Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 August 16, 2014

Watson ruled out of Zimbabwe series

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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

  • 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

  • Insult_2_Injury 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.

  • hmmmmm... 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!

  • xtrafalgarx 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.

  • dirtydozen 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.

  • MinusZero 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.

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

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

  • Big-Dog 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.

  • on August 17, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    watsin playing zimbabwe t20 and odi pls ans this question

  • Biggus 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.

  • 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

  • Insult_2_Injury 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.

  • hmmmmm... 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!

  • xtrafalgarx 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.

  • dirtydozen 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.

  • MinusZero 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.

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

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

  • Big-Dog 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.

  • on August 17, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    watsin playing zimbabwe t20 and odi pls ans this question

  • Biggus 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.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 17, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    @Biggus: I prefer 6 batsmen myself too, to be honest. However, Lehmann has made it clear he prefers 5 bowlers in the side. Until that changes, Watson is there to stay whether we like it or not. Though you could argue he IS a test batsmen as far as our standards are concerned. We haven't been able to find someone who can average his 36 runs per innings as easily as we would like. His record is better than the Hughes's, Khawaja's and the Marsh's if we are brutally honest.

  • Biggus on August 17, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx:- Some of us are not so sanguine about the worth of an all rounder who only bowls 15 overs a test on average and is a walking wicket when the opposition has some fight in them. He rarely scores hard runs yet he thinks he's an opener for God's sake. Toughing it out is hardly in his batting vocabulary. And while we're on his bowling his bowling average is worse than Doug Walters' was, and no one ever called Doug an all rounder. Much the same strike rate but Watson bowls twice as much, but still only that 15 overs per game. If our current side had a couple more batsmen who bowl a bit and Harris wasn't such an injury risk Watson wouldn't get a look in. Having said that India is exactly the sort of bowling attack Watson may well feast upon. That's his thing really, he's a great destroyer of bad bowling. I must be old fashioned, I expect TEST all rounders to be selectable o at least one of their skills alone, but you'd never select Watson on bowling or batting alone.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 17, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    @BobYakuta: Yes, test performances are of paramount importance. But Watson's stats in FC cricket - which is the main pathway to test cricket - suggest that he is the best player for the job. It's amazing how much a player's stock rises when they are not in the team.

    Don't compare apples with oranges. Watson's performances at test level aren't as good as we would like them to be, but the stats show that he is a much, much better cricketer than any other bloke in Australia who calls themselves an allrounder. So why try someone who is inferior in the hope that they could possibly be better than a guy who has already walked the walk?

    If a bloke with 20 FC centuries isn't cutting it, someone with zero won't.

  • on August 17, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Watson has performed well for aussies in the ashes. Australia will always miss him. Hughes is a good replacement. I hope he proves his worth this time ,as he is a wonderfull batsman. Henriques is a good all rounder ,but his batting avg is only 30 in FC which is too low. So Watson is the best all rounder that Australia has at the moment.

  • BobYukta on August 17, 2014, 4:21 GMT

    We're talking about his test performances though, aren't we? Yes his FC stats are impressive, up there with the greatest all-rounders, but that hasn't translated into test matches.

    You're right, Faulkner maybe can't push past the other rising seamers, but why not give him a try? Watson is a better batter, but Faulkner is a better bowler. Watson won't develop or change his game (as evidenced by that pesky front-pad LBW problem), but Faulkner will. Why not give him a go?

  • xtrafalgarx on August 17, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Shane Watson has scored nearly 9000 FC runs at an average of 44 odd with 20 centuries. He also has over 200 Fc wickets at an average of under 30, strike rate of 55 with 7 five wicket hauls.

    If there is a better all rounder in the country, show me him.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 17, 2014, 3:29 GMT

    @BobYakuta: No he doesn't. His batting is great for one dayers, but he will never be a test no.6. His bowling isn't good enough to push past the like of Starc, Pattinson, Cummins and other guys who would be gunning for spots over the next 12 months either.

    I like Faulkner as a cricketer, but i struggle to see him in the test side if Australia is at it's best. People keep putting Watson down but have you guys taken a look at his FC stats? Even with the test failures included he still averages 44+ in FC, over 50 without his test record, add to that his bowling and his slip catching - he is not as easy to replace as what most people think.

  • on August 17, 2014, 2:15 GMT

    It was unfortunate incident happened before tour , it is million dollar question can Hughes can deliver in triangular matches , instead of selecting Hughes they would have selected else like Ferguson or Mitchell Marsh instead of spent and failed force ,the Australian selectors should keep in mind future also

  • BobYukta on August 17, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    This is great news. His regular unavailability is surely going to lead to other (superior) all-rounders getting a chance at securing their spot. I don't want to wish him bad luck, but if his injury carries over to the UAE series it gives Faulkner getting a chance in the test team. His bowling is exceptional, good enough to warrant selection as a bowler alone, and I think he has the potential to bat at 6. Unfortunately he seems to be limited overs only at the moment - and I cannot fathom why.

    My ideal team for Zimbabwe:

    Finch, Hughes, Maxwell, Clarke, Bailey, Smith, Faulkner, Haddin, Richardson, Starc, Lyon.

