Somerset v Australians, Taunton, 1st Day June 26, 2013

Watson to open in Ashes - Lehmann

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Shane Watson will open the batting for Australia in the first Test against England at Trent Bridge, the new national team coach, Darren Lehmann, has said. In an unmistakable indicator of the stamp Lehmann is placing on the team in the wake of the deposed Mickey Arthur, Watson was instantly moved to the top of the order for the tour match against Somerset before a frank declaration that the allrounder would be staying there for the Investec Ashes, runs permitting.

Nottingham will thus be the first time Watson has opened for Australia in a Test match since the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg in November 2011. There has been much debate over Watson's best place in the team ever since, heightened by his lack of runs in posts other than that at the top of the order, where he flourished under Ricky Ponting's captaincy from 2009 to 2011. Lehmann left little doubt he felt it was Watson's best position.

"Shane, yeah, he'll be opening for us," Lehmann said. "That's where we want him to bat and he's done really well for us there and we're quite keen for him to open and to have a big part in the Ashes and obviously make a lot of runs for us and start the innings up well.

"He's been up and down the order but his most success has been as an opener. We hope he gets a big score here for us tomorrow and see how we go. You need good starts to make big scores against a good side so we need him to give us good starts to put pressure on England.

"We've talked about wanting blokes to perform and if you perform you'll have a chance to play in the first Test. We want to give everyone in our squad the opportunity to perform well in the tour games and that's what we're about."

Watson missed the remainder of the 2011-12 summer with hamstring and calf injuries before returning to the Test team at No. 3 in the West Indies, later moving to No. 4. He struggled to balance his batting with the level of bowling required of him by Clarke, and a sequence of injuries, poor batting form and general discontent followed. Lehmann and Clarke have now granted Watson the chance he craved.

At the same time they have also opened up plenty of conjecture about the remainder of the batting order. Cowan is Watson's opening partner at Taunton but Chris Rogers waits in the wings, while David Warner's return to the team after suspension would now appear more likely to be as a middle-order player.

Watson did not bowl on day one of the Somerset fixture but Lehmann said this was intended to allow the other five bowlers chosen the maximum chance of running into form and rhythm ahead of the Tests. "We want to have a look at the other four bowlers, and that's the only reason," Lehmann said. "But he'll bowl next game no dramas."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    This is where he belongs. Opening the batting. He has the most success there. He is a new ball batter. It's a great move. End of story! Australia's biggest problem now, is that if Watson is an opener, then they have 5 top order batters (excluding Clarke) trying to squeeze into 3 spots. My guess is we're going to see Chris Rogers batting at #3, with Hughes or Khawaja at #5 and Smith potentially coming into the side at #6. I really think Smith is going to get a run in the first test (as much as I wish he wouldn't) because I can't see the selectors NOT picking Rogers or playing both Khawaja and Hughes at 5 and 6. The only other potential option is playing Haddin or Wade as a specialist batsman.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | July 2, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    @ScottStevo - So Symonds wasn't an allrounder? Or that the Waughs managed to bowl 12,658 balls (2,109 overs) in Test matches isn't considered significant by you? Or that Watto has always been considered an allrounder?

    Simple maths: number of balls per innings bowled - Symonds 51, Watson 65, Steve Waugh 52, Mark 38. As the Waughs played most of their Tests together, that works out at 90 balls (15 overs) they together bowled to support the bowlers, but I guess the 151 wickets that they picked up along the way aren't important to you, but they sure were for Oz.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | July 1, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @zenboomerang, what's your point, that in the past we've had all rounders in the team? Steve and Mark Waugh were first and foremost specialist batsmen - where are you going with this??! Warner bowled a few overs recently, there you go! If your point is that we've used allrounders successfully in the past, like Miller, maybe that's because they were genuine allrounders who would most likely have been selected for both facets of the game, as was Matthews! Close, zenboomerang, it has been our top 4 not firing and a 6th bits'n'pieces player adding nothing with either bat or ball wasting a place in the side that's been our issue. Or are you suggesting we persist with someone like Maxwell? In which case, you'd hardly be in any position to adjudicate whom it is that holds knowledge of this sport, mate. And if you're another who is under the impression we should be playing 5-1-5, then it is you, Sir, lacking understanding of this game.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | July 1, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    @ScottStevo - "we still had 6 specialist batsmen with Gilchrist at 7" - You really don't understand much about cricket do you?

    How about Steve & Mark Waugh who were handy bowlers & later Andrew Symonds - add to that we had the leading seamer & spinner in the world at that time. Earlier we had Border & Matthews as handy fill in bowlers. What has blatantly let us down over the last 3 years (as in the 80's) have been the top 5 batters not firing as a unit.

    Lets not forget players like Keith Miller, Bob Simpson, Doug Walters whom as allrounders gave us many decades of superb cricket.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 29, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    @Australian&@Swingingit, Well then thank goodness you aren't selecting! If you were, we'd be lost before starting. Actually, Aus, you said a 6th batsman wouldn't score any runs as they're a bad bunch! It's all there in black and white, mate! When Watson was opening he was still bowling too and we will need him to bowl. But we don't need a 5th front line bowler and have Watson as a 6th. The balance of the team would be completely out of whack and chances are we wouldn't score enough runs. Faulkner is a terrible choice too. Of all the bowlers in our squad, he's the bottom wrung. Please don't say you're expecting contributions from him with the bat... It's getting difficult to understand how there are actually people thinking we should go with 5 bowlers. Even when our batting line up was pretty much the strongest going we still had 6 specialist batsmen with Gilchrist at 7 and you blokes want to go in with 5 from this lot who are a "bad bunch"? Makes absolutely no sense at all...

