The Investec Ashes 2013 August 7, 2013

'I'm happy to bat anywhere' - Watson

63

Shane Watson has said he is happy for his role in the team to evolve and concedes he has not scored enough runs at the top of the order on this tour to lock himself into a permanent opening position. Watson started this Ashes series as an opening batsman who bowled a bit but as Geoffrey Boycott has noted, he might finish it as an opening bowler who bats a bit.

Watson's role changed in the second innings at Old Trafford, where he was demoted to No.4 as the Australians promoted David Warner in a bid for quick runs and stacked their middle order with right-handers in an effort to attack Graeme Swann. It is an order they may well use again in the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street and it could mean Watson's days as a Test opener are numbered.

On this trip, Watson has scored 13, 46, 30, 20 and 19 opening and, in every partnership with Chris Rogers, it has been Watson who has fallen first. He has worked on his propensity to be out lbw to the ball moving in, attempting to balance himself better as the ball is being delivered and have a smaller stride, but at Old Trafford it was an outside edge that ended his stay in the first innings and Watson knows he has not delivered as an opener.

"From my personal perspective, it's been a really disappointing three Test matches so far," Watson said. "To be able to get the starts and get the things going and then not be able to capitalise on that has been extremely annoying. I've been working hard on one thing in particular where the ball is seaming back to try and give myself the best chance of being able to get through a ball like that.

"It's probably been the first time really in my career that I feel like I'm actually batting well, but I'm not getting the results that I know I can get. Of course it's been extremely frustrating, especially batting with Chris, I've felt like we've been able to get a really good bond together opening the batting. But I haven't been out there long enough to be able to build a really big partnership together with him.

"I certainly do love opening the batting in all forms of the game. But even in the second innings I absolutely do understand the thought process behind it [moving down to No.4]. I also haven't scored the runs as an opener as well in these three Test matches to be able to continue to feel like I'm doing a competent job at the top of the order. In the end, I'm happy to bat anywhere, I'm happy to play anywhere to be part of an Australian team that is certainly moving forward."

It is now 12 innings since Watson has made a Test half-century, the most recent one coming against Sri Lanka at the MCG in last year's Boxing Day Test. But his bowling workload has increased and he has sent down 61 overs during the series, even sharing the new ball during the second innings at Lord's. He has dried up England's runs effectively and Watson said he was happy with his extra bowling load.

"To be able to take the new ball in the second innings at Lord's and come on pretty early, my role is probably changing a little bit," he said. "But any way I can try and evolve and try and contribute to the team is the most important thing for me. I am trying to take wickets by being patient but also trying to work the batsman over. One of the outcomes is to keep it really tight.

"I'm not sure that opening the batting and bowling 20 overs in a day would be possible. If that was what the team wanted me to do I would do it to the best of my ability. The way my body is continuing to go and the way I am bowling at the moment I feel that is not too far away. Michael [Clarke] has been looking after me in the three Tests by not bowling me at certain times when we are about to go in to bat again. The way he has been looking after me has been excellent."

It has not only been a difficult tour for Watson on the field with the bat; the revelations in Mickey Arthur's legal documents that Michael Clarke had called Watson "a cancer" on the team and that there was "major tension" between the two men emerged at an awkward time as the battle for the urn heated up. Watson made no denials and said that there had been times when things became difficult off the field, but that Darren Lehmann's appointment as coach had helped.

"It didn't particularly worry me too much," Watson said of the leaking of Arthur's documents. "It's something that's happened in the past ... things that were in and around the team through that period of time of about a year certainly weren't that great but as I said this is an exciting time for me in my cricket career to be able to have Darren Lehmann doing an amazing job of bringing everyone together.

"For me this is the most enjoyable time I've had within the Australian team for a long, long time, so those things ... if things hadn't evolved the way they had within the team then it probably would have affected me more but how excited I am about being involved in the Australian cricket team at this point in time that's all in the past and we're all moving forward."

Watson said the tour of India this year, which included his suspension for one Test over the homework saga, was a low point of his career and he had contemplated his future. However, he said with Lehmann in charge he was no longer thinking in such a way.

"How he coaches is how he played the game, to make sure you really enjoy the game," Watson said of Lehmann. "He played with freedom. I always admired the way Darren did play the game. He got the most out of his talent and was always extremely exciting to watch. He always made the game go forward the way he played. That's how he saw the game and that's how he is as a coach and that's how I am as well I suppose.

