Clarke helped by rest, says Watson

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    Michael Clarke’s month-long injury absence is set to prove more blessing than curse when he leads Australia into the Test series against the West Indies this weekend.

    Impressed by his ball striking, vice-captain Shane Watson believes the break has only served to freshen up a champion batsman in career-best form after a run-laden but tiring home summer.

    Returning from a hamstring strain, skipper Clarke hit some crisp pull shots in a comfortable innings of 30 in the three-day tour match in Bridgetown.

    “He batted beautifully from the outset yesterday and today,” Watson said on Tuesday.

    “I think Pup (Clarke) is in the form of his life so a couple of weeks off is just going to freshen him up more than anything.

    “I’ve got no concerns and I’m sure he wouldn’t either just because of the way he’s hitting the ball.”

    While Clarke’s knock was probably not as long as he’d have liked, he showed no signs of his hamstring issue and Watson believes time in the middle is not something his captain needed after his summer of domination.

    The 30-year-old, who has made a hundred in each of his four series as Test captain, amassed an amazing 626 runs in four home Tests against India with two centuries, including his remarkable 329no in Sydney.

    And Watson believes Clarke’s confidence levels will ensure he’s more than ready to jump straight back into the Test arena at Kensington Oval for the first Test starting on Saturday.

    Australia’s batsmen got a taste of the slow and spin-friendly wickets they are likely to face in the three Tests against the Windies during their tour-match with WICB President’s XI.

    Spin duo Ryan Austin and Nkrumah Bonner took three wickets each in Australia’s 9(dec)-214 before Australian spinner Nathan Lyon chipped in with four wickets of his own as the hosts were rolled for 98.

    But despite only Peter Forrest passing 50 in Australia’s first innings, Watson feels the tourists are ready for whatever will be thrown at them in the first Test.

    “So far most batters have had enough time in the middle to get their head around what their game plans are going to be on these types of wickets,” he said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • April 5th 2012 @ 9:40am
      jameswm said | April 5th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      Clarke just has to take his time and build an innings, like Punter has started doing. Don’t waft outside off early.

      I wonder how Punter will cope with the short stuff Kemar Roach will offer him. A spell Roach bowled to Punter a few years back was the first sign that his abilities were on the wane.

    • April 5th 2012 @ 10:59am
      Pope Paul VII said | April 5th 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      I’m wondering about the spin on spin. The WIs have three decent quicks for the first time in ages. Roach, Edwards, Rampaul. If the play Bishoo one of them will miss because crafty fightin’ Capt Sammy has to play. Still Big Ravi is coming back after dengue fever so will prob be considered underdone. Or maybe they’ll leave the hose on overnight and pick 4 seamers? Of course Australia’s speedsters are more than handy.

      Is Pollard available or is he stuck to that dreadful IPL thingy like Narine? They need him as he has no fear and Australia have the edge in batting.

    • April 5th 2012 @ 11:53am
      Pope Paul VII said | April 5th 2012 @ 11:53am | ! Report

      Oh well IPL has taken Narine,Pollard.

      The West Indies batting needs a devoted top six, and seven Mr Baugh.

      Sammy is in a strange spot. A bowling captain who’s an excellent fighter in these troubled times but who’s fright factor is behind the other three quicks. He also needs to step up at number 8.

      • April 6th 2012 @ 12:27am
        Rhys said | April 6th 2012 @ 12:27am | ! Report

        The Aussies will be breathing a little easier with Narine out of the equation. He had them guessing in the limited overs. I agree that Sammy has to do his bit with both bat and ball, but I’ve been really impressed by his captaincy. He may not be the the most tactically astute but he’s managed to galvanise the West Indies team during a period where a myriad of factors threatened to splinter them irrevocably.

        Such a pity the stand off between Gayle and the Windies Board hasn’t been resolved. A Windies Test team with Gayle, Pollard and Narine in it would pose some series questions to the Australians.

        • April 6th 2012 @ 6:28pm
          Lolly said | April 6th 2012 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

          Bishoo is an excellent bowler. He’s not going to leave them much more breathing space than Narine would have. I’d expect Punter and Clarke to handle him, but then I would have thought they’d be ok against Narine as they both use their feet and usually their heads against spin.

          I’m looking forward to the West Indies bowling, I hope they give the series pitches with ‘something’ to them as the series that the West Indies played at home against the Indians was great fun for the bowlers on both sides. It’s a real problem for them with Sammy not able to bat further up the order. I’d like to see Ravi Rampaul play, he’s a much improved bowler.

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