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | June 29, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    @ScottStevo. You will never convince me 6 batsman is the right option for the current squad selected. I also never said our batsman were useless? Fact is boof has said Watson will open and play a role similar to what he did in the past. That means he will not bowl enough to play the traditional role of an all rounder. 3 pacers and lets face it a spinner who is average is too high a risk v a strong England lineup. Clarke wont bowl with a dodgy back. The game just played had 5 bats. Why do you think the selectors went back to Haddin? As for having faith in my countrymen I do! In Haddin and 5 other batsmen in the squad selected. We will have to wait and see who is right come the first test.

  • POSTED BY Swingingit on | June 29, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Scottstevo does not seem to get it. If Watson is going to bowl why has he not done so in this current tour match? He can't open the batting and do a proper bowling role of an all rounder. We need another all rounder or another bowler. Watson can't bowl enough overs to allow 3 quicks and a spinner to do all the work and Clarke is not going to risk his back. I think the side that has just played might be the right balance. Give Faulkner a go. But someone needs to make way for Bird IMO.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 29, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    @Australian, I've seen the mess we've put ourselves through with the dodgy allrounders, but if Watson bowls, he is our allrounder and we need a sixth batsman. It's that simple. Assuming that having an extra bowler will increase the likelihood of restricting opposition totals, or taking more wickets doesn't add up, mate. If we can't score 200, we can have 8 bowlers and we'll still lose. It's an old saying, but runs on the board wins matches and we need guys to score them. Implying that adding an extra specialist batsman won't make any difference as they're all useless is harsh as well. We have plenty of guys capable of making decent contributions to the side - have some faith in your countrymen...

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | June 28, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Walking wicket. Just watch him trying to play Jimmy after planting that front pad in front of off stump. The English bowlers will be collectively licking their chops.

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    Is watson going to ball. If he isn't going to ball, then he shouldn't be in the side. His batting form isn't good enough for a place in the side, but since he is a swing bowler his bowling can be very effective. If watson doesn't bowl, then Henriques should be in the side - plus his recent form is much better. One 90 against a county side doesn't prove much.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    This is where he belongs. Opening the batting. He has the most success there. He is a new ball batter. It's a great move. End of story! Australia's biggest problem now, is that if Watson is an opener, then they have 5 top order batters (excluding Clarke) trying to squeeze into 3 spots. My guess is we're going to see Chris Rogers batting at #3, with Hughes or Khawaja at #5 and Smith potentially coming into the side at #6. I really think Smith is going to get a run in the first test (as much as I wish he wouldn't) because I can't see the selectors NOT picking Rogers or playing both Khawaja and Hughes at 5 and 6. The only other potential option is playing Haddin or Wade as a specialist batsman.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | July 2, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    @ScottStevo - So Symonds wasn't an allrounder? Or that the Waughs managed to bowl 12,658 balls (2,109 overs) in Test matches isn't considered significant by you? Or that Watto has always been considered an allrounder?

    Simple maths: number of balls per innings bowled - Symonds 51, Watson 65, Steve Waugh 52, Mark 38. As the Waughs played most of their Tests together, that works out at 90 balls (15 overs) they together bowled to support the bowlers, but I guess the 151 wickets that they picked up along the way aren't important to you, but they sure were for Oz.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | July 1, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @zenboomerang, what's your point, that in the past we've had all rounders in the team? Steve and Mark Waugh were first and foremost specialist batsmen - where are you going with this??! Warner bowled a few overs recently, there you go! If your point is that we've used allrounders successfully in the past, like Miller, maybe that's because they were genuine allrounders who would most likely have been selected for both facets of the game, as was Matthews! Close, zenboomerang, it has been our top 4 not firing and a 6th bits'n'pieces player adding nothing with either bat or ball wasting a place in the side that's been our issue. Or are you suggesting we persist with someone like Maxwell? In which case, you'd hardly be in any position to adjudicate whom it is that holds knowledge of this sport, mate. And if you're another who is under the impression we should be playing 5-1-5, then it is you, Sir, lacking understanding of this game.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | July 1, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    @ScottStevo - "we still had 6 specialist batsmen with Gilchrist at 7" - You really don't understand much about cricket do you?

    How about Steve & Mark Waugh who were handy bowlers & later Andrew Symonds - add to that we had the leading seamer & spinner in the world at that time. Earlier we had Border & Matthews as handy fill in bowlers. What has blatantly let us down over the last 3 years (as in the 80's) have been the top 5 batters not firing as a unit.

    Lets not forget players like Keith Miller, Bob Simpson, Doug Walters whom as allrounders gave us many decades of superb cricket.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 29, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    @Australian&@Swingingit, Well then thank goodness you aren't selecting! If you were, we'd be lost before starting. Actually, Aus, you said a 6th batsman wouldn't score any runs as they're a bad bunch! It's all there in black and white, mate! When Watson was opening he was still bowling too and we will need him to bowl. But we don't need a 5th front line bowler and have Watson as a 6th. The balance of the team would be completely out of whack and chances are we wouldn't score enough runs. Faulkner is a terrible choice too. Of all the bowlers in our squad, he's the bottom wrung. Please don't say you're expecting contributions from him with the bat... It's getting difficult to understand how there are actually people thinking we should go with 5 bowlers. Even when our batting line up was pretty much the strongest going we still had 6 specialist batsmen with Gilchrist at 7 and you blokes want to go in with 5 from this lot who are a "bad bunch"? Makes absolutely no sense at all...

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | June 29, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    @ScottStevo. You will never convince me 6 batsman is the right option for the current squad selected. I also never said our batsman were useless? Fact is boof has said Watson will open and play a role similar to what he did in the past. That means he will not bowl enough to play the traditional role of an all rounder. 3 pacers and lets face it a spinner who is average is too high a risk v a strong England lineup. Clarke wont bowl with a dodgy back. The game just played had 5 bats. Why do you think the selectors went back to Haddin? As for having faith in my countrymen I do! In Haddin and 5 other batsmen in the squad selected. We will have to wait and see who is right come the first test.

