West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port of Spain

Run-outs 'not good enough' - Watson

Daniel Brettig in Port of Spain

April 13, 2012

Comments: 45 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting vents his frustration after being run out, West Indies v Australia, 1st Test, Barbados, 3rd day, April 9, 2012
"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" © AFP
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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 here

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Posted by zenboomerang on (April 16, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

@Always-positive :- "I think you will find England are the number 1 team in the world according to the ICC"... Are you sure?... Have a look!... South Africa are equal no.1 in the world & on count back in Test series won the Saffa's are well in front... England have fallen from their high 12 months ago to back in the pack with little between the top 6 teams, as Eng found out against Pakistan & Sri Lanka... @Always-positive :- "Only thing I can think of that SA are 1st at is choking"... Well you couldn't beat them at their home & now have to face them in a few months... lol... Let's wait shall we ;) ...

Posted by bobagorof on (April 16, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

@Callum Hinton: Because Ponting won't be in the side in a year's time, and it's easier to find a 4 than a 3.

Posted by bobagorof on (April 16, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

rajsri: so your suggestion is for Watson to score at a rate that has been achieved by only a few batsmen in the history of the game - Sehwag, Gilchrist, Afridi (over a short space). Well, that should be pretty easy. I'll just go tell him, and that will sort it all out, right? While I'm at it, I'll mention to Chris Martin that he needs to get a move on if he's going to break Tendulkar's record of hundreds...

Posted by rajsri on (April 15, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

Being a die hard OZ fan my views are that watson should bat down the order.Watson does not convince me as an opener nor as a no 3. I guess the best slot would be to play @ no 5 or 6. he needs to play a role of an attacking batsmen capable of scoring with a strike rate of 80+, this would deflate any opposition.Thats what adam gilchrist did throught his career and symonds for a short period of time , shane is very capable of doing the same. Also I am not convinced with Warner at the top.he is in two minds whetehr to check his shot or play his shot and when you play with a doubt in mind you are bound not to make a big score. Aussies are trying to have warner do what shewag does for india and in doing so they should ask him to play his natural game and not that a game he is not familiar about. his 100 in perth was because he played positively on a pitch that was wearing down, for him to chnage hisi style is like dayle steyn bolwing @ spedd of 120's.

Posted by dunger.bob on (April 15, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

@ Callum Hinton .. that is a stunningly good point. In fact, there is really little else to say. .

Posted by Mary_786 on (April 15, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

Someguy, Khawaja will be back in the team this season, he is a classy player who was the leading shield player in Australia for 3 years running, this season was interrupted but he should be back this season. He is one of the better talents in Aussie cricket at the moment. Any player who can smash the South African attack in their own conditions can bat anywhere in the world and Khawaja did that in the record chase Australia made by top scoring in that match. It was a shame punter got him run out in Brisbane against NZ otherwise he would have got a 100 there as he averages over a 100 in that ground in Shield cricket.

Posted by popcorn on (April 15, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

The ONE Way by which Watson can get over this run -out jinx is to tell his partner to do the calling - AND TRUST HIS PARTNER"s judgement.

Posted by Someguy on (April 15, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

@mari2619 Khawaja scored 260 runs @ 28.88 this summer.... hardly the kind of form to force his way back into the team.

I agree that he has talent with the bat, but I believe his being dropped was influenced by other things as well as a lack of form. Things such as attitude and fielding.

As far as Watson goes, his batting average since getting back into the team in 09 has been reasonably good. My biggest gripe about Watson (other than his tendancy to run people out), is that he doesn't know how to convert a start. 17 50's and only 2 100's.... that's nowhere near good enough for a top order batsman. Mitchell Johnson has a better conversion rate than that (6x50 and 1x100 for those who care, plus one of those 50's was a 96 not out)!

Posted by Moppa on (April 15, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

I don't agree with Henrik Loven that Clarke should move up to #3. As Thevas says, he's our best player of spin and is currently prolific at #5. Steve Waugh stayed at 5 for a decade while younger players like Langer, Blewett and eventually Ponting took #3. Khawaja and Marsh are top order players so if they're only good enough for Test cricket at #6, they're not good enough for Test cricket. Watson has the technique for #3 or #4, but he does need to convert more 50s to 100s. In general re other comments on who should be in the team - two sayings: 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' and 'the grass is always greener on the other side'. Voges? FC avg 42, 14 centuries at 32 years of age. Klinger? FC avg 38, 10 centuries at 31 years of age. Cooper? 1 FC century. Ferguson? FC avg 35, 7 centuries in 7 years. Come on. I'm amazed no one has mentioned Brad Hodge! Incidentally: Watson FC avg 45, 17 centuries, plus 192 wkts @27. Khawaja FC avg 43, 9 centuries at 25 years of age.

