Did Shane Watson make the right choice?

Brian Zhang Roar Rookie

By Brian Zhang , Brian Zhang is a Roar Rookie

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    Is Shane Watson our greatest ever skipper? (AAP Image/Ben Macmahon)

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    Earlier this month, Shane Watson told selectors he wanted to give up bowling to focus on his batting and possibly return to being Australia’s Test opener.

    With Watson now only going to play as a batsman, it will certainly extend his career into his mid-to-late 30s. But now that he isn’t an all-rounder, his spot in the Test side may be debated and he may not be considered as important as he was.

    Throughout Watson’s whole career he has played as an all-rounder in all forms of the game, whether he would bowl lots of overs and come in late in an innings to score quick runs, or as a top order batsman who bowled only a handful of overs.

    Through the 2008 Test series against India, the 2010 series against Pakistan and the 2011 series against South Africa he showed he is our best reverse-swing bowler. Without him as the fourth or fifth seamer, it leaves a big dent in Australia’s bowling attack.

    In Test matches he as a record of 62 wickets at 30.06 and a strike rate of 63, including three five-wicket hauls.

    In One Day Internationals he has a record of 155 wickets at 28.83 and a strike rate of 36.

    In T20’s he has a record of 35 wickets at 20.42 and a strike rate of 17.

    His averages and strike rates in each form of the game are better than Jacques Kallis, who is considered to be the game’s greatest all-rounder. It’s also better than Andrew Symonds, who was one of the most dangerous all-rounders in world cricket during the early 00s.

    Every time Watson comes into the attack he brings line and length, rarely bowls a bad ball and puts pressure on the batsmen. He almost always takes a couple of wickets and helps the bowler at the other end to set up a wicket.

    Had Watson played all the 89 Test matches between his debut match in 2005 until now, he wouldn’t have played until age 36 or 37 like Kallis, but he could well be considered an all-time great all-rounder.

    If Watson is ending his all-rounder status for the rest of his career, Australia will ultimately miss his wicket taking ability and have to find one of the bowlers in the attack to master reverse swing consistently going to India and England.

    But if Watson can end his career with 5000 Test runs and an average of 45, it will be a move he won’t regret.

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • January 10th 2013 @ 7:30am
      Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      It will come down to if Watson can stay fit consistently and score consistently. Personally I doubt it very much. Without his bowling he is just another Quiney/Marsh/Cowan … not quite good enough as a batsman.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 10:19am
        rl said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        He’s got completely the wrong mindset – he should concentrate on his bowling! (As Brian says in his 2nd last para, he’s one of our only reverse bowlers which is going to be vital in our next 2 tours)

    • January 10th 2013 @ 8:05am
      Mark said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      He’s not bowled in every test so he has not always been selected as an all rounder. He s good enough as a batsman, particularly at a time where there is a genuine lack if batting talent in the country

      • January 10th 2013 @ 8:45am
        Christo the Daddyo said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        Just because you are selected as an all-rounder doesn’t mean you will actually bat and bowl in every game. It will simply depend on what the requirements are for each game.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 8:44am
      LK said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      The team may well miss his bowling, but they won’t miss the injury cloud that he brings to every two or three tests. He will be doing very well to get to 5000 test runs at 45. Even in matches where he hasn’t bowled, he has struggled to get big scores or bat through two sessions of test cricket. Surely it’s time the NSP showed him some tough love. If he wants to play as a batsman send him back to shield cricket and make him pile on the runs there. You know, like Hughes and Khawaja have had to do.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 8:48am
        Christo the Daddyo said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        You’re absolutely right on your last point.

        Which of course means he’ll just waltz back into the team without having to prove himself as a batsman.

        The most relevant question now will be – where will the selectors pick him? Will he get what he wants and replace one of the openers (i.e. Cowan)? Or will he slot in lower down – perhaps replacing Hussey in the lineup?

        • January 10th 2013 @ 9:42am
          WW said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

          who are the players in domestic crocket doing so well that should replace him? who are the current test bats that are better options than him… clarke? yes…. warner? perhaps

          who else… Hughes maybe? Cowan… certainly not!

          should we ignore his last test knock where he scored 80 odd at a time we needed all because some fans find it rather inconvenient that he gets injured from time to time.

          if watson comes back only as a batsman i’d pick him for india where he averaged 70 with the bat last time he toured and england where he averaged 48 the last time he toured.

      • Roar Guru

        January 10th 2013 @ 10:17am
        Andy_Roo said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        The injury cloud is still there whether he bowls in test or not. Fact is he is injury prone. And if he continues bowling in ODI and T20 formats then the risk of injury is still just as great.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 10:22am
        James said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        I agree with LK, Watto hasn’t made the right decision givng up bowling, but if that’s the way he has gone i would pick him above Cowan as opener and if he fails he should be dropped. Khawaja and Hughes had to do the same thing with loads of runs for their state.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 3:38pm
          Dean said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          Agree James, get Khawaja in and get Watto and Cowan to open but if Watto doesn’t score then he will be dropped as his bowling won’t keep him in the team.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 11:07am
        B.A Sports said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        LK you are right.
        He was the golden child when made captain of the junior rep sides, and was fast tracked into the full test team ahead of players with many more credentials than him, and it has been no different throughout his career to the point he was made Australian VC despite having no leadership skills.

        As for the article, to compare him the bowling numbers of Kallis, a player with 120 more test under his belt than Watson, is insulting. Apart from the sheer duration of the career, Kallis has been called on, his entire career to bowl long spells when wickets were hard to come by. Watson bowls short spells, and much like the mythical view that he can play shots all around the wicket, doesn’t really swing the ball as much as commentators say he does.

        • January 10th 2013 @ 11:13am
          Red Kev said | January 10th 2013 @ 11:13am | ! Report

          Your last sentence is dead on the money. They also talk him up as a genuine fast-medium bowler, he barely cracks 125kph nowadays.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 9:33pm
      Bearfax said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

      Two obvious factors. Watson averages in the mid forties as a first class batsman. He has the potential to be a solid test batsman. Secondly, his injuries are making him a questionable asset and it seems he gets most of these from his bowling. He’s a good bowler but can we afford to have a player who is injured more often than when he is available. I suspect like with Waugh, that his batting will improve if he concentrates on it alone. And we could certainly use a solid opener to partner Warner, if Hughes is stuck as a No 3 bat. If he fails as a batsman, well little is lost because its doubtful his body would survive all rounder performances much longer. And it could solidify a vulnerable batting line up to have Watson, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Wade, Maxwell as your first seven.

    • January 11th 2013 @ 10:06am
      lou said | January 11th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

      He’ll change his story AGAIN sooner rather than later. He’s always banging on about whether he should bowl or not. It’s bloody boring and insulting to his team mates.

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