What to do with Watson?

Shane Watson is out injured on the eve of a big Test series. Again. Strained a calf muscle early in a bowling spell. Again. I’ve read articles in the last week or so that suggest Watson should give up the shorter forms of the game to prolong his Test career. Maybe he should. Shane Watson is a very good Test cricketer. Not a great one but very good. Shane Watson is a great one-day international cricketer. And maybe the best Twenty20 International player this country has produced.

One of the theories mentioned has been for Watson to give up bowling and just be a Test batsman. Maybe his batting would improve without the burden of bowling. It would have to improve alot for a player who in 35 Tests in 7 and a half years since his debut has averaged 37 with just two centuries. And a highest score of 126. There are plenty of players in Australia who could average 37 without bowling. I’m sure Rob Quiney could given an extended run. So could George Bailey, Callum Ferguson, Peter Forrest, Alex Doolan and several others. As an all-rounder Watson’s bowling has been very good. 59 wickets at 28.92 in his 35 Tests. But is his role as fourth seamer irreplaceable? Andrew McDonald has shown in his 4 Tests that he is very capable of bowling tightly in a long spell while taking the odd wicket. And he can bat. If Mitchell Marsh can control his love of a drink he could be a much better all-rounder than Watson. And the brilliant Glenn Maxwell could be an all-rounder option if his off-spin continues to improve alongside his explosive batting.

Watson is nearly 31 and a half. With recurring calf injuries. The old man injury. Just 35 Tests since his January 2005 debut. The best Australian teams have been consistent line-ups with few changes. Are we better to have a mainly constant line-up in the Test team? Of course we are. Watson should give away the longer forms of the game. Now. Keep playing ODI’s and Twenty20 Internationals. And the rest of the T20 circuit. Bat and bowl in both. Earn plenty of money.

Test cricket is my favourite form of cricket. I don’t like it when quality players quit 4 and 5 day cricket for the shorter forms. But it’s a no-brainer here. An injury prone all-rounder in his 32nd year who dominates 50 and 20 over cricket. An average of 41.49 in ODI’s with 6 tons. 155 ODI wickets at 28.84. In T20 Internationals a batting average over 30 and a bowling average of 20. A star in these forms. A white ball flat track bully. A very good red ball player who breaks down constantly an could be easily replaced.

Give up first-class cricket Watto and lead us to glory in the 2014 T20 world cup and more importantly the 2015 ODI World Cup which will be held in Australia and New Zealand.

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134

Comments

  1. Jeff Dowsing says:

    That is a compelling case you make Luke. It’s not an easy call to make – what happens this summer so far as Watson getting back and how his replacement(s) perform should inform a decisive action 2013>.

  2. Well worded Luke. Watsons injury travails are well documented, we can go back as far as the 2003 ODI World Cup in South Africa where he pulled out due to injury. In my life he is the besd Test all rounder we’ve had in Australia, me being too young to see genuine all rounders like Miller and Benaud.

    As a test all rounder, i consider Watson as being superior to the overly hyped Andrew Flintoff, but if missing test cricket allows Watson to perform at a higher level in the limited overs formats, for a longer period of time, then that’s the way to go.

    Glen!

  3. What a great idea. Concentrate on the money making parts of the game. Watto and his babe could become the Posh and Becks of world cricket. Move to the US to help set up the US 20/20 Pro League. He could star for the Cleveland Calf Catchers. The tail is firmly wagging the dog of world cricket these days.

  4. Jeff Dowsing says:

    I don’t care too much for the cash bash stuff either PB but ODI’s are no fly-by-night fad. If Watson can’t be relied upon to get to the starting blocks or last out the 5 day stuff, maybe we have to bite the bullet and use him to at least some benefit to the national side.

  5. Yes not an easy call Jeff, fully fit and firing he would be in every Test team in the world. A fit Watson would be vital in next years Ashes. But he is out more than in and I see it as disruptive to the team. Watching Hussey and Quiney bowl today reinforces the need for an all-rounder. But are we better to get another all-rounder up and going now instead of when Watson gets injured at the start of the Ashes?
    Glen- Watson is also by far the best Australian all-rounder I have seen too. Agree on Flintoff, was great in a couple of big series, and his ODI efforts pale in comparison to Watson.
    Peter- Im by no means a fan of the Franchise based T20 game either. Would rather see players play for their own state and not 4 or 5 teams around the world. But I still see T20 Internationals and ODIs as important and where he is very hard to replace. The Cleveland Calf Catchers-much better name than any IPL or Big Bash team, where were you when they picked the team names?!!

  6. Wouldn’t be surprised if Watson made this call for the selectors now…

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