Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has announced that he doesn’t mind batting at any number, just as long as he can represent his country in all three formats of the game.
However, Watson will find it hard to regain his spot in the national team since he has a history of ankle and calf injuries. In addition to that, his replacement, Mitchell Marsh, performed quite well during the recently concluded Test series against Pakistan, in which Australia were whitewashed 2-0.
Marsh ended up scoring 164 runs, which included a career-best 87, at a solid average of 41.
“Wherever Darren [Lehmann] and Michael [Clarke] want me to play or bat, I just want to have an opportunity and wherever they want me in the batting order, I’m just happy to be part of the team,” Watson said. “I’m sure there’s been a lot of things the team have learned on the current tour, so hopefully I can score enough runs over the next month to give myself an opportunity to be in the team. I am as fresh as I have been for a long, long time. I’m ready to play anything.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this – to be here with an Australian squad but still be watching on TV another Australian team plying its trade in the UAE seems very bizarre. Knowing there’s only a day or two between that Test match ending and when we start over here is interesting scheduling, but that’s the way it is.”
Ever since Australia beat South Africa 2-1 during a Test series in March, Watson has spent a lot of time working on his batting technique with mentor Mark O’Neill.
“With my batting I’ve had to work through my technical issues that have crept in from playing as long as I had [without a break],” Watson said. “So I’ve had to work very hard on those over the past six months. It was really trying to simplify my batting. I had to make a few adjustments on the run during the English series when I had some lbw issues so I made a few adjustments on the run and I’ve had to get back to simplifying that. I’ve been lucky to work with a really high-quality batting coach who’s been able to help me bring things back to simplify it.
“I didn’t want it [the break] because I just want to play as much as I possibly can for my country. But out of any negative situation I have always tried to find the positives and there have certainly been some positives out of it. To be able to just continue, to be able to refine my batting, but also continue to look at where my physical preparation is as well … that is also the most important thing to me, to be able to stay fit.”
Even though Watson admitted it was frustrating to watch his side get battered by Pakistan, he stated that the national team’s dream run, which started after they whitewashed England 5-0 in the Ashes at the beginning of the year, had to come to an end at some point.
“After everything that we have done over the last 18 months to build it up, things are never meant to go perfectly well,” he said. “We have had an incredible run in the Ashes last summer and in South Africa as well. Things always pop up at times to give you a reality check when you need it. This, certainly from afar, it looks like it has been a really big reality check for everyone.
“We’ve always grown out of situations that haven’t been ideal for us and we’ll certainly do that again.”
With Watson having been included in Australia’s Twenty20 and ODI squad for the upcoming series against South Africa, he revealed that there is still some animosity between both teams after their intense Test series earlier this year.
“The relations were a bit rocky no doubt,” he said. “It was very hard-fought cricket so there will be a lot of competition on the field, and maybe a few scars floating around from that Test tour as well might pop up, but in the end they’re a high-quality team and so are we.”