was only hitting high 140's and low 150's. Look out when he starts to get serious. At 20 years of age, he has plenty of time.

Posted by deeplongon on (January 17, 2014, 2:49 GMT)

Watson hasn't bowled much and for that matter hasn't battered much this year. Who has he got pictures of to get automatically selected for the team after a layoff?

Posted by bundybear1977 on (January 17, 2014, 0:40 GMT)

@watto2014 - I agree that Steve Smith is a far superior batter. Look at his test form this summer, and he has been making batting look easy for the Sydney Sixers this season. The only reason I can think of including CHristian is that he is a medium pacer/ lower order hitter. Sort of replacing like with like in a way.

I'm not sure why Steve Smith wasn't picked in the one day squad to begin with. he's in good batting form, a great fielder, and can bowl some useful part time leg spin. ... So far not seeing a problem .......

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 16, 2014, 22:36 GMT)

Dan Christian is a lot better player than most here seem to give him credit for. Probably one step down from Watto, but still pretty good. I hope he goes well.

I was watching Mitch Marsh last night in the BBL and he's got some way to go. In fact, I'm going to stick my neck out and say he won't make it to the top level. It's not quite in him.

@ the Indian Watto fans: It's not easy loving Shane because he's so damn frustrating as a player. It's always been a vicious circle with him. You watch his form slowly improve and just when it seems he's getting himself into some sort of decent nick, his leg will fall off. Then you've got months of rehab and when he finally gets back on the rails, his arm will fall off. AAAhhh, it drives most of us mad. .. He's a fine player with a terrible record of injuries. Such a pity.

Ps. A decent return by Cummins last night. He bowled aggressively and fairly fast. Even with all that rust on him he looked twice the bowler M. Marsh did.

Posted by Chris_P on (January 16, 2014, 22:25 GMT)

@Shaggy076 & @Meety. Agree with both of you, personally I don't care much for him, but he had reasonable form in the Ryobi Cup & upon review was near enough to the best performing all rounder, so shy not select him on that basis? Current form & performance has got to be one of the main criteria I would suggest, whether it's a favourite player or not.

Posted by Someguy on (January 16, 2014, 22:23 GMT)

@watto2014 - While I think Steve Smith should be in the team, he is not a straight swap for Watson, where Dan Christian is. Smith hardly bowls anymore and considers himself a batsman rather than an allrounder. Also, his leg spin can be expensive, hardly a straight swap for a medium pace allrounder.

Posted by watto2014 on (January 16, 2014, 15:20 GMT)

dan chritian is not right choice they could have gone with stive smith

Posted by watto2014 on (January 16, 2014, 15:13 GMT)

watson has not played much odi in 2013 and play him i remaing 4 odi

Posted by Gordo85 on (January 16, 2014, 12:32 GMT)

This is a good move indeed. Dan Christian deserves another go as he hasn't done too many things wrong. Shane Watson recently hasn't been in his top form it must be said.

And also being injury prone is obviously a risk when they should be looking for someone else who is like him.

It isn't the worse choice to bring someone else in at all because Shane Watson if injuries keep on returning to him it could make him very hard even to get selected.

Would you believe I think he Is more often than not a better bowler than a batsman but I would have said he was a better batsman than a bowler some years ago.

I still see glimpses of the two but if he can't bowl anymore he isn't really a stand alone batsman.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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