Watson’s summer yet again begins with another injury
Victoria batsman Rob Quiney was given the opportunity to make his Test debut for Australia after all-rounder Shane Watson fell victim to yet another calf injury before the start of the first Test against South Africa.
Watson sustained his injury while bowling for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match against Queensland last Saturday and Australia coach Mickey Arthur is hoping that the all-rounder will be fit in time for the second Test at Adelaide.
“Shane Watson won’t play the first Test match. He did an assessment this morning. We’ve ruled him out, we’re hoping that he will play unrestricted in the second Test match at the Adelaide Oval. That means Rob Quiney makes his debut this week against South Africa. we’re ruling him out now because we think he won’t be fit enough come Friday. We wanted to be really decisive. We didn’t want this to outplay the whole week. We wanted to make a decisive decision pretty early so we could give some real clarity to the team. I think we’ve done that. Unfortunately Shane misses out,” Arthur said a few days before the start of the first Test.
Watson had the same problem last summer when he picked up a hamstring and calf injury and was out of action for the entire period of time.
Watson now has until November 22 to prove to the national selectors that he will be fit enough to play in the second Test and Arthur believes that he will pull through.
“Last year we won 4-0 against India, Shane Watson wasn’t part of that side over the summer, we’re relaxed, we’re calm. I think the team is all in a really good space. We’re comfortable that we have the players, we have the cover,” Arthur added.
With the pitch at The Gabba in Brisbane known to be a pace bowler’s paradise, there was a lot of speculation about whether off-spinner Nathan Lyon would be picked in the squad, but the ground curator Kevin Mitchell stated that Lyon would come in handy when the pitch starts to deteriorate from day four onwards.
“We’ve still got to go and see what the wicket delivers for us, Michael, myself and [team performance manager] Pat Howard had a meeting this morning with the curator. We’re pretty confident we’re going to get a very, very good Gabba wicket, which increases the likelihood of us playing a spinner. We’ve never ever doubted Nathan’s ability. We’re hoping that when he comes into this environment, and I know South Australia have done some very good work with him… he gets the lift that he needs. We’re backing Nathan Lyon at the moment. Michael, myself and the selection panel believe that Nathan Lyon is our best spinner and Nathan Lyon will be our best spinner for a long period of time. We want to give him that confidence and back him in,” Arthur said.