  • POSTED BY Swingingit on | June 29, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Scottstevo does not seem to get it. If Watson is going to bowl why has he not done so in this current tour match? He can't open the batting and do a proper bowling role of an all rounder. We need another all rounder or another bowler. Watson can't bowl enough overs to allow 3 quicks and a spinner to do all the work and Clarke is not going to risk his back. I think the side that has just played might be the right balance. Give Faulkner a go. But someone needs to make way for Bird IMO.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 29, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    @Australian, I've seen the mess we've put ourselves through with the dodgy allrounders, but if Watson bowls, he is our allrounder and we need a sixth batsman. It's that simple. Assuming that having an extra bowler will increase the likelihood of restricting opposition totals, or taking more wickets doesn't add up, mate. If we can't score 200, we can have 8 bowlers and we'll still lose. It's an old saying, but runs on the board wins matches and we need guys to score them. Implying that adding an extra specialist batsman won't make any difference as they're all useless is harsh as well. We have plenty of guys capable of making decent contributions to the side - have some faith in your countrymen...

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | June 28, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Walking wicket. Just watch him trying to play Jimmy after planting that front pad in front of off stump. The English bowlers will be collectively licking their chops.

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT

    Is watson going to ball. If he isn't going to ball, then he shouldn't be in the side. His batting form isn't good enough for a place in the side, but since he is a swing bowler his bowling can be very effective. If watson doesn't bowl, then Henriques should be in the side - plus his recent form is much better. One 90 against a county side doesn't prove much.

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | June 28, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    @scottstevo. Regarding the 5-1-5 option. I don't know if you have been following Australian cricket lately. Since the debacle of Adelaide V SA where bowlers had to do an overwhelming job to get a draw and then rested for a critical test, Australia have gone for a 5 bat 4 bowler 1 all rounder and keeper for the tests since. Watson playing in some of those as another batsman. Considering the all rounders have failed miserably and our batting would not change I suggest playing a bowler instead of an all rounder as our current bowlers are out performing the all rounders. Whether a batsman plays so you have more runs to play with or a bowler plays so you have less runs to get I don't really see the difference? Considering the 6th batsman to be picked would be the 6th of a bad bunch I doubt he will add to the score much so hence a 5-1-5 team. I am also not asking for anyone to agree with me just stating my opinion.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 28, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    ...a lot of people also writing about how our performances have gone down as we didn't have any plan for progression post these guys. How is Rogers going to help stabilise our line up? He won't. He's here to "paper the cracks". For me, even stating that we need to paper cracks is a joke and we shouldn't do it. We should choose players with the correct skills required to play test cricket for us for the next few years, not one or two series as this will leave a hole once he's gone. If we don't get guys into the side now, they'll end up exactly like Rogers. It's the perfect time for guys like Ferguson and a few others around 27/28 to come into this side as they have experience and talent and could form our middle order for the next 8 years...

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 28, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    @Australian, I know this, was just running out of space so lost "hardly" as it makes no difference to the argument, he's played once, which is a long, long way from experienced. If we were looking for the best to play now, I fear we'd still miss Rogers as if age was no barrier, you'd have Ponting and Husey back and you'd probably take Hodge as well in front of Rogers. So yes, we've already started making moves toward our future (the media saw to that when hounding Ponting for his age), why is this bloke here? His county experience counts for nothing in test match cricket. I feel for him as he should've been selected play years back, as should Hodge. But there's no point in starting him now. To be honest, it's an embarrassment and if he performs poorly, we will be mocked for his inclusion for some time - and rightly so too. There are players who are younger with more international experience, also middle order bats (which we desperately need) and they're not in the reckoning. There's..

  • POSTED BY on | June 28, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    watson cowan hughes clarke khwaja haddin ashton agar faulkner siddle starc pattison put them up and look at the results

  • POSTED BY creekeetman on | June 28, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    good move, have lyon open with him, and England will toil for hours without a wicket.

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | June 28, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    @ScottStevo. For accuracies sake Rogers has played 1 test. I can't agree with Rogers being left out. His experience in England and playing against their bowlers more than any other in the squad should count for a lot. Why should we look to the future all the time. The ashes is here and now. Pick the best 11 to play now period. I think Rogers with his experience and success in England deserves a spot in the first test. I imagine his hunger to perform and prove doubters wrong would far outweigh others who keep failing and getting a go. Those obvious ones failing need a wake up call and need to value their wicket far more. Being dropped is the best remedy and the best for the team.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | June 28, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    This is a good move from Lehmann. If it comes off, everyone will praise himself and Watson. If it fails (which seems most likely), Watson whining "oh, but I couldn't score runs because I'm not in my favourite position" will be no excuse. Lehmann can then say the team gave Watson every chance.

    My top order would be : Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    Not sure why people are saying if he opens he can't bowl as much. Sure, there will be more mental pressure dealing with the moving ball and fired up openers, but WHY does this take anything out of his bowling dept., which is primarily phsysical in nature? Especially if he gets his usual 60 odd maximum. IMHO he should be used as a bowler just as much as if he were to bat at 4-6. That said, it won't make any difference 'cos this Aussie batting line up is by far the worst I have ever seen, and the first series I ever saw was the 1989 Ashes in England where we were completely destroyed. I'm sorry Aussies, but I've waited a LONG LONG time for this, and now I'm gonna gloat....Long and hard; kinda like the Aussie batting's road to recovery one suspects! ;) Khawaja is the only one apart from Watson and Clarke that appears to have the technique to cope v Anderson and co. Hughes is a joke who can't play spin OR the moving ball...What is the point of him for example?

