Injured allrounder relies on physio's review April 3, 2007

Watson waits on his World Cup fate

Cricinfo staff

Shane Watson leaves the field on Saturday with another problem © Getty Images

Shane Watson's injured calf will be reviewed later in the week to determine whether the allrounder stays in the Caribbean. Scans revealed Watson had a minor tear in his left leg and Alex Kountouris, the physiotherapist, said he would spend the next few days resting and could be out for up to three weeks.

"He's likely to be but I want to review it later in the week," Kountouris said in the Herald Sun. "It all depends on how quickly he's improving. If he is feeling great by the end of the week, the prognosis is very good. If it's not, it's probably going to take a lot longer to recover."

A three-week break would mean Watson would miss his side's four remaining Super Eights matches, but he could be fit for the semi-final if Australia qualify. The semi-finals are scheduled for April 24 and 25 and the selectors must decide if he is worth waiting for. Cameron White, the Victoria allrounder, and Queensland's James Hopes are options if Watson is ruled out of the tournament.

"We've got the benefit of not having a game for a whole week so that makes it a little bit easier," Kountouris said. "We'll probably use most of the week doing nothing and wait until his soreness improves. Once that is a lot better we'll get him jogging. I'm anticipating something between five, seven or ten days just depending on how quickly it improves."

Watson, the injury-prone allrounder who missed the Ashes series with a serious hamstring complaint, sustained his new problem in the win over Bangladesh on Saturday. Watson managed only ten deliveries before breaking down and leaving the field.

Kountouris said before the scans he was not expecting Watson to be a World Cup write-off. "It's not oh my God, he's definitely out of the tournament," Kountouris told AAP. "But it's a muscle strain halfway through the tournament so it's obviously a bit of a concern."

Kountouris said it was lucky Watson had left the field and did not try to complete his over. "It would have got worse with a couple more balls," Kountouris said in The Australian. "Having the break now probably helps more. If it had happened in the next game, he would be in real trouble for the World Cup. But we have got that extra week now, which does make a difference."

The squad will rest for three days after its unbeaten start to the tournament and the fitness of Watson is the only concern. Brad Hodge, who was squeezed out when Andrew Symonds returned, is the obvious candidate to replace Watson for Australia's next match against England on Sunday in a move that would upset the balance of the side.

Despite numerous injuries to Watson, including stress fractures which ruled him out of the previous World Cup, Australia's selectors have persisted with him in the hope he will develop into a world-class allrounder. "He had a history of that hamstring strain this summer, which probably didn't go that well," Kountouris told AAP.

"But he has also strained the other calf a year ago so we have got a little bit of history with how he hurt himself with a similar sort of injury in the Pura Cup final last year. We'll use all that information and be as cautious as we possibly can."