Posted by Meety on (April 15, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

@featurewriter - it's worth noting that Klinger's ton, (not wanting to knock him), was against a Uni side with no players having played more than TEN FC matches. You can only play against what is in front of you, but I would be dissappointed if he didn't get a 100 against a side that would arguably be below 1st grade city level in Oz. It is one of the messy aspects of trying to line up a players stats, depending on whether you are in first division county division countyv UNI sides, can really distort your stats.

Posted by Meety on (April 15, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

I think there will always be brain fades with Watto, I would of hoped now that he is in his prime years, they would be fewer & farther between. He neds to be cashing in now, but I'd prefer to wait to pass a judgement until AFTER the series is complete. Chopping & changing the side is not a good thing as it directly correlates to lack of confidence, just ask any batsmen in the England frame during the 90s, then look at England's performances. Two things turned English Test cricket around, moving back to 4-day FC County cricket, & consistancy in selections. Tongue in cheek I'd also add recruiting - LOL (couldn't help it). @jmcilhinney - being dropped from a side should not = loss of confidence, but yo-yoing in & out of a side would. That being said - he (Khawaja), just needs to read a biography on Steve Waugh (or Damien Martyn), to find out what to do next, which is score mountains of Shield runs.

Posted by Mary_786 on (April 14, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Agree with haq33, Khawaja should never have been dropped, he top scored against SA, then got run out by Ponting in Brisband and then got dropped for next match. One feels that the Aussie selectors are still not comfortable having a sub continent player in their team, but Khawaja is that good that he will justify his position in the team with sheer amount of runs in shield cricket.

Posted by Always-positive on (April 14, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

@ Zenboomerang.....I think you will find England are the number 1 team in the world according to the ICC, just like India and Australia before them, SA may be the number 1 team at the at some point in the future but they have to earn first just like all the #1 teams before them....simple !! Only thing I can think of that SA are 1st at is choking, now every one in the world agrees with that ;).

Posted by OzWally on (April 14, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

Oh what short memories many of you have. Comparing Watson to Khawaja? Come on! Since Watson returned to the team as an opener in 2009 he has avergaed over 50 and was Australia's Test cricketer of the year. Khawaja in 6 tests has a high score of 65 and averages 29. Watson had to reinvent himself/fix a few things to get back into the side back then, just as Khawaja, Marsh, Hughes, etc. have been asked to do now. They either adjust or we find someone else. Peter Forrest for example.

Posted by PACERONE on (April 14, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Watson is a lucky player.If you check how many times he was dropped or not given out early in his innings.He was dropped at 4 in the second innings and twice escaped the review when he looked out.I guess it is better to be lucky than good.He also gets wickets with innocuous looking balls.

Posted by Harry_Kool on (April 14, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

Oh Watto! You just realized you have this problem? How old are you and how long have you been playing this game? @brittop, you nailed it, Graham Wood's spirit does live on!

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 14, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

@RandyOZ... @haq33... I am still at a loss at how Oz selectors (old&new) have used Khawaja - no batsman has been given the bum-rush that Uzzie has, even Marsh... He was used as a fill-in player & never given a clean run in a series... He did well against the world no.1 SA in SA... Then played a good game against NZ in Bris on a green top... Didn't perform any worse than Ponting, Clarke, Hussey in Hobart on another tough pitch, but was dropped for some reason for Marsh... History tells us that the selectors were all wrong...

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 14, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

@haq33, if Khawaja really lost form because he was left out of the Australia team then I'd say that that shows a bit of psychological weakness and they're probably better off without him. If he's out of form it is probably just because he's out of form. Looking to blame someone for it is a bit of a cop out. All batsmen go through form slumps no matter how good they are, so maybe just accept it. If and when he gets back into form he will probably get back into the team because noone else seems to be making it difficult for him. Australia will be fine... as long as Hussey plays until he's 40... or they promote Harris up the order.

