Three options for Shane Watson

Brian Zhang Roar Rookie

By Brian Zhang , Brian Zhang is a Roar Rookie

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    Australia have the talent in Twenty20 - but do they even want to do well at it? (Image: AFP)

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    The horror series against India which saw Australia suffer its worst defeat since the 78/79 Ashes has placed many players’ careers under serious threat.

    None more than Shane Watson, due to his actions both on and off the field. On the field, he had a poor series, accumulating 99 runs at 24.

    Off the field there were even more problems, with Watson being suspended alongside three other Australian players for not completing a task given by Mickey Arthur.

    He was also questioned for not being a ”team player” by Pat Howard.

    Watson has now failed to register a Test hundred for over 39 Test innings dating back to October 2010.

    Despite his Test downfall, he has continued to excel in the shorter forms of the game, averaging 53 in the last year in ODIs and was player of the tournament in the ICC T20 World Cup only last September.

    His Test average has dropped from 42 to 35 in the last 18 months, but in ODIs his average has hovered around 40-43 throughout his career.

    Although chairman of selectors John Inverarity stated that he cannot guarantee Watson’s place for the Ashes, there is a fair chance the selectors will stick with him simply because he has the vice-captaincy.

    In the three months leading to the Ashes, Watson should consider these three things as options for his future:

    – Relinquishing the vice-captaincy from all forms of the game;

    – Retire from Test cricket to prolong his ODI and T20 career, giving him a chance of playing in the 2015 World Cup;

    – Retire from ODI and T20 cricket prolonging his Test career.

    For some, it may be hard to believe that Watson has not been able to convert his ODI and T20 form into Test form, given he has remained extremely consistent in those formats.

    Some may believe he is not up to Test standards.

    There have a been a few factors that explain Watson’s Test form.

    Firstly, injury from bowling, poor preparation due to not playing enough first-class games and his demotion from opening to no. 3 or 4.

    It is also worth noting that his average has also started to fall ever since he loss Katich as his opening partner and when Ricky Ponting retired from the captaincy in 2011.

    Playing as a specialist batsman in India was also a huge mistake.

    This it meant if Watson didn’t score runs, his position would be at risk given he didn’t give himself the chance of taking wickets.

    Between now and the Ashes there is the IPL, where it is likely that Watson will be one of the top run scorers and chip in with handy wickets.

    Whether he can transform that form into Test cricket is a totally different story.

    Shane Watson will probably get nowhere near reading this article or even know I wrote it but before or after the Ashes he must consider those three options which will play a huge role for his future in the Australian side.

    He also must use the time between now and the Ashes to get back into bowling form and strengthen his fitness so he can play as an all-rounder in the Ashes.

    Personally I believe he should not be an automatic selection for the first two Tests of the series, even though the selectors will probably pick him.

    But Watson is a good player, capable of dominating teams all round the world as he has shown in the past and in the shorter formats. The question is, can he deliver this Ashes series?

    I’ll leave it to you, Roarers.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • March 28th 2013 @ 6:52am
      Praveen said | March 28th 2013 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      Best option is for him to start bowling and then we have a useful all rounder as I am assuming he will bat better once he is bowling

    • March 28th 2013 @ 7:13am
      brother mouzone said | March 28th 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      he’s had enough time to try and prove himself as a specialist batsman.the only way he can justify a spot in the test side is as an allrounder.he must bowl or make way for a specialist batsman capable and hungry of making big scores.

      • March 28th 2013 @ 3:26pm
        Kev said | March 28th 2013 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

        Watson isn’t a test level batsman, plain and simple. The choice shouldn’t be up to him because if his media comments are anything to go by, Watson changes his mind on whether he wants to be a specialist batsman, bowler or all-rounder every week. He should be in the side for his bowling only. If he can make runs and that’s a massive if, then that’s a bonus. His rubbish half century to century conversion rate does not warrant him being called a specialist batsman and after nearly 10 years in the side, I think it’s time to stop calling him an all-rounder because his batting leaves a lot to be desired.

