Great allrounder says Australian has talent March 21, 2007

Sobers likes the look of Watson

Cricinfo staff

Shane Watson's batting is fine, but he has to improve his bowling to be a true allrounder © Getty Images

Sir Garry Sobers has given Shane Watson a World Cup boost by recognising his talent and saying he will improve as he matures. Watson spent much of the home summer being criticised - hamstring problems ruled him out of the Ashes and most of the one-day campaign - and he was shocked to learn of Sobers' rating.

"I was surprised someone of his stature even knows I exist," Watson said in the Courier-Mail. "It's flattering, particularly after some of the things some people have said about me this year."

The allrounder Sobers, who was one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Century, praised Watson in St Kitts during a meeting with Herschelle Gibbs to recognise his six sixes in an over. "He's useful," Sobers said of Watson. "I like him and I think he will improve. To be a great allrounder, you must be able to be chosen in a side on both skills.

"Shane is not there yet. He is a batsman who bowls. He would have to improve his bowling, but he has talent."

Another aspect Watson has been working hard on is his body language and Sobers said it was an important part of the game as long as it was natural. "You should always try to keep up that bravery and that smile," he said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "Whatever [your] body language, it should come naturally.

"It shouldn't be something that you put on, like all the antics you see today on the cricket field. I walked the same way off the field, I walked the same way down the street. That was just my natural walk and a lot of people copied it."

Watson said he was aware of keeping a stable outlook. "That's the most important thing," he said. "I know when I am at my best I am aggressive and confident, and I am keeping my body language consistent. It has been a big part of my improvement over the last year."

Sobers also backed Australia's on-field behaviour after they had been criticised by Sunil Gavaskar. "Australia has always played cricket like the West Indians," Sobers said in The Australian. "I always enjoyed playing in Australia because the Australians are a team that tried to play the game attractive, tried to win - not at all costs - but tried to win. That is a great attitude to have. You learn when you play Australia, there is a toughness about the Australians."