Posted by haq33 on (April 14, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

agree with randyoz.....and khawaja must be wondering why he got dropped after his match winning performance against RSA. Is that how Aus grooms new talent? What has Watson done to deserve a place that Khawaja has not surpassed during his stint? Am not surprised Khawaja's form has now plummeted - that is what happens when u leave class players out to dry. He WAS steadily building his way up in runs and experience, just like all young no.3's have to - and now his career has been terminated in favour of hit-n-miss-n-run-em-out watson. How many chances does Watson get??

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 14, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

@zenboomerang - I could not agree with you more. Arthur and Clarke need to sit down and sort out a permanent structure. The current structure is temporary and we all know it!

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 14, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

@featurewriter... Have to agree with everything you have said - may have missed a few players, but otherwise very good... Klinger could easily be the opener we have been missing for the last few years... On another note, Bailey could be the no.3/4 that is also badly missing atm...

Posted by   on (April 14, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

For decades, Australia have been blessed with such quality that wherever someone debuted they were good enough (Law, Hodge, Lehman anyone?) but No 3 is the most demanding position and you don't blood new players by throwing them in there! This is why both Marsh and Khawaja failed. Neither Clarke nor the current management understand the psychological damage done by Clarke's continued refusal to budge from #5, #3 is now the poisoned chalice or shortly will be. So effin what if Clarke averages 60 at 5 right now! It's far better for Australia if he averages 40 at #3. Blood new youngsters at 5 & 6 and when they're ready, move them up the order. Ponting WAS a great #3, but he's not the way forward and nor are Marsh & Khawaja thanks to the bungling of Clarke & management. The question Clarke has to answer is if he is the captain of Australia or just a player protecting his average.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 14, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

@landl47, I'm not sure I agree with that. Ian Chappell wrote not that long ago that Watson is the sort of batsman who regularly makes good scores without making too many great scores but also doesn't fail very often. One issue that I have with Alistair Cook is that he seems to be an all-or-nothing batsman. he's made quite a few big scores lately but, when he doesn't score big, he seems to score virtually nothing. It's a sign that he is shaky early but once he gets in he is hard to dislodge. I think of the recent Galle Test and think that maybe an in-between score from Cook in either innings might have been enough to get England over the line. If someone averages N runs without scoring lots of centuries then it means that they haven't failed much either. I think the main issue is that he's now apparently batting #3 with a sub-40 average. He'll want to be doing better than that to stay at #3.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 14, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

@RandyOZ, I guess Khawaja must have improved since you wanted him axed after the Hobart loss to NZ, although everyone keeps saying that he's out of form right now. I'm starting to see what you mean when you tell us England fans about all the depth Australia has.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (April 14, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Providing punter with presents to cheer him up after running him out..well that's really cute Watto! How about keeping some safe distance from Ricky for a few days..that should work better.

Posted by unregisteredalien on (April 14, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

@featurewriter, you were doing pretty well there but you lost me at Johnson.

Posted by zenboomerang on (April 14, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

Not convinced that Watson has learnt anything - he's been running out top order batsmen for years... At his age it will take a major turn-around to change his habits... His slips fielding has been poor recently, which is a concentration problem... Being made VC maybe has put too much pressure on him, along with having to bat up the order... Since Punter, Pup, Huss all moved down 1 position it has left Watto with no where to go... Its long overdue that Clarke starts to make some long term decisions for this teams structure...

Posted by featurewriter on (April 14, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

RandyOz. Khawaja is way out of form. The kid needs more time in first class cricket before being exposed again to Test cricket. His last 10 first class innings have generated an average of just 19. While he only managed one 50 in 11 Test innings. If it was Ponting, people would be calling for his head. I think the kid has talent, but he's not yet ready for the next step. Likewise, I don't Forrest is the right guy. Klinger must have annoyed someone because he is rarely even mentioned; and the guy can bat. (He just yesterday scored a ton in English first class cricket.) Some others on the radar: Voges, Cooper, Ferguson and even David Hussey (who may have missed his chance now at 33). I still think the best lineup is: Cowan, Warner, Clarke, Hussey, Ponting, Watson, Wade/Paine, Johnson, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Hauritz. With Pattinson, Cummins, Butterworth and Voges on the bench. We still have Michael Hill, Maddinson, Lyn, Faulkner, Khawaja, Hughes and other youngsters out there.

