Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 1st day July 2, 2013

Watson likens Rogers to Katich


Only one innings into his Ashes opening partnership with Chris Rogers, Shane Watson has likened it to the union with Simon Katich that represented the most productive phase of his career. Punishing in power and unimpeachably correct in technique, Watson felt so assured in his strokeplay with Rogers at the other end that he coshed a century before lunch against Worcestershire, ultimately finishing with 109.

Watson also said that Rogers had proved a valuable ally in the middle, offering advice on English climes and also gee-ups whenever he felt the allrounder might have been flagging in concentration. Having never batted with Rogers before, it was not difficult to imagine Watson wondering why it had taken so long. Whatever the reasons, both can now make up for lost time in the Investec Ashes.

"It's great to be able to bat with Chris, it was my first experience of batting with him and we had a good start." Watson said. "He's certainly a very experienced and knowledgable cricketer and to be able to bat with him he certainly kept me going and just through how he's able to sum up conditions and continue to provide his knowledge while we're out batting.

"I thought he gave me a few really good pointers out there, especially early on, with him understanding the English conditions even better than I do. My combination with Simon Katich in the past was maybe along similar sorts of lines so it was really nice to be able to get a good partnership going the first time we got a chance to bat together."

Batting alongside Katich in 15 Tests from mid-2009 to late 2010, Watson compiled his two Test centuries and a host of other sizeable scores, before injury and the start of Michael Clarke's captaincy conspired to bring an end to Katich's international career. Watson opened with Phillip Hughes before shifting down the order, but coveted the position now returned to him by the new coach, Darren Lehmann.

"It brings out the best in my personality … it really does get me up and going," Watson said. "Every time I go out to open the batting I know I'm going out to face a brand new ball and it's always going to be doing something whether it's swing or seam. The bowlers are also at their freshest as well. It certainly gets my blood going and gets my mind switched on immediately as well."

That switching on appeared to happen the moment he walked out to bat first at Taunton last week, a swift 90 followed up by an even more brazen display at New Road. While the preceding six months had been largely barren for Watson as a first-class player, he said the period had helped him develop a few elements of his batting and may now be reaping the benefits.

"I felt like over the past six months, even though in Test cricket especially I haven't been able to score the runs that I've wanted, the things I've been working on with my batting have been coming together," he said. "I just hadn't been able to put them into practice.

"I definitely feel like in my game I've been able to iron out a few of the issues I've had over the previous year or so. You never know, it's not going to guarantee me success, that's for sure, but I feel batting-wise I'm in a really good place."

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

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  • Shane on July 4, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Katich was one of the greatest Test captains Australia never had. Recently I had the pleasure of travelling to an alternate dimension where he captained Australia to an epic 27 consecutive test victories during 2005-2008. Ah, what memories.

  • Adhitya on July 4, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    @Amith_S - Eddie Cowan is doing a good job. He will keep scoring the 50s & 60s consistently. In a team, which is actually struggling to score runs those 50s & 60s are very very vital!

  • Amith on July 4, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    I think we need to focus on the likes of Khawjaa and Hughes for this series. Additionally whilst I think Cowan has tried his best, it baffles the mind that we are trying to make room for a guy that will never translate into a decent Test batsmen, whilst we are yet to see if Khawaja will given he is one of our best yougn talents. or giving Hughes more chances. In my mind it seems as though Khawaja at three and Smith at six should be fait accompli - sad that it isn't like that and Hughes at 5, that's how i woudl go.

  • Lewis on July 4, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    @Babycricketer i like your side, except if i am not sure if we can leave out Hughes for Cowan. Also the best player aside from Rogers of Swing bowling is Khawaja, hence it makes sense to put him at 3 and before folks ask what that's based on, take a look at the highlights of his top scores in the 5 odd shield games he did play against Tasmania, NSW and SA, all made on green decks in swing conditions where other flat track bullies failed.

  • John on July 3, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    It's nice that Watson feels so good about himself, but tell us, Shane, how have you done when it matters over the last two years?

    A player of Watson's experience should have learned by now that it's better not to talk about yourself until you can point to something worth talking about. A batting average in the mid-twenties, no centuries and repeated failure when the chips are down is something to be modest about. Get a few runs in games that count and then tell us how wonderful everything is.

  • Peter on July 3, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    @Big_Maxy_Walker. I don't understand your logic re: Cowan. You say he is 30 & too old yet name Watson, Clarke, Harris & Rogers who are all older than him? Age is not a factor, sustained form, my friend should be the only factor that counts. As much as I like Khawaja, he is not knocking the door down demanding selection. I am impressed with the way Smith is stamping his case for consideration, much the way I have seen him develop himself as a batsman these past 2 years with the Blues. Also good to see the Smith knockers being so quiet, although still unable to give him any credit.

  • R on July 3, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    @bigmaxywalker... and rogers is 36... your point is???

  • Eddie on July 3, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Ed Cowan is 30, so we have seen the best of him. Usman can do at least as good as him, is 5 years younger, and has a much bigger upside. Watson, Rogers, Usman, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Siddle/Harris, Lyon, Bird

  • suresh on July 3, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    It's only natural that as spectators,we get swayed by each days performance.Hence, the constantly changing line-up suggestions.Contratry to what I thought a week back, I now feel that the Aussies now have the capability to give England a run for their money. Its a good sign for Cricket and I hope to see a very exciting Series.As I have always felt,you need ONE person to take care of a team, not a group

  • Robert on July 3, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    At last we are seeing what Australia are doing in the selections! Previously with the NSP and Arthur in charge there were mixed messages coming through and we ended up with ridiculous selections. Here form appears to be rewarded as it should!! I feel sorry for Cowan as he really tried hard in India and probably deserves his place ... BUT Boof has shown his hand early by naming Rogers and Watson as openers, fair enough too on recent evidence. Along with Pup at 4/5 that leaves 3 spots open. I like Smith at 6, gives us that extra half a bowler especially if the pitches are dry, Hughes looks a certainty so who for the last spot? Warner should NOT play until he has time in the middle with a first class match and runs on the board, so Khawaja edges out Cowan.Bowling pretty well sorted, would prefer Patto, Starc, Bird/Ryan and Lyon as the spinner. Sidds seems to off a bit at present. Hope for: Watson Rogers Khawaja Clarke Hughes Smith Haddin Starc Pattinson Bird/Ryan Lyon as 1st test side!

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