"That's the cricket environment I got brought up with when I first started around the Australian squad. It drifted a little bit for a period of time but we've certainly got that back again now that Darren has taken over. People feel like they're instilled with a lot more freedom to be able to go out there and express themselves and have fun doing it."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricketChat on August 7, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Watson failed both as an opener and in middle order in this series. I feel his problems are in mind than form. He came off a fairly productive IPL season just before this series. He doesn't seem to be his usual self on the field. His body language shows that. May be he is still not comfortable playing under Clarke after their fall out a few months ago. No matter what, if he doesn't come good in the remaining 2 tests, assuming he plays in them, he will most likely lose his test spot, possibly for good. In fairness, Aus selectors gave him a long rope to cement his place in tests.

  • Jaggadaaku on August 14, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    You of course happy to bat anywhere, but according to your statistics you cannot play test cricket anymore. Look at how does perform the new talents - C Rogers and S. Smith. AUS should kick him out and give a chance to new talents otherwise AUS would lose the every game. No one should hang there for their century old performance. India kicked out Sehwag and gave a chance to Shikhar Dhavan and look at his performance in every game. India could rise again.

  • disco_bob on August 12, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    I'd also be happy for Watto to bat anywhere. Anywhere but the Test team that is. Another soft tissue injury after a decent bowling spell, means that he is a liability if picked as a bowler and his batting is not good enough on its own. Time to call time on his Test career.

  • umairbond on August 9, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Watson has scored 13, 46, 30, 20 and 19 .But his bowling workload has increased thats why the batting collapse of watson .The main reason is bowling a lot. i think no 4 is good for him.and other bowlers take burden out of him

  • Chopman on August 9, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Shane Watson is definitely worth persevering with. He is a perfect number six. A strong striker and a very tight, reliable bowler.

  • landl47 on August 9, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Watson should be happy to bat anywhere. Given his record, he should be happy to bat at all.

  • King-Cobra on August 9, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Watson, the fuss maker. 7+ years since debut and neither Australia or Watson himself know what is expected out of him.

    Firstly he says he won't bowl at all, a few series later when he hasn't contributed enough with bat he says he will do bowling for the sake of the team's balance, and before long he figures that he cannot still contribute with the bat and opine that he's best at the opening slot & finally seeing that nothing is working out he is ready to turn the burden on the management to figure where he should bat.

    It should always have been Katich in his place. And Clarke is the one responsible for this mess, for not giving Katich his chance.

  • on August 9, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    It is a joke that Watson is still in the team. He has been selected as a batsman and his bowling os only an extra. As a test batsman, his last 50 was in December and before that April, 2012. Even his fielding in the last test was poor. Cowan, Khawaja and Hughes have all performed better in the same time frame. He must have something special on someone to keep getting selected when he has no form.

  • on August 9, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    watson is not seeming to be in the form in bating . but he is bowling well . heshould concentrate on batting or else to lose position in team. being a big fan of watto iam praying to god to make watto to perform well.

  • Markus971 on August 9, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    The problem with S.Watson is He's never able to bowl enough to take the pressure off of His batting. He must have so much scar tissue, I'm amazed He is still going into this next game Fit!! If He can continue to work extra hard on His body & Flexibility, at His pace, He should be able to stay healthy. You just could not be planning a future Aussie team with Him in it! Currently with the amount He bowls He is definetly a batting all-rounder, who, with His batting form, should not be picked in the next game!

  • CricketChat on August 7, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Watson failed both as an opener and in middle order in this series. I feel his problems are in mind than form. He came off a fairly productive IPL season just before this series. He doesn't seem to be his usual self on the field. His body language shows that. May be he is still not comfortable playing under Clarke after their fall out a few months ago. No matter what, if he doesn't come good in the remaining 2 tests, assuming he plays in them, he will most likely lose his test spot, possibly for good. In fairness, Aus selectors gave him a long rope to cement his place in tests.

  • Jaggadaaku on August 14, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    You of course happy to bat anywhere, but according to your statistics you cannot play test cricket anymore. Look at how does perform the new talents - C Rogers and S. Smith. AUS should kick him out and give a chance to new talents otherwise AUS would lose the every game. No one should hang there for their century old performance. India kicked out Sehwag and gave a chance to Shikhar Dhavan and look at his performance in every game. India could rise again.

  • disco_bob on August 12, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    I'd also be happy for Watto to bat anywhere. Anywhere but the Test team that is. Another soft tissue injury after a decent bowling spell, means that he is a liability if picked as a bowler and his batting is not good enough on its own. Time to call time on his Test career.

