Watson injury to force full scale rejig

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    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?

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • Columnist

      November 5th 2012 @ 8:35am
      Brett McKay said | November 5th 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      I’d bring in Quiney. Oh, hang on…

      • Roar Guru

        November 5th 2012 @ 11:36am
        TheGenuineTailender said | November 5th 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        Sorry, I wrote this prior to that shocking call being made public.

    • November 5th 2012 @ 9:30am
      formeropenside said | November 5th 2012 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      I really wonder about all the effort put into Watson over the last 10 years, for 35 Tests (with solid stats) when you look at the opportunity cost of who else could have filled that “allrounder” role.

      At 31, Watson does not have a lot of time left to get his bowling right, and his batting alone is probably not quite good enough – at least, in an ideal world.

      Watson’s raw stats are better than Flintoff’s – but I know who I would have rather have had playing for me.

    • November 5th 2012 @ 9:43am
      Bearfax said | November 5th 2012 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      Trouble is there is no one else around who comes within decent range of Watson as an allrounder. He’s become an essential component. Steve Smith’s batting has seemingly improved a lot in recent times, but his spin bowling is still pretty average. Henriques is certainly on the improve in the short form of the game but still struggles with the longer form. Christian is not in the same league as Watson;. We’re so light on in this department, it may even be worthwhile considering Mitch Johnson as an allrounder. His bowling is still erratic but he is dangerous, and his batting is close to all rounder level.

      • November 5th 2012 @ 11:56am
        Bearfax said | November 5th 2012 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        The other problem is that we have selectors who just will not use common sense with this guy. He practically ran the show in the early 20’s matches for NSW with his bowling and batting and they continue talking about him being an opener or No3 in all forms of the game.

        Surely experience with Watson should have sunk in by now. If you want this guy to survive at international level, then you have to sacrifice one aspect of his game at 20s and 50s level for him to open. That means he doesnt bowl in the shorter form of the game. And in the test arena he bowls only intermittently and bats at 6. Doesnt matter what he thinks he can do or what seems best in the immediate future for the team.

        If you want to save this talented player from an early scrap heap, they must sacrifice certain areas of his participation. Its blatantly obvious that his body cant cope with the present workload being imposed.

    • November 5th 2012 @ 12:47pm
      Pope Paul VII said | November 5th 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

      What’s the go with Rickyi Tiki Tavi Ponting’s hammy? He’s going to be required to stretch it out shortly. I read elsewhere that the selectors might be going to name a shadow player but it’s all quiet on that front at present.

      Regarding wonky Watto and his future and possible allrounder options, I think the rule must be that any direct watto batting allrounder replacement must hold his own with the bat in the top six. As you point out TGT there’s no one who quite fits that category. In that case pick your best six batsmen and back the 4 bowlers. All rounders are handy but they are not essential.

      Watto’s average are actually quite similar to one K R Miller. Curiously Watto two spectacular bowling successes 6/33 and 5/17 were in losing sides.

    • November 5th 2012 @ 12:56pm
      jameswm said | November 5th 2012 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

      I think the selectors have conceded that as we don’t have an all rounder who’s good enough, we’ll go with a specialist batsman.

      The biggest question is, will that affect the choice between Lyon and Starc? Will Clarke now be called on for a bit more bowling, as our only part-timer left in the top 6 (with Watto out and Quiney in)? Warner only counts as a part-part-timer. Will that mean with only 4 bowlers we need one of them to be a specialist spinner to take on 30 overs a day, to make up the 10-12 we’ve lost from Watto? Or will it mean we need the 4th seamer more, and let Clarke make up the numbers? He’s done it before, back-permitting.

      It also shows it was more important in the selectors’ minds to get in a replacement no.3 than a replacement all-rounder. So more important to keep Punter, Pup and Huss at 4-5-6, than to get the extra bowling.

      • November 5th 2012 @ 1:14pm
        Red Kev said | November 5th 2012 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        I agree – Siddle and Hilfenhaus’ work-horse style will be required. And if they go in with 4 seamers they’ll be hammered on the over-rate, which will mean more Clarke and Warner overs to make up the time which with the SA batting lineup being so strong will be like putting a plate of pies in front of Cosgrove.

    • November 5th 2012 @ 1:26pm
      B.A Sports said | November 5th 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

      Is it really a suprise to anyone that Watson is injured?

      Just to clarify, after earning his millions and scoring his runs playing 20-20 over the winter on sub-continent grounds no bigger than a suburban backyard and then at altitude in Africa, he comes back to Australia to play Test cricket against the best Test nation in the world who have the best fast bowling attack in the world, and on the day the Gabba curator says “its going to be a fast pitch” (which suits neither his bowling or batting), trusty old Shane Watson comes down with an “injury”….

      But I’m sure he will be recovered in time for the flat tracks in Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne… When Sth Africe are 15,000km’s away…

      #protecttheaverage

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