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Watson to bat No.4 in Hobart Test

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    Shane Watson will be given the first chance to fill the immense void in Australia’s batting order left by Ricky Ponting’s retirement, with the talented allrounder set to bat No.4 in next week’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

    While Phillip Hughes earned his recall due to Ponting’s retirement, the natural opener will be first drop in a re-jigged Australian top order.

    On the same day skipper Michael Clarke fronted the media in Sydney, suggesting the Test batting line-up was still up in the air, top-order specialist Watson confirmed in Brisbane he would slide one spot down to No.4.

    “(Coach) Mickey Arthur talked to me at the end of the last Test to say the way it was looking, they were going to move me down to four,” Watson said.

    “It’s taken me a few days to get my head around that, but it means I can bowl a few more overs.

    “In the last Test match, I know Michael (Clarke) in the second innings was a bit hesitant to bowl me a few times towards the latter part of their innings, just to give me the chance to be as fresh as I could going into bat.

    “The ultimate is to be able to contribute with both bat and ball throughout the whole Test match and not be held back.

    “Batting at four will give me that extra time to freshen up.”

    Clarke contrastingly said the top order had yet to be finalised and that he was open to a move up the order, a shift that Greg and Ian Chappell have both suggested would benefit the team.

    “I’ll speak to Mickey Arthur about that when we get into camp in Hobart,” Clarke said of the Ponting-less batting order.

    “As for where I bat, the number I bat doesn’t bother me. It’s about fitting in with what’s best for the team.”

    Hard-hitting batsman David Warner, one of four openers in Australia’s new-look top six, believed Watson moving to No.4 would be the optimal outcome for the Test side.

    “As Shane said, (it would be great) if we can get the most out of him bowling. It’s going to be fantastic for him to get that little extra rest,” Warner said.

    “Me and Ed (Cowan) are in a good space at the moment. They’ve told us where we’re at,” the 26-year-old added when asked whether Arthur had assured him Australia’s opening partnership won’t change.

    “We always look forward to batting with each other, and we’re playing down in Hobart which is Ed’s home ground.”

    Clarke also failed to shed any light on who was the frontrunner to win the pace-bowling selection battle between Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc.

    “When somebody doesn’t play in a match, it gives someone else an opportunity and that’s what has happened,” Clarke said of Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle’s absence in the WACA Test.

    “Now we’ve got to work out what’s our best XI.”

    © AAP 2018
    Be sure to head to the second ODI between Australia and England this Friday at the Gabba, and don't forget to be wearing your XXXX Goldie to be in with a chance to win $10k in XXXX GOLD’s crowd catch competition.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • December 8th 2012 @ 9:25am
      Bearfax said | December 8th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Its a start having him at 4. I still think 5 or 6 would be better. I suspect Watson would be a ‘find’ at 5 or 6 with the older ball and a wearied bowling attack. I suspect many big fast scores would follow and his test batting average would reach the mid 40s like his first class average.

      • December 8th 2012 @ 5:50pm
        Bob said | December 8th 2012 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

        Why can’t Clarke bat at 4? Does anybody know?

        • December 9th 2012 @ 12:08am
          pope paul v11 said | December 9th 2012 @ 12:08am | ! Report

          ask Mickey

          • December 9th 2012 @ 9:26am
            Rhys said | December 9th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            Welcome to another exciting edition of ‘Ask Mickey’, where you, the Australian public, try to figure what the hell Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur is thinking, and why he’s thinking it.

            Up for grabs is the chance to watch the boys hitting ’em well in the nets, with the grand prize winner having the opportunity of a lifetime to sit in on a NSP selection meeting (interpreter not included).

            Please welcome back our carry over champ, Andrew Hilditch, who’s betting it all on ‘the boys love having him round the dressing room’ against ‘clearly the form batsman in the country at present’.

            • December 9th 2012 @ 12:12pm
              Timmuh said | December 9th 2012 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

              Andrew Hilditch has left the show, presumably to become a judge on The X-Factor (which Mitchell Johnson will win).

            • December 10th 2012 @ 10:39am
              Disco said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:39am | ! Report

              With Shaun Marsh, form is temporary, class is permanent.

    • December 9th 2012 @ 11:11am
      Bearfax said | December 9th 2012 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      Personally I dont know what the issue is. Watson is an all rounder and we need him for his bowling. His batting up the list in tests has never been that good and his test performances pale in comparison to his first class averages. The fellow has a natural talent to plunder an attack. But with Warner there, we dont need him at the top of the order. He needs to be is a position in the batting order where the pressure is off to a degree, the bowlers are a little weary, the ball old. For Watson that would give him free reign to plunder the attack and that would be best achieved between position 5-7. As I said, I think it would be the making of Watson as a batsman and perhaps have him play a role of a Bevan, Gilchrist or even Dougie Walters. That looks to me to be Watson’s best role as a test batsman and leaves him a little fresher after a bowling stint. But Arthur will probably give us another selection Mickey Finn and poison the batting balance.

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