Windies look good, Watson not so much

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

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    If you analyse Sunday’s one day international match, Australia were a tad fortunate to get away with a comfortable win.

    It could have been 50 runs closer had the Windies had Marlon Samuels, one or two decisions went their way and George Bailey or James Faulkner had holed out early in their innings.

    A lot of ‘if’s’ I know, but I like what I see in the Windies squad.

    I like their captain. Darren Sammy is a mix of Sammy Davis Junior, Chris Cairns and the Indian rubber man.

    He makes his own team laugh, and he makes the opposition laugh too. He has a slant on life that says, ‘You gotta love everything you do on a cricket field’.

    Pity more Aussies didn’t heed that motto. They’d have fewer stomach problems and less sleepless night.

    The Bravo brothers are great athletes and hellishly competitive. Chris Gale and Keiron Pollard will work out when to whack and when not to, and the bowlers are a mixed and varied lot with Sammy, Sunil Narine, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder more than adequate, yet Gayle and Samuels’ offies would make them even more restrictive.

    Tassie cousins George Bailey and James Faulkner are not pretty to watch, but they were the difference between winning and losing.

    George is no one’s fool. He knows people see him as a potential Mike Hussey, but he wants to downplay that line. George is George, and he will do just fine in any form of cricket.

    He’ll work on his form against spin and he will manage his forward defence better against the quicks, but he certainly knows when and how to counter punch.

    If Australia had their time over they would say they could have scored closer to 300, but six of them played like millionaires when they should have been trading places with George and James.

    So Usman Khawaja or Aaron Finch get to take a rest and Shane Watson, he of the crook legs, back muscles, loose tummy and a thousand comebacks, gets yet another chance to impress.

    Why? Because the selectors come from the same Star Chamber system as Shane Warne, the Nine commentary team and the other ‘Watto’ lovers.

    They preach that Watto is a mandatory selection in all forms of cricket teams and thereby put a lie to the whole root of a rotation system.

    Watto is like everyone else in the Australian squad. He’s flesh and blood and has two arms and legs (well the legs aren’t all that flash, but that’s for him to fix).

    In the Australian squad are 10 batsmen who are fit, ready, rarin’ to go and have scored huge amounts of runs. Some can bowl and field like Garfield Sobers to boot.

    But no, we’ve got to pick Watto, because he’s a star. He’s got star quality.

    That may be, but Watto doesn’t play that much nowadays, he’s taking longer to get back into form every time and he is turning into a liability in the field.

    Unless that turns around, I’m afraid Watto is past tense.

    There has never been a culture in Australian Cricket which says the squad is the most important thing in Australian cricket, there has always been the Star Chamber mentality. And yet as we rotate batsmen and bowlers alike and let them have their head, Australia has found 30 young men who are absolutely bursting with ability.

    And there are 30 queuing up behind them.

    Call me stupid, call me late for breakfast, but I don’t think the word ‘squad’ is a four letter word, is it?

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • February 5th 2013 @ 3:25am
      AndyMack said | February 5th 2013 @ 3:25am | ! Report

      OK, so Watson gets injured a lot, and maybe he gets a bit of an airchair ride back into the Test team sometimes. But surely no-one is doubting his ability in the shorter forms are they?? It was only Sept when he was the best short form cricketer in the world in the 20/20 world cup.

      • February 5th 2013 @ 7:05am
        Lukeling said | February 5th 2013 @ 7:05am | ! Report

        Sure Shane Watson has ability but why has he been selected for the next game? He is not going to bowl, his last Ryobi cup game he got 6 from 23 balls , scored 30 in his club game. Not exactly screaming pick me. At what point does he have to prove form?

        • February 5th 2013 @ 7:47am
          Red Kev said | February 5th 2013 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          Watson has never had to prove his form.
          All they need is one fifty out of him and they can slot him straight back in the test side. Maybe they the Windies at Manuka will be easier than the shield.

        • February 6th 2013 @ 12:30pm
          B.A Sports said | February 6th 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          Lukeling

          Just to update you on “Watto’s” comeback numbers, he has had one further inning opening the batting for Sutherland in Sydney Grade Cricket over the weekend. He scored a very impressive…. 0……!!!!!