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 27, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    @Mitty2, the reason we aren't listening is because you've got it all wrong, mate! For starters, you say when he managed to keep fit he was good and when he opened he was in out of his skin form. Starting to sound like you've got more excuses for why he does perform. On a personal note, I never used to like Watson, for some of the reasons you mentioned. But from the time he walked out to open in 09 he proved me and most of his detractors wrong. He's not had the best of it lately, other than Clarke, who in our team has (I think team rifts and Arthur play a big part here). Fact is, he's opened here in England and done well. We could use some of that right now. You say Rogers > Watson, yet Rogers hasn't ever even played test cricket, so at present Rogers < every single player on both sides - until he proves otherwise. Personally, I hope he doesn't get that chance as he's too old and we need to look at guys we can use for longer than 5-10 matches. Feel sorry for him tho, overlooked ages ago

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Shane Watson again????? Wow Australia, you're really thinking outside the box here.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    i think david warner should be excused and be given a place for the first test. if he gets going at the top there would be no pressure on middle order batsman(hughes,cowan n clarke). watto should open along with warner followed by cowan,hughes,clarke smith/khawaja n haddin. with a disastrous 0-4 loss against india a dont understand why aussies didn't make changes in their side. david hussey,brade hodge would be a great choice. with respect to their recent performance in ct'13, i personally think that they need david hussey badly to bat low down the order. also, lehman as a spin bowler should find more hidden talents in spin department. both lyon and doherty went for plenty and found no use on indian soil. with test champion ship to follow they need to concentrate more on biddle order batting and spin bowling....all d best aussies @ ASHES

  • POSTED BY simonviller on | June 27, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    It just goes to show how the experts could mess-up a good team ! I always thought that Watson was Australia's best at opening the innings -actually their best player of pace bowling in the team . why then did the expert move him down the order ? It's also my opinion that Watson is more susceptible to the spin ,especially when facing it early in his innings ,so opening would allow him to get set before those magicians come on . The same goes for his counterparts Warner /Hughes as it pertains to the spinners , I must add .

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    Nice to see watso opening in whites again where he has a better record.. My xi is 1.cowan 2.watson 3.khawaja 4.hughes 5.clarke 6.warner(if available for 1st test) otherwise 6.Wade 7.Haddin 8.starc 9.siddle 10.pattinson 11.lyon 12.Faulkner

  • POSTED BY SevereCritic on | June 27, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Need for a 5th bowler in test these days is perplexing. Traditionally all the greatest test sides of yester-years have used the formula of 6 + 1 + 4. 6 specialist batsmen, 1 keeper, 4 strike bowlers. Go back to the Aussie squad from a decade back. They stuck to using 3 prong pace attack (McGrath, Gillespie/Flemming, Lee/Kasprowich) and Warne. Go back a couple more decade and you come to the WI pace quartet of Roberts, Garner, Holding and Marshall (they didnt bother with spin) :) So, play 6 specialist batsmen. With a weaker batitng side, you need those 6 batsmen and Haddin to get those runs for the Aussies. Need 300+ every Innings at a consistent basis.

  • POSTED BY AbhiCSK on | June 27, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    1=watson 2=cowan3=hughes 4= clarke 5=khawaja 6=smith 7=Faulkner8=siddle 9=starc10=pattinson11=lyyon

  • POSTED BY sfarazi on | June 27, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Watson opening the batting is the right decision in my opinion. He is most comfortable at that position and he has managed to do pretty well as opener. Number 3 is a very important position and I reckon that Khawaja is the man to take up that spot because he has shown that he is capable of batting in English conditions plus he has solid test cricket technique. He is also running better between the wickets so Khawaja deserves another test call. I'm on the poms side atm but if Khawaja is brought in then I'll definitely support the Aussies :)

  • POSTED BY Waikikamucow on | June 27, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    Lehman knows his team, and it will pretty close to this - Watson, Cowen, Rodgers, Hughes, Clarke, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Pattinson, Starc and Lyon. I hope Smith gets a game at some point as he offers a lot, mainly some steel like we saw in India. Harris won't last 5 tests sadly, so Bird, Faulkner or Cummins might get a run. Clarke at 5 is a defensive play as I don't trust the top order as yet.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    ScottStevo3 oes this mean Clarke will hide down another position in the batting order?

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    Expect a few 50's and 60's, but that's all. Come to think of it wasn't Watson opening last time we won the Ashes? Therefore it's hardly going to change much. Aus are a sad shadow of their world beating team of yesteryear. 5-0 England weather permitting, although I hope I'm wrong because I'd like to see another 2005! England are up to it, but these Aussies aren't; especially in the batting department.

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 27, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    @Australian, How on Earth do you figure that? If 4 bowlers plus a 5th in Watson and a few overs from say Clarke, or anyone else who can roll a few out isn't enough firepower to take 20 wickets, especially when our bowling attack is our strong suit, THEN we don't deserve to win. It's possibly the worst solution to our batting problems I've read and the logic behind it is completely flawed as you're then expecting to get runs from our bowlers, which isn't why they've been selected in the team. Considering how poor we've been with the bat, the idea of taking a batsman out of the side is even more ludicrous. Talk about pressure on the bowlers...not only do they have to take wickets, they have to score runs too now?! As for fitness of our bowlers, what do we care? We have loads of bowlers we could use - Johnson, Bird, Faulkner, Starc, Siddle, Cummins, Hilfy, Sayers, Coulter-Nile...all probably decent enough. can't understand how anyone could think this is a way forward - it's craaaaazy!

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    why hasnt aus selectors gone for brad hodge or the likes of david hussey they cn do better job then of this players,and like of mcdonald,mcdonald cud be a great pick at 7,while hussey at 6..they both provide a spin and a medium pace allrounder and perfect 11 for this team,n the new man nick maddison shud b selected soon as there i cud jz see openers among this team need a middle order batsman.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    shane watson and chris rogers opening , phil hughes at 3,clarke at 4, khawaja at 5 to provide stability to clarke if top 3 doesnt fire,in test 5th spot is very imp spot as it bats with tail and top,haddin at 6,flaukner at 7 as he cn provide good allrounder with 8 for starc he cn bat a bit 9 for siddle he too cn stay 9 for pattinson n lyon. and if warner returns he shud open phil hughes at bench and rogers at 3

  • POSTED BY decko on | June 27, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    It's so bloody good to see Lehmann in charge of the team. Best news I've heard all year. It's about time this Aussie team started playing with confidence again and enjoying the game. My hopeful line up is Watson, Rogers, Hughes(I have faith in him), Warner, Clarke, Haddin, Pattinson, Siddle, Harris, Bird and Lyon/Agar. (would prefer to see Agar in the side over Lyno) sorry to Cowan and Lyon but i honestly believe the team line above is the best way to go. It would be nice to swap out Siddle or Harris with Starc for the 2nd and 4th tests. I think we need 4 strike bowlers and a spinner to win this series and pattinson and Siddle can both swing a bat for support if out top order collapse.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | June 27, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    He'll do we'll opening the batting but if he's expected to open and bowl 15 overs a day I doubt he's fit enough. Both departments will suffer if he's in the team as an all rounder. Realistically AUS might have to bowl alot of overs to get this England side all out and straight after that opening the innings is a big ask.

