Watson knows that the odds are stacked against him
Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has admitted that his current Test record is extremely poor given the amount of success he has had in the limited overs formats.
Watson noted that he needs to add more centuries to his name if he is to secure a permanent spot in Australia’s Test squad for the future.
Watson suffered numerous injuries during last season’s Test campaign, which was frustrating for both himself and Cricket Australia, and in hopes of ensuring that it does not happen again, the national selectors forced Watson to return home mid-way through the recently concluded Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20).
The all-rounder has been using the last couple of weeks to develop his technique and work on increasing his match-fitness as well.
As of right now, Watson has only scored two Test centuries and 18 half-centuries.
“That’s the thing I’ve been really looking deep inside myself to be able to find the reasons why I haven’t been able to convert those decent days into those really big and good days, and they are the innings that do really influence a game. It’s certainly something I’m very conscious of and I’m doing everything I can to hopefully have that breakthrough innings to know how to replicate that. I’m very much looking forward to the Test cricket coming up. To miss the summer last year and only play a few Tests in the West Indies, I certainly have the excitement inside me to want to play Test cricket. It’s the ultimate challenge for a cricketer. There are a few things I certainly want to improve in my Test cricket especially. This is a good opportunity with the amount of cricket coming up and also the quality of opposition to test out where I’m at,” Watson said.
Watson will also be working on his stamina and improving his mental approach towards Test cricket, which he hopes to put into action during an upcoming Sheffield Shield match against Queensland.
“Over the next couple of weeks the conditioning part of things is going to be very important. Unless you’re out there playing you can’t replicate anything like what it’s going to be physically being out there on your feet in a battle for five days, that’s certainly going to take a bit of time to get my body adjusted to it. Mentally that’s one of the reasons why I came home [from CLT20]. To be able to reset my batting especially to get rid of a few of the little things that creep in when you’re playing the shorter form of the game,” Watson added.
Watson’s incapability to score centuries in Test cricket has baffled many cricket pundits since he seems to accomplish it with relative ease in domestic cricket, where he has scored 17 centuries, one of which is a double century, along with 42 half-centuries.
The all-rounder was quick to recall how it took him more than six hours to score one of his two Test centuries against India at Mohali.
“[Mohali] was over six hours, and that’s a thing I know in Shield cricket in the times when I’ve scored those big runs in the level below, it has been when I’ve batted for really long periods of time, so it’s about finding that balance to be able to not have a defensive mindset when you’re out there, just thinking about batting time. That’s the only thing that really you’re getting balance between, making sure you’re putting the bowlers under pressure the whole time you’re out there, that they can’t just settle into limiting your scoring, but also do it for really long periods of time. A lot of it comes down to being able to replicate your technique, so its the concentration side of things and making sure technique is as good as it can be as well,” Watson said.
The Australia team management and many cricket pundits think that Watson’s move from opening the batting to coming in at one down is a positive one since he will have time to ponder the kind of approach he should take.
Despite not being able to make any decent scores coming in at number three during the West Indies series in April, Cricket Australia are confident that it will only be a matter of time before Watson gets comfortable coming in at one down.
“It’s certainly a big change, and I think in the end from what I found in the West Indies a good change in a way, because it meant it gave me a bit of time to even mentally reset, if I’ve had to bowl and I’ve come off straight away and had to get my pads on and get out to face the first ball, you don’t really have a time to reset your mind really. That’s where in the West Indies I found it a nice time to mentally reset, let alone the physical side of things to recover, even if it is just for one ball or one or two overs. I did enjoy that compared to opening the batting,” Watson added.