Warner to open, Watson to move down

By Ben Horne,

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    Shane Watson’s reinstatement as an opener appears short-lived, with Australia strongly considering a permanent return for David Warner at the top of the innings.

    Watson was told he’d get his wish and open for the series, but it seems plans could change and Australian captain Michael Clarke declared the allrounder would bat wherever is best for the team.

    In the second innings at Old Trafford, Warner was promoted to open, with Watson shifted to No.4.

    It was a plan hatched to score quick runs – but shapes as the new blueprint going forward.

    “Shane understood my reasoning for opening with Warner and was more than happy to move to No.4,” said Clarke.

    “And he’s made it clear that wherever I want him to bat he will do that for the team.

    “Watto has made it clear to me and everyone that he loves opening the batting.

    “It’s a tough one.

    “We will continue to talk and assess what is best for the team.”

    Just last week coach Darren Lehmann said about Watson: “we need him to make it as an opener and I’m really confident he will make it as an opener.”

    However, the destructive presence of leading wicket-taker Graeme Swann dining out on Australia’s left-handers in the middle-order has forced a tactical rethink.

    And Watson has hardly demanded to pick where he bats with a series average of 24.

    Warner averages 39 opening the batting for Australia.’

    Watson has averaged 41 at the top and just 26.62 in six matches at No.4.

    But opening with Warner means he and fellow left-handers Chris Rogers and Usman Khawaja are all in the top three, increasing their chances of getting in against the new ball, before Swann comes into the attack.

    Right-handed Watson at No.4 allows he and expert players of spin Michael Clarke and Steve Smith to occupy the middle-order.

    Lehmann admitted that philosophy had merit, but stressed nothing had been committed to.

    “There are a lot of things that look good,” he said.

    “The reason we swapped around was for Davey Warner to have a go and Watson to tackle Swann, pretty simple.

    “We might do (stick with that order), we just have to wait and see.”

    Watson’s batting has been sub-par but he’s bowled tightly, sending down 31 maidens from his 61 overs, at an economy rate of 1.86 runs an over.

    It’s the most Watson has bowled since the Sri Lanka series in 2011 and before that the last Ashes series in 2010-11 – and it’s only three matches into a five-game series.

    Lehmann said Watson was doing his job as an allrounder.

    “As an allrounder, no dramas,” he said.

    “When you play an extra bowler in your top six, it’s such an advantage.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Roar Pro

      August 7th 2013 @ 2:30am
      A View From the Top said | August 7th 2013 @ 2:30am | ! Report

      I think when batting first Watson might open the batting in the first dig and come in a little later in the second. This gives him theoretically at least, the most time to recover from batting to bowl and from bowling to bat. Having so many opening bats allows this flexibility of course. He shouldn’t complain because time and time again he has proven no matter where he bats he isn’t good enough to make the side as a batsman

    • August 7th 2013 @ 6:49am
      davos said | August 7th 2013 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      what more needs to be said …and on top of that he reprtedly is a disruptive influence in the side …I’d pick him one day and t 20 …..but in tests I think his best spot in the order is 15

      • August 7th 2013 @ 9:39am
        Hookin' YT said | August 7th 2013 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        You’d play him at Fullback? Nah, Jesse Mogg deserves his chance. Watson 23.

        • August 7th 2013 @ 12:06pm
          Gippy said | August 7th 2013 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          Nah. That’s Lance Franklin. And Dermie before that. If we’re talking cricket, why on earth would you bat him at Warnie’s old number?

    • August 7th 2013 @ 10:14am
      Sydney Kiwi said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Well if he is an allrounder, bat him at 6 and bowl him more. Then if he still doesn’t perform an d you feel they MUST have an allrounder then pick Faulker (who can be the token left arm bowler aswell).

      • August 7th 2013 @ 1:07pm
        Atko said | August 7th 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

        Time and time again he’s shown that when he takes on a substantial bowling load he breaks down with injury. Clarke horribly mismanages Watson and this is the first time we’ve gone back to the Ponting-era of Watson Management.

    • August 7th 2013 @ 10:44am
      Atko said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      But what’s the other option? Warner? Because he made 40 in an innings with no pressure and the field back? The alternatives just aren’t enticing and I think it’s worth Australia persevering with Watson at the top. Talk of Warner opening and Watson dropping to four smacks of Clarke getting his mate back at the top. I don’t believe Lehmann wants this and I’m sure he’d be disappointed with talk of this.

    • August 7th 2013 @ 10:46am
      AnthonyDArcy said | August 7th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Clarke has to bat at at least 4.

    • Roar Guru

      August 7th 2013 @ 12:31pm
      DingoGray said | August 7th 2013 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

      Clarke will do anything to get out of batting 4!
      Man up skip! Throw 4 out the window and stride out at 3 and make a real statement of leadership!
      Stop hiding! Grow a set!

      • August 7th 2013 @ 5:28pm
        davos said | August 7th 2013 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

        the only time we posted a decent score and was competitive and on top was when Clarke got a big hundred…..say it again …he should bat anywhere he damn well chooses…as long as he scores runs

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