  • POSTED BY hycIass on | June 27, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    I like Watson opening and khawaja at 3 with Clarke at 4. Khawaja is best number 3 for us and clarke best 4. here is a chance that Watson with the fresh start may excel and if he fails then that would be the end of him. It may look like a blunder but it looks to me Lehmann is trying to finalise the Watson issue by saying "well show me what you got".

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    great plans, I hope reality does not wake them up with a rude bump, it is not that Watto has done well as an opener, just he does worse elsewhere.

  • POSTED BY Baseball--Sucks on | June 27, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Aus needs flamboyant lefthand opener to pair with Watson. I can only imagine the best left hander at the moment is Kusal Perara .

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | June 27, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Does this mean Clarke will hide down another position in the batting order?

  • POSTED BY AnoopMukundan on | June 27, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Good move I'd say. Watson surely was waiting for something like this to prove a point. He's all set to take more responsibility on his shoulders since that home-work gate events.

  • POSTED BY eyballfallenout on | June 27, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    We really are a solid batsman short, maybe lehmann can slot in at 5.

    If we are at least competitive im happy.

  • POSTED BY Un_Citoyen_Indien on | June 27, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    I've always found it strange that Watson is expected to do the most difficult job in test cricket i.e. open the batting (a job that even the greatest modern day all-rounder, Jacques Kallis is not expected to do by his team).

    Watson can potentially be the greatest all-rounder of this era by batting at number six and bowling first change (in my opinion, he is good enough to do both consistently).

    Australia's greatest all-rounder was Keith Miller. The greatest two all-rounders of all time were Sir Garfield Sobers and Imran Khan. None of these men opened the batting!

  • POSTED BY HawK89 on | June 27, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Warner can take Hughes spot at no.3. Its beyond me if Hughes gets selected.

  • POSTED BY CSpiers on | June 27, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Hoping for something like 1. Watson 2. Rogers 3. Cowan 4. Hughes 5. Clarke 6. Khawaja 7. Haddin 8. Faulkner/Starc 9. Siddle/Bird 10. Pattinson 11. Lyon . Here's hoping they dont go for something stupid like Faulkner or Smith at 6. Had enough of those short batting orders.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    I totally disagree. The team is compromising itself far too much for one man when it should be the other way round

  • POSTED BY palla.avinash on | June 27, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Best playing 11 i feel 1 watson 2 cowan 3 rogers 4 clarke 5 khawaja 6 haddin 7 faulkner 8 starc 9 siddle 10 lyon 11 pattinson the batting line up needs to be like this.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    bird and rogers should play

  • POSTED BY Batmanian on | June 27, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Faulkner, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon

    Khawaja has to be given his (third and last) chance in the First Test. His problems are clearly psychological, and it's important to back him; he's been mediocre, but he'll never shine if he's not shown some love. Besides, Smith, Warner, Harris and Bird are at the ready - Cowan if we get two up and are looking for drawing power. Wade if Haddin goes back to his old tricks of failing when it matters and not guiding the tail.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Watson's last chance saloon should be in the middle order. However, since he is opening, it's a shame Katich won't be there alongside him to both reclaim his rightful spot at the top of the order, and to resume their partnership from a few years ago, esp. given Katich's recent county form.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | June 27, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    If Watson has one spot nailed down, who is going to be his partner. Rogers would be my guess but maybe Cowan with Rogers at 3, or maybe Hughes with Cowan left out. ... either way it's a mistake I reckon. I agree with @Mark Frayne-Johnson who says Watto should be in the middle order. Well, I almost agree with him. Watto should be COMPETING against Faulkner for a middle order spot. .. Why in the hell are they mucking about like this. We have 4 openers already, why bring Watson into the mix. .. His record at 1 is better than in the m.o, but it's still not real good. .. If it were up to me, Watson would either be pulling his weight in the m.o as an all-rounder who bowls when needed or not at all.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | June 27, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    @MinusZero "If he fails"? That is what he has been doing for the past 3 years. he should have went before this. Even when he was Captain he didn't select himself as opener!

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | June 27, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    Good move by boof, Watson will be best suited to opening and Khawaja at 3 or Rogers at 3 with Khawaja at 4. Keep Clarke at 5 as he is a run machine at that position.

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | June 27, 2013, 3:42 GMT

    Jesus why doesn't Australia listen to me! I'll cop it if Watson does well in the ashes, and I'll even congratulate him, but the chances of him scoring well are about as likely as Phillip Hughes scores two triple centuries and Mitchell starc bowls in every test at an overall economy rate of 2 runs per over.

    Ignoring his personal deficiencies (arrogance, being a huge prima Donna, not team orientated/selfish (see any of his numerous press conferences), criticising his own team mates (Cowan) and not taking responsibility (India)), there are simply no advantages about his batting.

    People say he can score quickly and dominate an attack - he has a strike rate of under 50 with just two centuries.

    People say he's a better opener - he averages 12 as opener in the shield and never opened in the county despite an overall average of 80. The only reason he averaged 42 as an opener was because it was his only two year period without injury and his playing-out-of-skins-form.

    Rogers > Watson.