  • umairbond on August 9, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Watson has scored 13, 46, 30, 20 and 19 .But his bowling workload has increased thats why the batting collapse of watson .The main reason is bowling a lot. i think no 4 is good for him.and other bowlers take burden out of him

  • Chopman on August 9, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Shane Watson is definitely worth persevering with. He is a perfect number six. A strong striker and a very tight, reliable bowler.

  • landl47 on August 9, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Watson should be happy to bat anywhere. Given his record, he should be happy to bat at all.

  • King-Cobra on August 9, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    Watson, the fuss maker. 7+ years since debut and neither Australia or Watson himself know what is expected out of him.

    Firstly he says he won't bowl at all, a few series later when he hasn't contributed enough with bat he says he will do bowling for the sake of the team's balance, and before long he figures that he cannot still contribute with the bat and opine that he's best at the opening slot & finally seeing that nothing is working out he is ready to turn the burden on the management to figure where he should bat.

    It should always have been Katich in his place. And Clarke is the one responsible for this mess, for not giving Katich his chance.

  • on August 9, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    It is a joke that Watson is still in the team. He has been selected as a batsman and his bowling os only an extra. As a test batsman, his last 50 was in December and before that April, 2012. Even his fielding in the last test was poor. Cowan, Khawaja and Hughes have all performed better in the same time frame. He must have something special on someone to keep getting selected when he has no form.

  • on August 9, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    watson is not seeming to be in the form in bating . but he is bowling well . heshould concentrate on batting or else to lose position in team. being a big fan of watto iam praying to god to make watto to perform well.

  • Markus971 on August 9, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    The problem with S.Watson is He's never able to bowl enough to take the pressure off of His batting. He must have so much scar tissue, I'm amazed He is still going into this next game Fit!! If He can continue to work extra hard on His body & Flexibility, at His pace, He should be able to stay healthy. You just could not be planning a future Aussie team with Him in it! Currently with the amount He bowls He is definetly a batting all-rounder, who, with His batting form, should not be picked in the next game!

  • tazzmann on August 9, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    Watson should go. Batting anywhere really means he doesn't deserve a spot in the team. His selection shows the fixation the selectors have for him to be an all rounder, yet they persist on having him opening. Drop him down the order, and he can then focus on being an all rounder. He is not an opener, as his results speaks for itself.Put a proper opener in his place, and I don't mean David Warner who is also lucky to have a spot in the team. Rogers and Cowan to open, both specialist openers and build from there. Forget about the fast starts that the team always seems to hope for when Warner and Watson are opening.

  • on August 9, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    my team for the 4th test would be 1.Rogers 2.Warner 3.Khawaja 4.Clarke 5.Watson 6.Smith 7.Haddin 8.Harris 9.Siddle 10.Bird 11.Lyon.........................Warner can bat at no.3 considering Khawaja being Swann's bunny in the last 3 innings perhaps poor against off spin...............Warner can dominate Swann and put him off.....Khawaja is rooocccckkk solid against quick and swing bowling...........

  • wellrounded87 on August 9, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    @TomPrice His average is also higher than Warner, Khawaja, Cook, Trott and Prior so your stat doesn't carry much weight. What's your point? He has had a few innings where he looked in good nick. And considering the value of his bowling i think his spot is safe for at least a little while longer. Though i think guys like Henriques, Faulkner and Maxwell are starting to beat down the door to take his place.

    @Candice Killuminati Tshiunza the artice mentions his scores as an opener. His 18 was at number 4 hence why it is not included. Also his average for the series is 24 not 21.

  • on August 9, 2013, 2:35 GMT

    Coming to think of it, Shane Watson is in many ways the exact opposite of Steven Smith. Watson is immensely talented while Smith will struggle to find a spot in the squad of any test playing nation bar (perhaps) Bangladesh based on his (lack of) talent. Smith started out as a spinner who could contribute important runs as a lower order batsman while Watson started as a batsman who can contribute important wickets as a fifth bowler. While Watson has underachieved, he is difficult to drop because of his match winning potential, but Smith is lucky to contribute a bit here and there and still be in the Australian team just because they are going through a phase where they are totally bankrupt in batting and spin bowling departments. While Watson might end up, as this article suggested as a bowler who could bat a bit, Smith is now being considered a batsman (by taking his word for it) who could turn his arm over if necessary. In terms of confidence (or ego) they are quite opposite too!

  • Wefinishthis on August 9, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    He says that because he knows he's not good enough and is trying to protect his spot in the team. Fact is that Watson is not test quality and doesn't deserve to wear the baggy green. He's due for retirement in a few years anyway and he hasn't contributed anything with bat and only a little with the ball. Drop him for Silk or Maddinson. Not a tough decision, but these are the same selectors that think that Doherty, Lyon and Agar are better bowlers than O'Keefe and that Starc is a better red-ball bowler than Bird. If Steyn and Philander got Australian citizenship, they probably wouldn't get picked in the Australian test side because their ODI performances are not good enough. They're fools. We need to drop any selectors who do not understand what a bowling average is and how ODI performances are different to Shield performances.

