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Will the real Watson please stand up?

Baldrick44 Roar Rookie

By Baldrick44, Baldrick44 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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    Shane Watson is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped inside a mystery. For all the hype about him, sometimes you think he just needs to dash into a phone booth to reveal his secret identity.

    He has played at several positions in the order and also bowls handy medium pacers that occasionally break the odd dangerous partnership.

    It would seem odd therefore, that the Australian Cricket team really have little idea what to do with him, but it does. This is compounded by the fact that, due to injuries, Watson is now voicing with selectors the idea of playing merely as a batsman rather than as an all-rounder.

    The simple reason for all this is that beneath this much vaunted versatility is a sense of vulnerability. His place in the batting order has, more than anything else, been at the behest of what needs filling, rather than his natural spot, such as the No. 3 slot that Ricky Ponting filled for much of his career.

    This is compounded by his stats. While his average of 37.02 is not too bad, the fact is that his conversion rate of 19 fifties and two centuries is not what’s needed to take a game by the throat.

    The other problem is that, statistically in Tests at least, his bowling is perhaps the more useful side of his game. As the fifth bowler in the Australian side, he boasts an average of 30.06 at a strike rate of 63.

    Losing him as a bowler means finding another all-rounder and as Mitchell Johnson found out, it takes more than a massive PR campaign to allow you to both bat and bowl at a consistent level.

    Therefore, is Australia willing to continue to bend to what Watson feels his body requires him to do? Or will the selectors give Watson an ultimatum?

    Because while people believe he could be anything, perhaps a more important question is whether Shane Watson and the selectors believe that what Shane Watson can be is feasible for the Australian Test team.

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • January 31st 2013 @ 7:13am
      dynamitedave said | January 31st 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      yes, stand up and leave the room.

      • January 31st 2013 @ 9:27am
        Allanthus said | January 31st 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        Maybe he would stand up if he didn’t have so many leg injuries…?

    • January 31st 2013 @ 8:52am
      B.A Sports said | January 31st 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Watson seems like one of these guys who gets too much airplay for his relevance.

      He wants to be a batsman only yet av’s 37 in tests.
      If you take out the one summer where he played an awful West Indies side and a Pakistan side that was deliberatly losing (the best bowler he faced that summer was Kemar Roach – really!) his test average would be 32 and over 40 odd tests, that isn’t good enough for a top 4 bat.

    • January 31st 2013 @ 8:56am
      Christo the Daddyo said | January 31st 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      This article doesn’t make any sense.

      In one sentence, the author states that Watson’s natural position is at No. 3 (i.e. a pure batsman). The he admits that the most useful thing about Watson is his bowling.

      So which is it?

      If he’s decided (for whatever reason) to concentrate on batting only, he needs to play the rest of the Shield season and prove his worth as a batsman. He shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Australian team otherwise.

      • January 31st 2013 @ 9:59am
        Baldrick44 said | January 31st 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Some clarification here- I meant that the No. 3 spot was a natural fit for Ricky Ponting. I don’t envisage Watson as a No. 3. Sorry about the confusion.

        • January 31st 2013 @ 10:28am
          Varun said | January 31st 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          Haw watto, Warner, Hughes, khawaja – that should be our top 4

    • January 31st 2013 @ 10:12am
      formeropenside said | January 31st 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      Whats funny to me is how people say we need Watson for his experience in India, and then note that he cant play spinners terribly well (as part of the argument for putting him in an opener).

      I suppose he is a better choice than Henriques though.

      • January 31st 2013 @ 10:33am
        Baldrick44 said | January 31st 2013 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Is he as good as Henriques if he only bats though?

    • Roar Pro

      January 31st 2013 @ 10:32am
      boes said | January 31st 2013 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      He tried but got injured.

    • January 31st 2013 @ 10:41am
      Red Kev said | January 31st 2013 @ 10:41am | ! Report

      His latest efforts of 30 at club level then 6 at state level IS the real Shane Watson.

      • January 31st 2013 @ 11:43am
        matt h said | January 31st 2013 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        That’s a little unfair. His first class average stack up ok. Better than many. Batting average is 44 (better than Khawaja funnily enough – who would have thunk it) with 17 centuries and bowling is just under 28 with a strike rate of 52. That is a serious all rounder.

        • January 31st 2013 @ 12:12pm
          Red Kev said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          It isn’t unfair at all. Since the last tour to India in 2010 when Watson scored his second and last test match century Australia have played 25 tests (Watson has only managed to stay fit for 16 of those). In those 16 tests Watson has averaged 33.2 with the bat.
          His most recent Shield match yielded a score of guess what … 33.
          And in case you want a more complete picture, over the last three seasons Watson has only played 4 shield matches and has averaged a lowly 22.1
          That is two years of first-class form to show you exactly how good Watson is (i.e. not very).

          • January 31st 2013 @ 12:18pm
            Renegade said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            His still a very valuable member of this side….i don’t care what the last 2 years of stats suggest.

            When fit, he is one of the first picked in any format of the game for Australia right now.

            • January 31st 2013 @ 12:22pm
              Matt F said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              As an all-rounder? Absolutely. As a pure batsman? I don’t know how that can be at all justified

              • January 31st 2013 @ 12:32pm
                Renegade said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                Yes, i should’ve clarified that… an All Rounder.

              • January 31st 2013 @ 12:52pm
                Matt F said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                Which leads us to the problem that Watson won’t be bowling this series

        • January 31st 2013 @ 12:26pm
          Red Kev said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          In fact just to make it more fun for you I’ve compiled this – the combined Shield and Test records of Watson v Khawaja over the last 3 years (i.e. since the start of the 2010/11 summer).
          Watson (16 tests, 4 Shield matches), 1104 runs @ 30.7 (0 centuries, 8 half-centuries).
          Khawaja (6 tests, 18 Shield matchs), 1574 runs @ 40.4 (3 centuries one of which was a double, 8 half-centuries).
          Fair? Watson is not within cooee of a test-match-class batsman.

          • January 31st 2013 @ 12:35pm
            Renegade said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

            The glaringly obvious in why this isn’t a fair comparison is that watson has a test to shield average of 80/20 while khawaja is the complete opposite….it’s a silly comparison.
            Again i’m saying the obvious but test matches are a lot more difficult than shield….how many of khawajas centuries were in tests??

            I’m a Khawaja fan and believe he should be in the test team but not ahead of Watson in any shape or form.
            There’s a place for both.

            • January 31st 2013 @ 12:37pm
              Red Kev said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

              I was just trying to illustrate form.
              I agree that if Watson is bowling then he should play.
              However as a batsman he just isn’t good enough.

              • January 31st 2013 @ 12:51pm
                matt h said | January 31st 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                I would say he is good enough to replace Cowan … but then I would say that about a lot of batsmen

              • January 31st 2013 @ 3:01pm
                Red Kev said | January 31st 2013 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

                I won’t argue with that

        • January 31st 2013 @ 1:11pm
          B.A Sports said | January 31st 2013 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

          Would be willing to bet many of those first class runs were scored on a benine Belreve when it was a batsman’s paradise