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | June 27, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    Whether you agree or not I like how Boof has answered the question immediately without doubt. That shows the players where they stand and what they need to do to perform. My opinion is with this decision we do not require another all rounder to bat at 6. Especially considering our bowlers are outperforming most all rounders with the bat anyway. Although I also am concerned that Watson might not bowl much when opening so we may need to go with 5 bowlers rather than an extra batsman to eliminate the risk of a player being over bowled and not be able to continue to perform fit throughout the series. If 5 batsmen and a keeper who can contribute when in form can't score the runs required we don't deserve to win. Plus considering most of our bowlers are quite handy batsmen why not have the luxury of 5 bowlers to contain runs, build more pressure to take 20 wickets, be eager to bowl and better share the workload throughout the series.

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    Good on Lehman. Already making the big calls. Watson had to open or be dropped. Hopefully, Cowan is the man turned into the ready substitute should he fail, because Chris Rodgers should be, and seems to be, already picked as opener.

    Hughes at 3, Clarke at 5, Warner seems destined to play at 6. So who gets the #4 spot? Steve Smith or Usman Khawaja?

  • POSTED BY sidzy on | June 27, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    So Boof is in & some good decisions being made...now they just need to make sure clarke bats at 5.....My XI be watto, rogers, ussi, hughes, clarke, warner, haddin, starc, pattinson, harris, lyon......

  • POSTED BY chicko1983 on | June 27, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Watson, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Rogers, Faulkner, Haddin, Pattinson, Starc, Siddle, Lyon.

  • POSTED BY farkin on | June 27, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    this is boof first bad choice now what will be his second

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    What in the world happened to Callum Ferguson who had a promising start to his international career? And what about Chris Rogers? I really pity him. Had he been born in a different country, he might have broken all known batting records...such was the might of the Australian batting back then that players like Rogers or Law couldnt make it.

    Clarke's chronic back problems mean he is blocking a spot where someone like Steven Smith or Usman Khwaja can slot in but I guess the Aussie selectors still have faith in him...and I feel Paine can be brought back in place of Wade as the back up keeper.

  • POSTED BY D-Ascendant on | June 27, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    But of course: No dramas, mate!

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    come on bring moises henriques or daniel christian in the team. the playing 11 should be cowan, watson, hughes, clarke, khwaja, haddin, christian/henriques, starc, siddle, pattinson, lyon/agar. and if you want watson for the whole series use him as a opening batsmen only not an allrounder.what's on with faulkner at 6 as an allrounder, christian at 7 could be much better.

  • POSTED BY hmmmmm... on | June 27, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    @Millhouse79 - agree with you completely - where will the bat rogers is the main question? How you could not pick him ahead of hughes or cowan or warner is beyond me...and khawajia. my gut feeling is that they will go watson, cowan, rogers, khawajia, clark, warner, haddin....

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Where does Rogers go? Into 3 or into the middle order? or dropped?

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | June 27, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    Good. Thanks Boof. Now hopefully Clarke will use Watson the bowler the same way Ponting did, as a partnership breaker only. Hughes 3, Clarke/Rogers 4/5, Warner 6, Haddin 7.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | June 27, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Warner and Cowan out as openers. Rogers and Watson in. A good left/right combination, one aggressive, one that can dig in. Both very experienced, fairly mature heads. If Rogers and Watson are the openers in the first test, my faith in common sense will be restored

  • POSTED BY on | June 27, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Anyone who thinks Watson should bat in the middle order must only want him to continue to fail! He bats his best when opening; FACT! Get over your preconceived conceptions of where the allrounder should bat, he is a Test opening batsmen. I would only bowl him 5-10 overs an innings just to mix it up. If he fires and gets a start of 40-50 like usual then we get off to a start of 1/80 off 20 overs when he gets out, it's better than him coming in at 3/80 off 30 overs and having to bat conservatively, which isn't his game. Surely wed all rather him getting 45(56) or something than 19(61). Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon

  • POSTED BY Ozcricketwriter on | June 27, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    The obvious choice. But Mickey Arthur didn't like obvious choices.

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | June 27, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    Dont agree with this move... Watson needs to be at 5 or 6 to take on the new ball and give australia the option to bowl him. Otherwise I dont see his value. Also im not sure why there is such a hatred for Cowan... He values his wicket and applies himself which is more than can be said about Hughes or Warner who at times can throw it away. My team for Ashes Game 1 would be 1. Cowan, 2. Rogers, 3. Khawaja, 4. Clarke, 5. Watson, 6. Warner, 7. Haddin, 8. Pattinson, 9. Starc, 10. Siddle, 11. Lyon

  • POSTED BY Broken_F-ing_Arm on | June 27, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    given that lehmen running the show now, rogers will also open i presume and khwaja has got no. 6 in the bag with clarke @5. Cowan, Warner, Hughes to fight it out for 3 and 4. You'd have to put your money on Cowan and Hughes due to Warners suspension butu never know. Tomorow against Somerset will be very telling.

  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | June 27, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    When I first read this I was a bit surprised, but on reflection it makes sense. Warner should realistically be out of contention for the 1st Test (no form and no match practice). Watson has had success as an opener before, and despite my belief that he should return to number 4 (where he spent the majority of his Shield days) he hasn't been able to adapt to batting down the order since his purple patch. Rogers coming in at 5 or 6 would provide experience and stability. Barring injury, I wouldn't make a change between the 1st and 2nd Tests and if Watson makes runs (and continues to do so) then there's no reason to move him.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | June 27, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    @gop_cricket. Nice comparison, but in this context totally not relevant. The '89 tourists had in their ranks established batsmen who were averaging 50 or close to it at the time (Border, Jones, Boon) & a young opening batsman who had been pulverising shield attacks for a few seasons (Taylor). The only "dodgy" batsman they had was an under-performing Steve Waugh who was being ridiculed totally by all concerned in England as a someone who couldn't cut it at test level. (Sound familiar 24 years on?). In Terry Alderman they had probably one of the most devastating touring bowlers (in English conditions) in the history of their game over there proven by his 83 wickets in 2 series over there. This side is very much still in transition without the hard nosed veterans Border had. That side also had been through a number of years of tough series to get their experience up, unlike this side.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | June 26, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    This is ABSOLUTELY WRONG. Darren Lehmann wants to boot out Chris Rogers, it's very clear.That's stupid. Shane Watson would have been ideal at Number 4,so that he has the energy to bowl medium pace too.

