Watson failed to regain his coveted opening spot
Australia batsman Shane Watson, who for the past few months has been adamant about becoming an opener once again, has finally dropped his bid to do so and announced that he is open to settling for a middle order position.
Watson’s thirst for replacing opening batsman Ed Cowan was all started after he was forced to make the tough decision of giving up bowling in order to prolong his international career.
Since Ed Cowan and David Warner teamed up at the top of the batting line-up, they have scored more runs than any other opening pair and averaged 44.59, which is better than any other opening pair who have played 10 innings together.
“It certainly is different batting at No.4, 5 or 6 compared to opening,” Watson said. “You do know that batting through the middle order you’re going to be coming in against spin the majority of the time and also reverse swing, which provides big challenges. I know that’s part of what it would be to bat in the middle order but I also know that I’ve got the game to be able to negate that.
“If that’s what the selectors and the captain and coach see as the best opportunity for me to score runs then I’m certainly willing to take that on. I’ve played a lot of cricket in India now in all forms of the game so I suppose I am one of the more experienced guys to be able to take on the conditions and take on the Indian bowlers. I’ve played a lot of cricket against the majority of their bowlers so I know them very well and I know the conditions.”
Watson was one of only four members of the current squad to tour India in 2008, where he averaged 24.48 with the bat.
However, during a two-Test series in 2010, Watson was a regular opener and his average shot up to 67.75, which was attributed to the fact that he scored his second, and most recent, Test century.
“That is where I feel most comfortable, there’s no doubt about that,” Watson said about being an opening batsman. “Even opening the batting over the last couple of nights … I love taking on the quick bowlers with the brand new ball and challenging myself against the best bowlers in the world. That’s what really gets me up and going. That certainly is the exciting thing about opening the batting.
“I’m not here to put extra pressure on Ed at all, because I know he wants to be doing as good a job as he possibly can. All I’ve said is the reasons why I got moved down the order was mainly to do with my bowling, to be able to get the balance exactly right. But moving forward I really don’t want my bowling to get in the way of my batting.”
Since scoring his first Test century against South Africa in late 2012, Cowan has reached the half-century mark on two more occasions, but failed to convert them into triple figure scores.
Watson also noted that he was disappointed with the fact that the entire team could not go to India at the same time.
“To think that there are different stages of the group going over, it’s not a whole team going across to make our mark straight up, makes it very disappointing,” Watson said. “But that’s just the way the schedules have worked. You’ve just got to make the most of the situation. It’s not ideal but it is part and parcel now of trying to fit all the amount of cricket in that there is at the moment.
“For me, I just want to play. There’s no doubt you want to represent your country and I’ve missed quite a bit of the summer. The most exciting thing about representing your country is playing in front of your home fans, so for me I certainly would prefer to be playing here because that’s what really excites me.”