    • March 28th 2013 @ 8:04am
      Red Kev said | March 28th 2013 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Watson’s three options are retire from tests, get dumped from tests, or do another Brut ad and die painfully when I beat him to death with a deodorant can.

      • March 28th 2013 @ 10:56am
        Matt F said | March 28th 2013 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        Why waste your energy Kev? Just spray him with some Brut. The stench of that stuff could kill anyone!

        edit – Damn, the good brother mouzone beat me to it!

      • March 28th 2013 @ 3:44pm
        Disco said | March 28th 2013 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

        “Back yourself.”

    • March 28th 2013 @ 8:30am
      brother mouzone said | March 28th 2013 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      the smell of brut is usually enough

    • March 28th 2013 @ 10:53am
      Lancey5times said | March 28th 2013 @ 10:53am | ! Report

      He is most valuable to the team as the 3rd seamer batting at 7 with the keeper at 8. I put this forward months ago and got shot down. He is not a batsman. Pick him as a bowler if he proves fit and effective. Then any runs are a bonus

      • March 28th 2013 @ 11:59am
        brian zhang said | March 28th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

        He did play as a bowling all rounder earlier in his career but that was the reason why he broke down so many times, because his bowling workload put a lot of strain on his body

        His bowling actually has excelled significantly over his batting in recent times
        5/40 and 6/33 against Pakistan in 2010: in England and 5/17 against south Africa in 2011

        If he can get back to bowling fitness and bowl like he did in England against Pakistan, because he can swing the ball, it can prove a handful for the English batsmen

        I reckon he should retire from test after the ashes so he can extend his odi career to be a chance of the 2015 world cup or else retire from the shorter forms because that’s where all his injuries are coming from, too much odi and t20 workload

        • March 28th 2013 @ 1:20pm
          sittingbison said | March 28th 2013 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          those michelles are close to three years ago…hardly “recent times” lol

          And how does 99 runs in 6 innings give an average of 24?? His average in India was 16.5

          His average over the past 27months since the 2010 Boxing Day Test is about 24. And his bowling in the same period is only 20 wickets in 21 innings (did not bowl in 8 innings) in 210 overs. This includes a single michelle in the infamous Cape Town Test, and 47 overs in a single match (Hobart)

          • March 28th 2013 @ 3:19pm
            brian zhang said | March 28th 2013 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

            i apologise sittingbison, i was looking at his stats after the second test

            Still he provides balance to the team with his bowling just like Andrew symonds

            He doesn’t need to take big wickets, he just keeps its quiet at one end whilst the siddle or Pattinson takes the wickets

            • March 28th 2013 @ 4:00pm
              Lancey5times said | March 28th 2013 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

              If he’s not taking wickets than he is a batsman and he’s shown that batting is beyond his skill set. He takes 4 wickets a test and bats at 7 or doesn’t play.

              I would prefer the latter

              • March 29th 2013 @ 2:23pm
                terrykidd said | March 29th 2013 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                Agreed mate

    • Columnist

      March 28th 2013 @ 11:02am
      Brett McKay said | March 28th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      Certainly the only option for his ongoing Test career is to resume bowling and to get used to the idea of batting no higher than 5. His record as an opener over the last 2-3 years doesn’t give him the credit he thinks it does..

      • March 28th 2013 @ 11:09am
        Timmuh said | March 28th 2013 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        Agreed. From memory, in his last two series as opener he averaged less than he does a middle order player. He had good form a few years back, opening may or may not have assisted his form but it dropped away before he dropped down the order.
        The idea that opening will cure his ills is fraught with danger, particularly when the opening partnership (despite its inherent weaknesses, which I shall call Warner and Cowan) is one of the better performing aspects of the batting lineup; that is, after Clarke and the tail.

      • March 28th 2013 @ 1:25pm
        sittingbison said | March 28th 2013 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

        Red Kev and I have been quoting his stats since Boxing Day 2010 for months now….avg about 24 with the bat, only 20 wickets in 21 innings. He opened in 2011, also avg 24.

        His avg of 43 opening is entirely due to 18 months in 2009 and early 2010. Before and after he has done SFA

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