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    (love)minus zero, i think that's completely fair, and suspect Watson would, too. 2 tests, maybe 3, but make sure he has a solid partnership - they have to pick the other partner for those 2-3 as well. (people underestimate the loss of katich on watson, as they did Slater on Taylor. not saying he shouldn't have been dropped, just making that point that nobody makes in the Watson "debate".)

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    Mark, Watson got 2 tons as an opener, and about 5 or 6 90s. Just for the record, facts and all that.

    and if we play 4 quicks at Trent Bridge, why would we want or need Watto to bowl? get Clarke and Smith to do some tweaking. or Khawaja if he is picked.

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    Watson, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Haddin, Faulkner, Agar, Pattinson, Harris, Bird.

    That's my team, I don't think it will be the team selected though. Warner doesn't get a shot for mine. im not a siddle or starc fan. Lyon isn't going to win us a game, so might as well go with Agar who can bat too.

  • POSTED BY Timmuh on | June 26, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    The guy has averaged less than Pattinson with the bat over the last two years, and when he has opened in that time he has averaged even lower (though that is a small sample). On the surface it looks like a terrible decision. Watson should not even be in the squad in my view. That said three or four years ago his one bref run of form was opening, so hopefully he can turn it around. I just can't see it happening. It was not being an opener that made him play better, it was simply that he was playing better at a time which coincided with opening (and then with Katich, the rot started when Katich was axed and Watson remained opning). Maybe the confidence gained from being able to bowl again and being in the spot he has publicly claimed he wanted will help, but there is nothing I have seen to suggest that will happen. Hopefully "Boof" knows best.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | June 26, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    With Warner still in the squad & seemingly not to be picked for the first test, there is no real other option although Watson, by his test test returns for the past 3 years, does not deserve to be there. For all his talent, & I have been a great supporter of him, he has not delivered for a few years & appears not to have the grit to get down & do the hard yards. I see many knocking Cowan, who is far less talented, but his returns in the same period are far superior to Watson's. Cowan, for all his shortcomings, applies his limited skill to the maximum whereas Watson appears to coast. I always thought the Captain selected the batting order?

  • POSTED BY Apocalypse_EX on | June 26, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @coldcoffee123 Clarke did not play a single game for Pune this year nor has he captained them.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | June 26, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    The problem for Lehmann is that Watson as an opener virtually rules out Watson as a bowler, unless Lehmann has a magic formula to allow him to do both- a formula which has so far eluded everyone else. With Watson a non-factor as a bowler, Aus has a problem with picking 4 bowlers who will be both sharp and able to bowl long spells. Harris, Pattinson and Starc are sharp but not very durable; Siddle, Bird and Lyon are workhorses but not spearheads.

    It will be interesting to see what balance Lehmann comes up with.

  • POSTED BY alstar2281 on | June 26, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    Watson Cowan Rogers Hughes / Smith Clarke Warner / Smith / Wade Haddin Pattinson Starc / Faulkner Lyon / Agar Bird

  • POSTED BY ScottStevo on | June 26, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    This is a good move. Watson's best test innings have been played from opener. As soon as we moved him to the middle order, he collapsed. Obviously it doesn't suit him. For me, if he doesn't open, he doesn't play. The interesting thing about Watson is that his bowling adds stability to our line up as recently, he's almost been a front line bowler and has taken some crucial wickets. It's this that adds the balance that we need, or else we start looking for bits'n'pieces allrounder wannabe's to the further detriment of our batting line up. With a statement like this being made, personally, I think that closes the door on Faulkner as I think he was selected as our next best chance to have an allrounder (of sorts) in the side. Who does he bat with is the big question. Will Warner be able to impress ...do we stick with Cowan - and where that might leave Rogers..Plenty of options. For me, I'd have Watto and Cowan and ask Rogers to slot into the middle - apparently he's got experience!

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    whether you like watson or not it is great to see to see the new coach back his player in saying he wants him.to open. Watson has an avge of 43 as an opener with 2 tons in test cricket as opposed to 35 overall so boof has done his homework stats wise as well. day 2 will be an important day for the aussie top six.

  • POSTED BY Dangertroy on | June 26, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    Watson actually last opened in the second innings in the first test in India, promoted as Warner was ill. He made 17. Watsons run as an opener coincided with a tremendous vein of form. I actually think he will make a good partner for Cowan, he has a better defensive technique and won't waft his bat at everything, but I'd still prefer Rogers to open with Cowan. Two proper openers who will negate the new ball and soften it up for the middle order. While I hope Watson finds form, if he fails here, he must make way for a new batsman. Does he have two tests to usurp Warner, or will the batting order be reshuffled if he fails?

  • POSTED BY Lmaotsetung on | June 26, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    @ gop_cricket - the 1989 Allen Border team were not facing the #2 test team. Most of the star English players at that time, Gower, Gatting, Botham, were on the decline well past their prime. Botham and Gower would retire from test cricket 3 years later. Totally different situation we have currently. 1 Aussie on the top 25 in test batting while Eng has 5 players in the top 25. Aussies does better on the bowling side and stats are about even.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | June 26, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    England fans cheer loudly, as this is just a tired repeat like a broken record. Anderson and co has had more than his fill of Watson in the last Ashes and the one before. More of the same to come.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | June 26, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    And if he fails, that should be the end of the Watson test experiment.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | June 26, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    Watto, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Khawaja, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    I think Watson is wasted as an opener. I don't believe that he score a hundred in his previous incarnation as a test opener and with Mike Hussey retiring, you'd have thought that Australia would be better served with utilising Watson's experience down at 5. This would also allow him time to bowl a few more overs as well, which would provide more balance to the Australian side. Australia's batting has plenty of other openers (Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Warner) so I think they are missing a trick by nailing Watson in to one of the opening berth's. Australia's best XI on this tour would be....Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Khawaja / Haddin, Starc, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon.