  • 5wombats on August 9, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    Heading should read; "lucky to bat anywhere"....

  • gop_cricket on August 9, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    Watson is a class act, he can bat any where depending on the situation. Don't write him off early, he is dangerous when get going. I think, he is just away from one big innings and he will be alright. He has to sort his frame of mind than his technique. A batsman having as many shots as Watson should play his shots freely than just thinking about what happens if he plays a particular shot like front foot pull. That dents his confidence. More over he is playing ashes, that plays definitely on psyche of any player not only Watson. To that matter even Cook was not that outstanding during this series, but we cannot write him off right! Same applies to Watson as well.

  • on August 8, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Can't believe he's going to be in the side again, while Cowan and Hughes sit on the sideline. I've been pretty supportive of the changes the Australian team have made over the last few months, but come on folks, Watsons done his dash. He's a better bowler than batter, and the bowlers we have had in the side have all got more runs than him lately.

    A 5th bowler is always useful, but to think that we can beat England with 5 batsmen and Haddin and a long tail is proposterous thinking.

    Ed Cowan and Phil Hughes should be feeling very unlucky. Either would make an ideal opening partner for Chris Rogers.

  • DSPT on August 8, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    It was at the start of the series that Watson said opening the batting was his best spot, results have not followed despite him looking promising from time to time. Now he says he is happy to bat anywhere in the order, sounds like a move in desperation if you ask me. As an Australian fan I do not care where he bats as long as he makes runs, time though must surely be running out on Watsons test career. Lucky he can bowl.

  • MinusZero on August 8, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    Enough already with Watson, he isnt a Flintoff or a Kallis and never will be. Its time to try someone new. There must be a shady deal going on for him to continue to be selected. The annoying thing is, if he continues to fail but plays the 5th test. He will automatically be selected in the next series. He shows in tests why he is a good ODI player. A good economy but no wickets in ODIs is great, not so in tests. When was the last time Australia took 20 wickets? Either play a proper bowler or batsman, not someone who doesn't excel at either.

  • on August 8, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    This is a 10 Test series. I just think that folks might be getting a little ahead of themselves. We are just 30% thru

  • morethan20-20 on August 8, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    I seems that we had better get used to Watto in our lives, the guy is a media sponge Watson loves any press he can get and doesn't seem to care that his most recent statements completely contradict his previous inane ramblings . Matt Hayden used to be a flat track bully , I think the term was just getting warmed up for its proper and deserving recipient. Not much of a Faulkner fan but he would be worth a look at in the 5th test, which may allow Starc to have rest and play Harris Bird Siddle Lyon with Faulkner as your apparently necessary lefty.

  • rafe01 on August 8, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    I'm sure I remember seeing this exact headline about six months ago.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 8, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Things are looking up for Watson in regards to his position in the batting order. With Bird coming into the side he might be able to outscore one of the other bowlers.

  • on August 8, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    Australia dont have a clue! You cant chop and change a team every test match and expect decent results. They look as bad as England in the 90s. Now they just need 3 captains in a series when we go over there and the comparison is even more accurate!

  • TomPrice on August 8, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    So far this series, Watson's average is lower than Pattinson, Agar, Starc, and Harris. Lyon has not had a bat.

  • Barnesy4444 on August 8, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    He has to be given the entire series to open. After making a bold statement at the start of the series that Watson was opening he has to be given 5 tests. If he fails for the remaining two tests then look for a change with the return series.

    I would like to see Hughes in the top 3, unfortunately I can't see Khawaja cementing a top order spot. If Khawaja only averages 32 against county teams I can't see him dominating test cricket. Hughes' 81* was really an excellent match changing innings and to be dropped after only one more test is bizarre.

  • on August 8, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    Watson has acknowledged that he hasn't delivered with the bat in this Series, but then how many of the Aussie batsmen have? He has however, bowled excellently and he's always a fine slip fielder. The Aussies are not blessed with strength in depth at present, so replacing Watson just because, especially with Agar would be foolish. Agar might be a promising batsman but his bowling leaves a lot to be desired. It would be wrong to make Watson a scapegoat for the similarly comparative failures of others. Consistency is a hallmark of good teams. If the Aussies can keep up the momentum they built at Old Trafford, they might e on their way to becoming one -looking for heads to roll will be less of an issue.