          Phil Jaques top scored for Sutherland in that match. Not saying he should be selected right now, but he had to go to England score litterally 1000’s of runs in County, Shield and Grade cricket before he even got a chance. When he finally got a chance, averaged 47.47 in test cricket , got injured and never got a look in again. But Watto, he has a key to the dressing room it would seem!

      • February 5th 2013 @ 7:40am
        Varun said | February 5th 2013 @ 7:40am | ! Report

        No you can’t doubt watsons ability in the short format, last nights T20 award showed that

    • February 5th 2013 @ 7:16am
      Matt said | February 5th 2013 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      So are they dropping for him, Finch? Long as he makes over 10 it’s an improvement really.

      • February 5th 2013 @ 7:50am
        Red Kev said | February 5th 2013 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        Nah he replaced Khawaja so Watto only needs 8 runs to be an improvement.
        I like the fact they are giving Finch a run despite poor showings. Chances are he will get all 10 ODIs and if he doesn’t convert then at least he was given a good solid chance. That is what we have been asking the selectors to do.

        • February 5th 2013 @ 8:57am
          Matt said | February 5th 2013 @ 8:57am | ! Report

          Except they aren’t doing it with Khawaja.

          The batting lineup seems to get more shots then the bowlers – they are alternated a lot more, but I guess it’s not as much of a change as it is for batters.

          • February 5th 2013 @ 9:01am
            Red Kev said | February 5th 2013 @ 9:01am | ! Report

            Khawaja isn’t really an ODI player – I am making an effort to reserve judgement on that front until after all four Indian tests.

            • February 5th 2013 @ 10:06am
              Matt said | February 5th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              Maybe not – but yet another 1 game then dropped for him.

              No idea why he’s playing without confidence and sucking…

            • February 5th 2013 @ 10:14am
              Disco said | February 5th 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              Well, seeing as he’s ostracised from the Test XI, ODI cricket might be his best bet internationally.

            • February 5th 2013 @ 10:48am
              Christo the Daddyo said | February 5th 2013 @ 10:48am | ! Report

              Red Kev, his results in the shorter forms of the game have been largely very good this season. He was just about the only consistent batsman for the Thunder for example.

              • February 5th 2013 @ 11:35am
                Red Kev said | February 5th 2013 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                I know, and to me that is evidence of his class, not his suitability to play ODIs and T20s at international level.

            • February 5th 2013 @ 3:42pm
              Ken Hambling said | February 5th 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

              Yes good article from Craddock and shows that how is Khawaja supposed to find form if there is no shield cricket. I think Khawaja will do well in India and if he does well there then he can establish himself in the ODI side. Watson is a good batsman and is a treat to watch when he is in full flight with the bat but suddenly he seems to lose his concentration and throws away his wicket to everyone’s dismay. He usually gets out just before or after scoring 50 runs and walks back disappointed that he has not converted his runs to score a century. Now that he can’t bowl he will have to bat responsibly and let his bat do all the talking otherwise he could lose his position in the Australian cricket team.Being the vice captain of the side he has to perform.

        • February 5th 2013 @ 2:11pm
          Sanjay said | February 5th 2013 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

          I am a big fan of Khawaja but i think its good he goes early to India, he will be a key batsman for us there and needs to get ready for the conditions there.

          • February 5th 2013 @ 3:43pm
            Ken Hambling said | February 5th 2013 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

            Agree 100%

    • February 5th 2013 @ 7:51am
      Robert said | February 5th 2013 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      The Windies throw up false dawns every few years.They win a test match that is basically a dead rubber and the world media say the calypso kings are back

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

    • February 5th 2013 @ 8:04am
      PJ said | February 5th 2013 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      And people are calling for Ed Cowan to be replaced by Watson. Watson couldn’t tie Cowans shoe laces, how can someone who averages 37 and only 2 centuries be deemed a certainty for our Test team. Absolute disgrace

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • February 5th 2013 @ 2:12pm
        Sanjay said | February 5th 2013 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        PJ Cowan averages 31 after more then 10 tests, quoting averages might not be the best way to justify Cowan as Watto averages 44 as opener.

