Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 August 16, 2014

Watson ruled out of Zimbabwe series


Shane Watson will miss Australia's one-day tour of Zimbabwe after stepping on a ball and rolling his ankle at training in Brisbane on Saturday. Watson will be replaced in Australia's squad by Phillip Hughes, who was unlucky to miss out on selection when the original touring party was announced, having just become the first Australian to score a List A double-century.

The Australian camp is hopeful Watson will be fit for the series against Pakistan in the UAE in October, but he was unlikely to recover in time for any of the triangular series involving Zimbabwe and South Africa. Australia's one-day squad had convened in Brisbane for several days of training ahead of their departure for Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

"Shane today unfortunately sprained his right ankle at training, damaging an ankle ligament," Alex Kountouris, the team physio, said. "His ankle is currently swollen and sore, but expected to recover with a period of rest.

"Due to the compact nature of the tour, we've made a decision that Shane would be unlikely to recover sufficiently in time for the series. He will return to Sydney in coming days to continue his recovery and be ready for the tour of the UAE."

Watson had been likely to open the batting with Aaron Finch in Zimbabwe, in the absence of David Warner, who is remaining at home to prepare for the birth of his first child. Watson's injury will provide an opportunity for Hughes to press his ODI claims ahead of the World Cup and he will embark on the tour in strong one-day form after the recent Australia A series in Darwin.

It was there that Hughes scored an unbeaten 202 against South Africa A in late July, but he was surprisingly left out of the one-day squad when it was announced a few days later. The selectors had opted for a squad heavy on allrounders and light on specialist batsmen, and a "really disappointed" Hughes remained with Australia A for their ongoing four-day series against South Africa A.

"With Shane ruled out for the tour, the national selection panel clearly feels the natural player to come in is Phil Hughes," Rod Marsh, the chairman of selectors, said. "As I've said previously, Phil was unlucky not to be picked in the initial squad after showing some great form in the Australia A series and was the natural choice to come in for Shane.

"The NSP is very happy with the bowling depth in the squad but Watson's absence has meant another top-order batsman is necessary."

Hughes was overlooked as a limited-overs player for the first few years of his international career despite strong domestic one-day form, and when he was finally called up for his debut in January last year, he began with two centuries in his first series. However, he was dropped after the tour of India in November last year, with Finch, Warner, Shaun Marsh and Watson all used at the top of the order in the home summer.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    too many impact playersOZ's in ODI's could also work otherways. Thye can discard Finch and hughes and reward stellar domestic perfromances. May be cam white as opener with shane Watson,Callum fergusson, Clarke, bailey,Maxwell @6,Wade/Whitman@7,Harris, Jhonson,Cummins and doherty

  • Simon on August 20, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    Watson's found a new way to get injured. But he's still surely the luckiest cricketer of the last decade; still being picked on potential in his 30's.

  • martin on August 19, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    Did anyone actually read that this is an ODI tour - regardless of his inconsistency at Test level, at ODI and T20 he is a destructive batsmen who can bat anywhere and a tight bowler who is hard to get away and can break partnerships, FULL STOP. Who cares what someone else did at FC level!

  • James on August 18, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    @Minus_Zero: My simple point is, we don't have anyone better than Watson. He has a better test record than Hughes, Khawaja, Marsh, Doolan, Cowan and any other pretenders we have tried PLUS he bowls. Watson stays, simple fact of life.

  • nikhil on August 18, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    Instead of criticising watson, people should also see that Faulkner scored his first ever century against india, even sangakkara scored his first fc 100 against india in a test match. So by the time watson retires his test average might be more than 40 and his test average his low because his batting position is changing continously.

  • Harvey on August 18, 2014, 0:34 GMT

    Come on Hughesy, finally rid Australia of this Watson curse...that is the curse of being selected no matter what.

    @xtrafalgarx - FC stats dont always tell the story? Look at Jamie Siddons and Cox, two of the best FC players never to play a test. International cricket is a very different story. Watson's test figures are average at best.

  • Richard on August 17, 2014, 9:06 GMT

    @Tohid Bagwan:- No, Watson is injured and will not play against Zimbabwe.

  • Ronald on August 17, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    Watson's form in the last two seasons has been very patchy so he won't be missed. It just remains to see if Hughes can step up. He's failed in the past after looking good domestically. He will need to perform this time having been thrown his third lifeline. Unfortunately the series against Zimbabwe won't tell us much.

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    watsin playing zimbabwe t20 and odi pls ans this question

  • Richard on August 17, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx:- Indeed, Hughes, Marsh and Khawaja have thus far been somewhat underwhelming which, along with our recent bowling frailties, has given Watson his spot. For me he's a stop gap player test wise, but a must have in ODIs. ATM our batsmen don't bowl much, which is a bit of a rarity for an Aussie side:- Clarke's back limits him, Smith is a 'buy a wicket' option still and Warner isn't sure what he wants to bowl. Still some holes to patch batting wise with our lot at numbers 3 and 6 and presumably Watson will fill one of those spots until our younger batsmen stake a serious claim, unless Warner moves to number 3. I don't like Watson opening so I'd play him at 6 and give Doolan a little more time at 3.

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