  • on August 8, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Its better watson can forget test cricket and concentrate only on odi and t20 and instead of watson can bring henriques, has he had a good series in india and now he is dropped. I think henriques is the right balance for the struggling aussies.

  • on August 8, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    This is the second time, can you at least get his scores right, geesh! He scored 19 and 18 at Manchester. Don't mean to be persnickety or anything. Just can't stand the guy. How much longer are CA going to persist with him? He FAILED at 1, FAILED at 4, he's a number 6 at best. Pick your best batsmen and best bowlers not these bits & pieces players. He's been in horrendous form for as long as I can remember, averaging 21 in this series so far. You can't keep picking on potential, he's 32 years old and way past his sell by date. We've seen the best of him.

  • kramdrol on August 8, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    Agar should replace Watson as Australia's new allrounder. Bat him at 6. He'll make more runs and take more wickets than Watto. Now that Watto has lost the 'zip' in his bowling, and is basically not taking wickets, his spot should go to an emerging talent. At 32, he still hasn't delivered the goods, and is now a wasted selection in the team. With the Ashes lost, now is the time to try new talents.

  • cricket_ahan on August 8, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    cont... addressed first and then point 1 will be forced to come into line. Watson's position should be set - no more changing. If he is an opener, develop him into an opener, though I believe (like many others) that his technique / batting style and his usefulness with the ball better support a case for him to play a more genuine allrounder approach - take a few handy wickets, and score some late order runs. Whatever it is, keep it consistent so at least Watson's preparation can be focused. If he doesn't perform after that, then you drop him and give someone else a chance. He is immensely talented and it would be a shame if that wasn't translated to Test-arena success for the Aussie team.

  • cricket_ahan on August 8, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    I believe this a two pronged problem - 1) Shane Watson and his obvious attitude problem - going by the comments in this article, it seems he is admitting to his conflicting relationship with both Clarke and Arthur. Maybe it's far fetched to lay sole blame on him (since relationships are always two-way streets), but there have been countless examples of him not being a team man, and this has surely contributed to diminished unity in the side. 2) CA have been messy in a multitude of areas in recent years - firing a coach two weeks before an Ashes series, prepping spinners for prolonged periods and dropping them unexpectedly at the drop of a hat, constantly changing batting orders, inexplicable bowler rotations, inconsistent application of discipline for players misbehaving... the list goes on and on. How can you expect players, case in point Shane Watson, to play to their optimum levels when you don't provide a stable environment for them to do so?... I think point 2) should be cont...

  • DylanBrah on August 8, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    How about for your state side in the Sheffield Shield Watto where you belong...

  • on August 8, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    I have never seen Watson as batting higher than 5 in tests. I believe Clarke sees it this way but Watson refused. Hence the angst. Convenient that when his place is in jeopardy that he's keen to bowl and bat anywhere.

  • BigDataIsAHoax on August 8, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    @Unmesh_cric: Completely agree. Given the circumstances, this is the perfect move, provided Australia implement it in the 4th Test. Warner loves to play the new ball and given that he is suspect against spin, specially that of Swann, it's best to have him open the batting so he can hammer the shine out of the new ball. Watson, on the other hand is a right hand bat, very attacking against spinners once he gets going. The key is to have as many right hand batsmen play Swann as possible. Australia can even the series out 2-2 given their dominance in the last match. The return Ashes is not too far and Australia have significantly increased their chances to retain the urn later this year, after a positive display in the 3rd test.

  • Dangertroy on August 8, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    He is averaging 21 in this series, which is a bit lower than his average over the past three years, which is now hovering around 25. Can we finally conclude that his best spot is as an opener? Its now quite apparent that his run as an opener coincided with a patch of extremely good form.

    So is a guy averaging 21 a good pick for number 4? Clarke finally had a good match at four, so lets keep him there, bat him at six and get some overs out of him. If he breaks down, he breaks down.

    I've always quite liked his bowling (apart from his histrionics when he takes a wicket) in fact in a perfect world where he was injury free he would make a fine number 8.

  • Amith_S on August 8, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    Put it simply for me Watson is our best opener along with Rogers. Khawaja is our best first drop and we need to give him a chance to show what he can do there. Smith and Clarke our best middle order batsman and warner at 6 can be dangerous.

  • Chris_P on August 7, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Where he should be batting is the nets while Hughes is playing in the next test. Down here we have a name for protected species, however I understand there is a call to have it changed to "a Watson".

  • on August 7, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    Well, he says he's happy to bat anywhere. The question I ask Australians is: Are YOU happy for him to bat anywhere?