      • February 5th 2013 @ 2:38pm
        matt h said | February 5th 2013 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

        A few more months and I’m sure Watto will be able, with difficulty, to bend down and tie Ed’s shoelaces.

        • February 5th 2013 @ 2:56pm
          Red Kev said | February 5th 2013 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

          Watto needs to be learning to change nappies, not tie shoelaces.

    • February 5th 2013 @ 9:21am
      jameswm said | February 5th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      In T20 and ODIs, I’m afraid Watson is a must-pick. He was the dominant player at the T20 WC. And at his best, he’s probably the best ODI player in the world too.

      Tests are different. The opinion on his white ball ability is based on him bowling, but you can’t seriously tell me he’s not a better one-day bat than Khawaja or Finch. Our best ODI opening pair is surely Warner and Watto.

      • February 5th 2013 @ 9:29am
        Red Kev said | February 5th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        I am warming more and more to the idea of Watto and Warner opening in all three formats (sure to help the running between the wickets) and Watson dropping back to be a 2-5 over per innings bowler in the same manner as Clarke and Warner – used as a changeup not as a front-line bowler.

        • February 5th 2013 @ 9:52am
          jameswm said | February 5th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Kev this is what I think I’d do

          In India and whilst Watto is on reduced bowling, he opens, Clarke bats 4, and Khawaja 5.

          Hopefully after 4-9 tests, Ussie has cemented his place and moves up to the top 3, with Warner and Hughes. Watto then resumes bowling, when needed, and bats at 6.

          In all of this we need another middle order bat, a spot that’s wide open, though not for Steve Smith.

          This is predicated on the assumption that withint he next 6 months, Watson will resume normal bowling duties. I sort of understand, from the inside, that he’s moved physios/trainers, and they’ve identified glaring physical weaknesses that are contributing to the injuries. Watto wants to build these areas up (legs, core etc) before resuming bowling more, which is sensible.

          I think an Aussie test team with Watto batting at 6 and a genune 5th bowling option is looking stronger. With Clarke at 4/5, we then just need to sort out the top 3.

          I really query Wade’s keeping, but the guy can bat. Watto 6 and Wade 7 is solid, very solid.And Siddle and Pattinson are hardly bunnies with the bat, nor Starc when he plays.

          Just need to work out the top 3. Get rid of Cowan, Watto bats there while Ussie settles in, then you swap them.

          • February 5th 2013 @ 2:14pm
            Sanjay said | February 5th 2013 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

            jamessw i completly agree with you mate, Watto is expected to bowl in the ashes so get him in the team for the India serie with Cowna out. Khawaja will hopefully get more then 1-2 games in a row which will allow him to establish in the side. I wouldn’t pick Steve Smith at 6 as there are better options.

          • February 5th 2013 @ 3:43pm
            Ken Hambling said | February 5th 2013 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

            Yes i agree with your analysis mate.

        • February 5th 2013 @ 10:28am
          Felix said | February 5th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          You’ve warmed the cockles of my heart with that Kev, Watson back opening in a test would keep me happy. I had a squiz at Watson’s strike rate as opener, he’s down at 52.8 or so with the much publicised average of 43 point something. That surprised me, I thought he would have had a much higher strike rate than that. It says one of two things, he’s either got a lot of play and misses or he can actually stay patient and see off a few deliveries.

          I’m still not convinced with Warner as an opener, but he’s here to stay so I’ll reserve my rant until he starts failing against a swinging ball again.

          On the bowling front, surely he can trundle up to the crease and send down a few deliveries each innings? Two overs before lunch then give him a rest for 40 in the ice bath.

        • February 6th 2013 @ 1:00pm
          B.A Sports said | February 6th 2013 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

          As long as “Watto” is more important to Watto than the Australian cricket team, his running between wickets will never improve.

    • February 5th 2013 @ 12:51pm
      dcnz said | February 5th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      My prediction is Watson will fail in India due to lack of cricket.

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