Posted by bonner on (April 14, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

Don't worry about running Watto, Just hit fours.

Posted by landl47 on (April 14, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

Run-outs are one of Watto's problems. A far more important one is his conversion rate of 50s to 100s. He's now made 19 test scores of 50 or more, but only in two of them has he gone on to score 100. For a player who is closing in on 31 years old and has played 33 tests, two centuries and 17 50s isn't bad- providing he's batting at # 7. For a #3 it's dismal. Add in the run-outs and it's clear he's in the wrong position in the line-up.

Posted by naveenpnayak on (April 14, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

Mr. Imad_K: U have given a nice and a perfect comment..

Posted by naveenpnayak on (April 14, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Watsi u r simply Great.. These days nobody accepts their mistakes instead staring pointing out on others mistake.. U have realized ur mistake, thats really great.. Now start working on this such that u can avoid further run outs.. :)

Posted by RandyOZ on (April 14, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

@Henrik Lovén - there is an even easier solution mate, and he comes in the form of Ussie Khawaja. This guy oozes class and it our future number 3. The fact that the selectors are blind is the only thing keeping him out of the team. Peter Forrest? Haha, gimme a break.

Posted by farkin on (April 14, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

if ponting had of run it would of been watson out but ponting did not run so he is out not watsons fault

Posted by andfrazz on (April 14, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

When the west indies will start winning test matches again?I rather watch other teams play especially Australia.

Posted by Buggsy on (April 14, 2012, 1:22 GMT)

Unless you're chasing a target on the final afternoon run-outs in Test matches are simply unforgivable, ranking right up there with wickets from front foot no balls. And Australia has had far too many of both in recent times.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2012, 0:53 GMT)

Have they considered swapping Cowan with Warner (maybe not the best idea, as neither Watson nor Warner are known for being particularly defensive, but it could work on an easy pitch, which makes it a bad idea if it can only work on roads, I guess), or Warner with Hussey (he did play the first few years of his domestic career and his first few tests as an opener)? I reckon it would be interesting to see how Warner goes down the order a bit.

Posted by   on (April 14, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

maybe for the No 3 position we should use one of the greatest No 3's of all time in ricky ponting?? We say we need a decent No 3. We actually have one in ponting so why does he need to bat at 4?

Posted by Imad_K on (April 13, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

I respect Watson for coming out with these comments. But he really needs to forget about what has happened with regards to the run outs. It's something you don't really want to be thinking about too much when you're batting because it will affect you and your running. Sometimes there's a bit of confusion and people get run out - fair enough - move on. When you see the replay - you can also see that Watson realises it's the wrong call but still then tries to get to the danger end and get runout himself - so he wasn't being selfish like other players may have done. Basically, Watson should decide when he goes to bat that he will only call for runs that are safe, clear and decisive calling and not take runs that seem risky. When you can bat as well as Watson and batting with other good batsmen like Ponting there is no point in getting run out for the sake of a single run.

Posted by Meety on (April 13, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

@Herik Loven - a fair few people suggest he should go up the order. The problem I have with this is that he has very little FC or test experience in this position. ATM - I would like an opener batting @ #3. Watto has more experience in that position than Clarke - although he (Watto) definately should be further down the order. I'd rather Clarke continuing to average 60 @5, & find a decent #3! (preferrably one that can judge a run - LOL).

Posted by Thevas on (April 13, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

I don't think Clarke should move up the order beyong 4 or 5, he's Australia's best player of spin, I'd rather he come in in the 40th over than the first 5 overs.

Posted by brittop on (April 13, 2012, 22:23 GMT)

The spirit of Graeme Wood kept alive in he Australian team!

Posted by Kernas on (April 13, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

Sorry Watto but selfishness doesn't go away that easily.

Posted by NAP73 on (April 13, 2012, 21:58 GMT)

He should have realised this problem long ago, as well as his fitness concerns. His batting and running has some similarity with a certain Slater of yesteryear. Would have been interesting to hear what the leadership group said in their little discussion, but we will never know...

Posted by   on (April 13, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

The greatest problem with the Australian batting line-up is not Watson's propensity for run-outs but Clarke's continued refusal to move up the order to cover the vital No 3 position in spite of being the leading batsman by a country mile.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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