  • CapitalMarkets on August 7, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    I think some of the Watson bashing has been crass and, even though I'm an Englishman, I'd like to see the guy do well as it is obvious that he has been adversely affected by a slightly over-prescriptive regime and is enjoying himself more under pup and boof. The opponents give his bowling a lot more respect than some of the contributiors here and he is the only genuine all-rounder (with a test batting average higher than his bowling average) in either side. Clearly as one of the senior pros it has been defficult to patch up his relationship with his captain but he should be credited with making the effort, because the strong implication is that Katich would not mend his fences and that's why he had to go. It's obvious that you aren't going to get anywhere if the older hands are snarling at each other. Working on a technical batting defiuciency is what most players have to do at some time in their careers and to suggest that Watto's not a valued team member is ridiulous. He plainly is.

  • HolyShmoly on August 7, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Cricinfo never publishes my comments, I will try one last time.

    Enjoying cricket has become such a cliché that it is not enjoyable any more to hear someone "enjoying their cricket" . No one cares if Watson or our own Tendulkar enjoys their cricket or not...what matters is they perform/deliver. They can keep their "enjoying their cricket" to themselves. Fans pay to watch the players perform not to know if the players are enjoying their cricket.

  • Bythebook on August 7, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    Watson has never really earned his place by consistent performances in test matches. Sometimes he gets picked because of his IPL performance or he gets picked owing to his ODI or T20 performances for Australia. Not that he has exactly set the game on fire anywhere at the international arena. That he is being talked up on 'potential' and still being persisted with points to 2 things - paucity of talent in the Aussie ranks - and politically correct behaviour by CA as sacking Watson now would ratify Arthur's claims of rift between Clarke and Watson. Truly, on current form, Watson will not find a place in ANY of the top 8 teams.

  • Unmesh_cric on August 7, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    Being an Indian fan, I would love to have a fast-bowling all-rounder like Watson in the Indian team, especially in the overseas Tests. I always feel that Watson hasn't been handled very well by the Australian team management. He is a positive player and likes to play him shots. These kind of players always need that 'backing' from the team management. Lehmann appointment may turn out to be very good for Watson's career. The previous management under Arthur seemed too strict on the players..I don't think most Australian players felt comfortable with that set-up. Generally, Watson is good at attacking spinners. So it won't be a bad idea to have him bat at No.4 in rest of this series. He can take the mantle of putting pressure on Swann. Just give him the license to attack Swann..no mixed signals. This series can turn over its heads if this plan is successful.

  • Cyril_Knight on August 7, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    @MalcolmThomson why is Rogers in the team? Because he's a darn sight better than anyone else out there. Blimey has he not proven it? Hughes is absolutely rubbish, if he opens against England this year he will be destroyed beyond any return. Without Rogers Australia would face more humiliation. He is a superb batsman, Cowan, Warner or Hughes will only match his first-class record if they play in Zimbabwe for the rest of their careers.

  • strikeforce2003 on August 7, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    Batting anywhere isn't the problem Watto..the problem is batting at your slot, scoring runs and staying there. Keep your And, do not cover all stumps on your pads as you stay at the crease!

  • on August 7, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    Rogers is nearly 36 , so why is he in the team. Warner needs to open but Cowen or Hughes has to be the other opener. There are too many openers in this team. !! No number 3. Khawaja is very suss. Watson is No 6. If he doesn't start making a score , he's of NO use! Out of 81 innings he had made 2 tons !

  • on August 7, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Watto should'nt be playing test cricket coz he aint good enough but he is a CA poster boy. So, bat him at #6 and make him bowl his butt off. If his body breaks down again then replace him.

  • crockit on August 7, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    You say he dries up runs in this series but he has only taken one wicket in three tests - indicating England have found that if you don't take risks against him he does not take wickets. Sounds to me like a one day style bowler where batters will lose their wickets to him forcing the pace. In tests he has 63 wickets in 44 tests. That puts him in the bracket of a batter who is a useful auxillary rather than frontline bowler. Granted that is partly because his workload is managed but its also because he does not have the venom to pose a real threat.

    Batting wise he averages just over 20 in 2013 and 34 overall. These are the stats of a number 7. In a different era he would have been dumped by now. It is only the fact that many other Aus batters have similarly mediocre statistics that warrants him being preferred given that he can contribute a little with the ball.

