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April 13, 2012
Shane Watson has pledged to rid himself of a run-out affliction that he admits is affecting the progress of the Australian team.
A horrid misjudgement to account for Ricky Ponting in the first innings of the Bridgetown Test was perhaps the worst of the eight such dismissals Watson has been implicated in over his 33 Tests.
The incident visibly affected Watson, leaving him hunched over his bat and cursing for several seconds as Ponting marched off, and contributed to a clouded state of mind that had him driving impertinently at the second ball after lunch and edging behind.
"That [Ponting run-out] hurt me," Watson said at Queen's Park Oval. "Unfortunately I've been involved in too many run-outs, which is not good enough, but this one especially really did affect me, so I made sure that I've given Ricky a few presents and provided him a number of things I could to try to cheer him up a little bit, because it did affect me a lot. I'll be doing everything I possibly can to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Having made a bold 54 on the final afternoon that helped set-up Australia's dramatic chase to defeat the West Indies in the first Test, Watson will play his second match at No. 3 with confidence about the position, but is acutely aware that it will not be his strokeplay or technique that team-mates will be most wary of.
"I'm going to have to do a couple of things differently, definitely," Watson said. "There's no doubt the way you're brought up running between the wickets, everyone's slightly different, like your technique and how that develops.
"I've got to have a look at my technique of running between the wickets and my calling, because in the end it hasn't been compatible with the guys I've batted with as well. I seriously need to find a way to make sure it works, because at the moment it hasn't been working consistently anyway, and it's not good enough.
"Any form of the game but especially in a Test match on a flat wicket when runs are so valuable, it's certainly not good enough. I've been having a chat to a few guys and I know there are a couple of specific things that I know I can do differently to be able to communicate better to ensure there's less chance of that occurring again."
Having had six Test matches out of the national side due to injury, a run-out in Watson's first match back did not escape the attention of the Australian team room, and he said he was under as much pressure from the rest of the squad as he was from himself to correct a damaging fault in his game.
"Peer group pressure I think [has influenced Watson to change]," he said. "And also I am very honest with myself in all of my life, let alone my cricket side, and I know when there's something not right that I need to address. This certainly is one of those because it is not good enough and it's affecting the team. I know from my perspective I'm very honest with myself to know that's something I do need to rectify. But also peer group pressure means I certainly need to.
"I'll be doing everything I possibly can to make the adjustments I need to make to be able to get it as right as possible. Run-outs do occur, but trying to limit the amount from my perspective. It's a fine line. You want to make sure you are putting the pressure back on the West Indian bowlers and fielding team to be able to score the runs and rotate the strike.
"But also the fine line of not taking a big risk which means you could lose a wicket as well, whereas being cautious means there can also be some mix-ups as well. It is a fine line and that's the reason why in games there are run-outs. But from my perspective it is something that hasn't been good enough and I definitely need to rectify it, because we can't afford those things to happen."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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