    Johnson, Starc and Richardson can rotate as needed, resting one each game. Relying on Maxwell, Clarke and Smith to make up 10 overs is risky, but we'll need a long batting lineup in spin-condusive conditions.

  • Peterincanada on August 16, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    @CricketChat You are right. Watson's fitness record is appalling. His bowling is becoming less of a factor recently. I think Oz have become too infatuated with all rounders. They were#1 in the world for 15 years using only four bowlers. With 90 overs per day you can get a few overs from one of the top six.If four bowlers can' t bowl a side out you are in trouble anyway. I could never understand why there was an overs limit on bowlers in ODI's. After all there is not a restriction on a batsman's runs. It has produced too many bits and pieces players masquerading as all rounders.

  • CricketChat on August 16, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    Obviously, Zim tour doesn't make or break Watson's career, but he has become quite injury prone in recent years. Neither is he getting any younger. I think CA is better off investing in a younger player going fwd.

  • AMMAR3438668158 on August 16, 2014, 13:15 GMT

    glad to see you p.huges back in team.he deserve the spot in team because he proves himself in every format.but i hope watson back in the team as soon as he fit and back in action against pak.both watson and hughes in the team against pak. best of luck aussie guys and rock in this series and gain the tittle.

  • on August 16, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    aussie squad vs south africa-p hughes,a finch,steven smith,m clarke(C),m marsh,g maxwell,j faulkner,brad haddin(wk),n lyon,m starc,m johnson.

    and vs zimbabwe-p hughes,a finch,m marsh,g bailey(C),steven smith,g maxwell,j faulkner,b haddin(wk),k richardson,n lyon,m starc.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 16, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    @Biggus: Lest we start of confused - I meant the series was no big deal. Watson on the other hand IS a big a deal.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on August 16, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    For this series I would have left Watson out and used Mitch Marsh anyway. Australia have a lot of cricket through to the end of the next Ashes so Watson and others will need to be managed properly.

  • Biggus on August 16, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    Yep, Watson out is no big deal.... @Calvin Palmer Warbah:-" hey Australia, India is hungry for success and the summer is going to be hotter when team India arrives."

    Ummm, yep, OK.

  • on August 16, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    hey Australia, India is hungry for success and the summer is going to be hotter when team India arrives.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 16, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    No big deal. It's not a huge series, will be good for Hughes to get this chance.

  • on August 16, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Watson IS in form. He has averaged 50.5 in his past seven Test innings.

  • thevincent0001 on August 16, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    I miss the days Hussey and Warne. Instead we have the likes of Snith and Maxwell

  • skippyroo on August 16, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    watson needs to go back to 1st grade and make runs just like hughes has been to prove that he deserves a spot in the team

  • on August 16, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Watto needs to get back in form before he gets another chance. IF he gets another chance.

  • ak928 on August 16, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    Phill hughes is no replacement for shane watson.....i believe that currently there is no one in aus who is capable of replacing watson......and one can argue that hughes is in good form so he gets a chance here......lets see what he can do(and can be consistent or not!!) .....but this is a MAJOR blow for australia.....the absence of watson in the team will really hurt them

  • on August 16, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Watson is another synonym for injury know! Get well soon! Watto. And good luck to Philip Hughes

  • on August 16, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    How many chances does he get?

  • onlinegamer55 on August 16, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    I knew Hughes would get an opportunity somehow and here is is. I'm really happy for him. I sincerely hope that he will take this opportunity and score as many runs as possible to make it impossible for the selectors to leave him out in the future. I think this is his chance to cement a spot in the batting order ahead of the World Cup next year

  • on August 16, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    Best news I've heard all year, naow Hughes will be given a chance.

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  • on August 16, 2014, 3:42 GMT

    Best news I've heard all year, naow Hughes will be given a chance.

  • onlinegamer55 on August 16, 2014, 3:43 GMT

    I knew Hughes would get an opportunity somehow and here is is. I'm really happy for him. I sincerely hope that he will take this opportunity and score as many runs as possible to make it impossible for the selectors to leave him out in the future. I think this is his chance to cement a spot in the batting order ahead of the World Cup next year

  • on August 16, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    How many chances does he get?

  • on August 16, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    Watson is another synonym for injury know! Get well soon! Watto. And good luck to Philip Hughes

  • ak928 on August 16, 2014, 4:14 GMT

    Phill hughes is no replacement for shane watson.....i believe that currently there is no one in aus who is capable of replacing watson......and one can argue that hughes is in good form so he gets a chance here......lets see what he can do(and can be consistent or not!!) .....but this is a MAJOR blow for australia.....the absence of watson in the team will really hurt them

  • on August 16, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Watto needs to get back in form before he gets another chance. IF he gets another chance.

  • skippyroo on August 16, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    watson needs to go back to 1st grade and make runs just like hughes has been to prove that he deserves a spot in the team

  • thevincent0001 on August 16, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    I miss the days Hussey and Warne. Instead we have the likes of Snith and Maxwell

  • on August 16, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Watson IS in form. He has averaged 50.5 in his past seven Test innings.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 16, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    No big deal. It's not a huge series, will be good for Hughes to get this chance.