  • ravi_hari on August 7, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Potentially Watson is second only to Kallis as an allrounder. However, he has not done justice to this top billing. If one looks at Watson, he gives an impression of trying too hard this series. He started off well, getting breakthroughs with the ball and giving a good start in the second innings while chasing. After that he has not taken many wickets nor scored runs. I think he is putting a lot of pressure on himself with high expectations. It would be good if he takes one at a time. As he is bowling decent tight lines 5 to 6 overs each spell should be happy with that. He should concentrate on occupying the crease and scoring as freely as possible. Opening is the best bet for him. However, if the team feels he should bat lower, then No.6 is the right position. If he comes in around the 70th over he will have time to get his eye in against spin and medium pace and get ready to take on the second new ball. He is a great talent and Aussies cannot afford to loose him at this crucial time

  • GloryDaysReturn on August 7, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Watto eating a bit of humble pie...good! I guess the problem I have with the likes of guys like Watson is that they get found out by the good bowlers and weaknesses are exploited and made to look worse. He's now so worried about the ball coming back in that he's not covering for the one decking away, which leads to an edge. Hughes is in the same camp: c. Guptill b. Martin, etc. It's one thing to have classy shots, exquisite timing or sheer power (include Khawaja and Haddin in this group), but sometimes you need smarts as well. Rogers, Clarke and to a lesser extent Smith have no obvious weaknesses. They look more adaptable.

  • DingDong420 on August 7, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    Try the nets as a good starting point

  • PrasPunter on August 7, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    If managed well, we can get a good 3-4 years out of Watson scoring a quick 50 or odd at 6 and bowling a few good tight overs, may be with a few wickets. He is a very good bowler - no doubt about it - and if he really means it when he says that he enjoys the current setup, then it is great for him and us. Not a test-opening material though, the sooner he realises it the better.

  • Chris_Howard on August 7, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    @Thomas Cherian. +1

    @Jacques Small. -1

    It's an insult to Kallis to use his name in the same sentence as Watson.

    Kallis batting, 13128 runs at 56. 44 centuries. Bowling 288 wickets at 32.

    Watson 2726 runs at 34. 2 centuries. 63 wickets at 31.

    The only other all rounder who can seriously be talked about in the same breath as Kalllis is Sobers (averages 57 and 34).

    Flintoff (batting 31, bowling 32) was a better all rounder than Watson - even though his averages slightly favour Watson. Though Flintoff was a proven match winner, with a better rate of centuries, and much higher rate of turning in 4 or more wickets in an innings.

  • Rahul_78 on August 7, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    It WATTO vs Captain Clarke.Clarke always wanted Watto to bat in middle and bowl 10-15 overs, Watto always thought that he could do the job at the top and he has failed at it period. Watto must have understood it and now is the time to swallow the ego and return back to the middle order. In Warner, Rogers, Hughes and Cowan Aussies have ample openers but it is their middle order from position 3 to 5 that is struggling if Clarke doesnt score. Now even Clarke has moved to no 4 and scored big with Warner at top and 3 right handers in Clarke, Smith and Watson in middle Aussies have better balance and chances of countering Swann and even attack him. If any 2 of Rogers, Warner and Khwaja click Aussies will score big runs. We have seen the Poms can be put under pressure if runs are on the board with Cook and Clarke struggling. At last some pieces seem to be falling in place for Aussies.

  • jeauxx on August 7, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    This could well be the solution to Australia's middle order woes. For the first three Tests, Australia have struggled filling the no. 6 position following Clarke & Smith, employing Hughes and Warner there as experiments. Neither has been greatly successful, and you can put it down to their ability (as left-handers) to counter Swann's spin away from them.

    Watson is a more capable player of spin than Warner and Hughes (who would do well having the ball come onto the bat as openers), and would not be too troubled with Swann spinning it into him. At 6 he would also face an older ball that is less easily able to exploit his LBW weakness. And on top of this, batting at 6, his inability to convert his starts is not as big a deal - a 30 batting at 6 is a lot more useful than a 30 then getting out as opener.

    Lastly, his bowling load would be more easily managed from the middle order. There are real reasons to consider moving Watson back down.

  • blink182alex on August 7, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I still think he should open, it was only a few months ago everyone was saying he should open as he has a poor record in the middle order, opening is where he has had his success so i would stick with him. He hasn't been too far away but he needs to convert the starts.

    Either way i think he is too good a cricketer not to be in the side, if we can leave out a player of Watson's ability then we must have one hell of a side, and we don't.

  • on August 7, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Watson Rogers Clarke Warner Smith Khawaja/Hughes Haddin Agar Siddle Harris Bird

    Next test lineup.

  • on August 7, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    stick with him opening, imo, try warner at 4, it's a bit low for warner to be batting at 6.

