‘I’m happy to bat anywhere’, says Shane Watson

Image courtesy of: dailytelegraph.com.au

Watson acknowledged his failure with the bat

Australia opener Shane Watson has constantly been moved up and down the batting line-up, which has seen him come in anywhere from an opener all the way down to number six, but the flamboyant batsman stated that he was “happy to bat anywhere”.

Watson has definitely been out of form with the bat throughout the ongoing Ashes series and it has been 12 innings since he made his last Test half-century, which came against Sri Lanka during the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last year.

In this year’s Ashes series, Watson has only managed to score 13, 46, 30, 20 and 19 as an opener and has always been the first one to be dismissed every time he opens the batting with Chris Rogers.

LBWs have been Watson’s downfall throughout the Ashes, but despite working on the problem in the nets, he still seems unable to break the habit.

“From my personal perspective, it’s been a really disappointing three Test matches so far,” Watson said. “To be able to get the starts and get the things going and then not be able to capitalise on that has been extremely annoying. I’ve been working hard on one thing in particular where the ball is seaming back to try and give myself the best chance of being able to get through a ball like that.

“It’s probably been the first time really in my career that I feel like I’m actually batting well, but I’m not getting the results that I know I can get. Of course it’s been extremely frustrating, especially batting with Chris, I’ve felt like we’ve been able to get a really good bond together opening the batting. But I haven’t been out there long enough to be able to build a really big partnership together with him.

“I certainly do love opening the batting in all forms of the game. But even in the second innings I absolutely do understand the thought process behind it [moving down to No.4]. I also haven’t scored the runs as an opener as well in these three Test matches to be able to continue to feel like I’m doing a competent job at the top of the order. In the end, I’m happy to bat anywhere, I’m happy to play anywhere to be part of an Australian team that is certainly moving forward.”

Watson recently resumed his duties as an all-rounder after taking a temporary break to avoid succumbing to any injuries and noted that he was extremely grateful to have been able to share the new ball during the second innings of the second Test at Lord’s.

“To be able to take the new ball in the second innings at Lord’s and come on pretty early, my role is probably changing a little bit,” he said. “But any way I can try and evolve and try and contribute to the team is the most important thing for me. I am trying to take wickets by being patient but also trying to work the batsman over. One of the outcomes is to keep it really tight.

“I’m not sure that opening the batting and bowling 20 overs in a day would be possible. If that was what the team wanted me to do I would do it to the best of my ability. The way my body is continuing to go and the way I am bowling at the moment I feel that is not too far away. Michael [Clarke] has been looking after me in the three Tests by not bowling me at certain times when we are about to go in to bat again. The way he has been looking after me has been excellent.”

However, Watson has also been having a difficult time off the field as well as former coach Mickey Arthur claimed in his legal documents that captain Michael Clarke saw Watson as a “cancer” on the national team and that there are “major tensions” between the two men.

“It didn’t particularly worry me too much,” Watson said of the leaking of Arthur’s documents. “It’s something that’s happened in the past … things that were in and around the team through that period of time of about a year certainly weren’t that great but as I said this is an exciting time for me in my cricket career to be able to have Darren Lehmann doing an amazing job of bringing everyone together.

“For me this is the most enjoyable time I’ve had within the Australian team for a long, long time, so those things … if things hadn’t evolved the way they had within the team then it probably would have affected me more but how excited I am about being involved in the Australian cricket team at this point in time that’s all in the past and we’re all moving forward.”

Watson also admitted that he hit the lowest point of his career and even pondered over his Test future after being axed for the third Test against India in Mohali due to the ‘homework-gate’ scandal.

However, with Darren Lehmann now in charge of the national team, Watson revealed that the dark thoughts had all but vanished from his mind.

“How he coaches is how he played the game, to make sure you really enjoy the game,” Watson said of Lehmann. “He played with freedom. I always admired the way Darren did play the game. He got the most out of his talent and was always extremely exciting to watch. He always made the game go forward the way he played. That’s how he saw the game and that’s how he is as a coach and that’s how I am as well I suppose.

“That’s the cricket environment I got brought up with when I first started around the Australian squad. It drifted a little bit for a period of time but we’ve certainly got that back again now that Darren has taken over. People feel like they’re instilled with a lot more freedom to be able to go out there and express themselves and have fun doing it.”

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