Watson injury to force full scale rejig
Shane Watson (Image: AFP)
Shane Watson considers himself “unlikely” to be part of the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba starting November 9.
While the exclusion of Watson is a loss on its own, one cannot ignore the greater implications this will have on the make-up of the side.
The recent form of top-order batsmen Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes means that both will come into contention, if the selectors opt to go without a like-for-like all-rounder.
Other specialist batsmen to be considered include Joe Burns, Victorian Rob Quiney, 161 run-scorer Alex Doolan, younger brother of Michael, David Hussey and likes of Mark Cosgrove and Callum Ferguson.
If Invararity and the selection team decide on an all-rounder to replace Watson, the options are less convincing.
Australia ‘A’ skipper, Andrew McDonald, declared himself ready for a Test recall and confident he can play his role if given the opportunity.
Other less-convincing options include young Mitchell Marsh, the inform New South Welshman Moses Henriques, batting all-rounder Daniel Christian and Queensland captain James Hopes.
None of which look probable to fill the void.
The third option would be to go with a five pronged bowling attack. Once again this seems unlikely with Clarke considering the strength of the South African bowlers. To sacrifice a batsmen could prove perilous.
Thus the first Test could prove an opportunity for a career changing innings from one of the two former New South Wales batsman.
Hughes’ remodelled technique has drawn great praise and reaped rewards early in the summer off the back of an impressive English county stint.
Khawaja put his hand up with a pair of 54s at Allan Border field in Queensland’s impressive victory over his star studded former state.
Without Watson’s bowling contribution, Michael Clarke may need to look to himself, Michael Hussey and David Warner to provide a few more overs throughout the course of the match and arguably, they would cover the role of both Watson and Nathan Lyon between them.
This could potentially allow for a pace quartet to make up the front line bowling attack.
An interesting meeting at the selection table awaits.
Over to you Roarers. How would you rejig the Australian squad to cover for the vital loss of Watson?