  • dwblurb on August 7, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    A lot of very prominent judges disagree, but I have always thought Watson's best role in Test cricket would be to bat at six (where he could potentially dominate an attack if the team position is good, or rebuild, or face the second new ball) and bowl a lot of overs. The batting position of an all-rounder, in other words. With so many batsmen around the Test team at the moment who are best suited to opening or batting three (Rogers, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja) I feel Watson at six makes even more sense.

  • on August 7, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Never had the technique as a test opener. And never will. Let Australia move on and put a decent opening batsman in there.

  • on August 7, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    He talks about disappointing 3 , I think other than a few tests he has been a failure as a test player. Of course he has done well in IPL ?

  • on August 7, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Shane is better off having a Kallis like position for the Ausies. Every team needs a really good allrounder and Shane can do this. Bat no higher than four and bowl a good few overs.

  • on August 7, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Shane is better off having a Kallis like position for the Ausies. Every team needs a really good allrounder and Shane can do this. Bat no higher than four and bowl a good few overs.

  • on August 7, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    He talks about disappointing 3 , I think other than a few tests he has been a failure as a test player. Of course he has done well in IPL ?

  • on August 7, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Never had the technique as a test opener. And never will. Let Australia move on and put a decent opening batsman in there.

  • dwblurb on August 7, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    A lot of very prominent judges disagree, but I have always thought Watson's best role in Test cricket would be to bat at six (where he could potentially dominate an attack if the team position is good, or rebuild, or face the second new ball) and bowl a lot of overs. The batting position of an all-rounder, in other words. With so many batsmen around the Test team at the moment who are best suited to opening or batting three (Rogers, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja) I feel Watson at six makes even more sense.

  • on August 7, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    stick with him opening, imo, try warner at 4, it's a bit low for warner to be batting at 6.

  • on August 7, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Watson Rogers Clarke Warner Smith Khawaja/Hughes Haddin Agar Siddle Harris Bird

    Next test lineup.

  • blink182alex on August 7, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I still think he should open, it was only a few months ago everyone was saying he should open as he has a poor record in the middle order, opening is where he has had his success so i would stick with him. He hasn't been too far away but he needs to convert the starts.

    Either way i think he is too good a cricketer not to be in the side, if we can leave out a player of Watson's ability then we must have one hell of a side, and we don't.

  • jeauxx on August 7, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    This could well be the solution to Australia's middle order woes. For the first three Tests, Australia have struggled filling the no. 6 position following Clarke & Smith, employing Hughes and Warner there as experiments. Neither has been greatly successful, and you can put it down to their ability (as left-handers) to counter Swann's spin away from them.

    Watson is a more capable player of spin than Warner and Hughes (who would do well having the ball come onto the bat as openers), and would not be too troubled with Swann spinning it into him. At 6 he would also face an older ball that is less easily able to exploit his LBW weakness. And on top of this, batting at 6, his inability to convert his starts is not as big a deal - a 30 batting at 6 is a lot more useful than a 30 then getting out as opener.

    Lastly, his bowling load would be more easily managed from the middle order. There are real reasons to consider moving Watson back down.

  • Rahul_78 on August 7, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    It WATTO vs Captain Clarke.Clarke always wanted Watto to bat in middle and bowl 10-15 overs, Watto always thought that he could do the job at the top and he has failed at it period. Watto must have understood it and now is the time to swallow the ego and return back to the middle order. In Warner, Rogers, Hughes and Cowan Aussies have ample openers but it is their middle order from position 3 to 5 that is struggling if Clarke doesnt score. Now even Clarke has moved to no 4 and scored big with Warner at top and 3 right handers in Clarke, Smith and Watson in middle Aussies have better balance and chances of countering Swann and even attack him. If any 2 of Rogers, Warner and Khwaja click Aussies will score big runs. We have seen the Poms can be put under pressure if runs are on the board with Cook and Clarke struggling. At last some pieces seem to be falling in place for Aussies.

  • Chris_Howard on August 7, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    @Thomas Cherian. +1

    @Jacques Small. -1

    It's an insult to Kallis to use his name in the same sentence as Watson.

    Kallis batting, 13128 runs at 56. 44 centuries. Bowling 288 wickets at 32.

    Watson 2726 runs at 34. 2 centuries. 63 wickets at 31.

    The only other all rounder who can seriously be talked about in the same breath as Kalllis is Sobers (averages 57 and 34).

    Flintoff (batting 31, bowling 32) was a better all rounder than Watson - even though his averages slightly favour Watson. Though Flintoff was a proven match winner, with a better rate of centuries, and much higher rate of turning in 4 or more wickets in an innings.