  • POSTED BY coldcoffee123 on | June 26, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    Australian cricket board, media, and Clarke himself have been projecting Clarke as the savior of Australian cricket. Well, he is not. What did he achieve as captain of the Pune Warriors? Last place finish. True, he is a talented batsman. But his chronic back means he is now a liability while batting and fielding. Michael Clarke's playing days are now numbered. With a chronic back (I think it is the deteriorating discs), every time he will take the field, he is only going to further damage his lower backbone. Like Flintoff's ankle. It would be prudent for Australia to draw the line in the sand and appoint a captain that will take Australian cricket to the next generation. I would also bring back Callum Ferguson in the middle order.

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | June 26, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Any plan that means Cowan and Hughes don't play is probably a good one. As an England fan, Rogers and Watson followed by Khawaja and Clarke looks way more solid.

  • POSTED BY gop_cricket on | June 26, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    I really don't know why Australia is under rated in this Ashes, all who are doing that remember Allen border's 1989 team that left Australian shores (Rated the worst team ever left OZ shore) has tormented England. Today's Australian bowling attack is far better than the 1989 attack I think, and of course today's England is also far better than the England 1989 side. I though an Indian national and an big fan of Indian cricket, I feel Australia to play cricket at it's best is good for entire cricket. Hopefully OZs look at my post and make their world wide fans a big favor by thumping poms in their own backyard. But as good cricket fan I respect current English team as well. So hoping this is going to be a good ashes contest.Any one who loves cricket wants always a good contest between poms and OZs, is it not......!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 26, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Well this will no doubt invite mixed reactions. Does this finally mean that short-format specialist Switch-Hit-And-Out-Warner is out of contention completely? Out of all the many doubtful players in Aus. squad, Watson is perhaps one of the best to go with for now I guess. Got to pick 11 players at the end of the day.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 26, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Well this will no doubt invite mixed reactions. Does this finally mean that short-format specialist Switch-Hit-And-Out-Warner is out of contention completely? Out of all the many doubtful players in Aus. squad, Watson is perhaps one of the best to go with for now I guess. Got to pick 11 players at the end of the day.

  • POSTED BY gop_cricket on | June 26, 2013, 19:29 GMT

    I really don't know why Australia is under rated in this Ashes, all who are doing that remember Allen border's 1989 team that left Australian shores (Rated the worst team ever left OZ shore) has tormented England. Today's Australian bowling attack is far better than the 1989 attack I think, and of course today's England is also far better than the England 1989 side. I though an Indian national and an big fan of Indian cricket, I feel Australia to play cricket at it's best is good for entire cricket. Hopefully OZs look at my post and make their world wide fans a big favor by thumping poms in their own backyard. But as good cricket fan I respect current English team as well. So hoping this is going to be a good ashes contest.Any one who loves cricket wants always a good contest between poms and OZs, is it not......!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | June 26, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Any plan that means Cowan and Hughes don't play is probably a good one. As an England fan, Rogers and Watson followed by Khawaja and Clarke looks way more solid.

  • POSTED BY coldcoffee123 on | June 26, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    Australian cricket board, media, and Clarke himself have been projecting Clarke as the savior of Australian cricket. Well, he is not. What did he achieve as captain of the Pune Warriors? Last place finish. True, he is a talented batsman. But his chronic back means he is now a liability while batting and fielding. Michael Clarke's playing days are now numbered. With a chronic back (I think it is the deteriorating discs), every time he will take the field, he is only going to further damage his lower backbone. Like Flintoff's ankle. It would be prudent for Australia to draw the line in the sand and appoint a captain that will take Australian cricket to the next generation. I would also bring back Callum Ferguson in the middle order.

  • POSTED BY on | June 26, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    I think Watson is wasted as an opener. I don't believe that he score a hundred in his previous incarnation as a test opener and with Mike Hussey retiring, you'd have thought that Australia would be better served with utilising Watson's experience down at 5. This would also allow him time to bowl a few more overs as well, which would provide more balance to the Australian side. Australia's batting has plenty of other openers (Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Warner) so I think they are missing a trick by nailing Watson in to one of the opening berth's. Australia's best XI on this tour would be....Cowan, Rogers, Hughes, Clarke, Watson, Khawaja / Haddin, Starc, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | June 26, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    Watto, Cowan, Hughes, Clarke, Warner, Khawaja, Haddin, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle, Lyon

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | June 26, 2013, 20:56 GMT

    And if he fails, that should be the end of the Watson test experiment.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | June 26, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    England fans cheer loudly, as this is just a tired repeat like a broken record. Anderson and co has had more than his fill of Watson in the last Ashes and the one before. More of the same to come.

  • POSTED BY Lmaotsetung on | June 26, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    @ gop_cricket - the 1989 Allen Border team were not facing the #2 test team. Most of the star English players at that time, Gower, Gatting, Botham, were on the decline well past their prime. Botham and Gower would retire from test cricket 3 years later. Totally different situation we have currently. 1 Aussie on the top 25 in test batting while Eng has 5 players in the top 25. Aussies does better on the bowling side and stats are about even.

  • POSTED BY Dangertroy on | June 26, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    Watson actually last opened in the second innings in the first test in India, promoted as Warner was ill. He made 17. Watsons run as an opener coincided with a tremendous vein of form. I actually think he will make a good partner for Cowan, he has a better defensive technique and won't waft his bat at everything, but I'd still prefer Rogers to open with Cowan. Two proper openers who will negate the new ball and soften it up for the middle order. While I hope Watson finds form, if he fails here, he must make way for a new batsman. Does he have two tests to usurp Warner, or will the batting order be reshuffled if he fails?