An early Easter miracle: the potential (and frightening) resurrection of Shane Watson

Maybe it is the impending arrival of Easter, however the death and resurrection of Shane Watson in the last week has been one of truly miraculous proportions.

Watson is currently on his way back to India and unless the Australian physio has magic in his fingers, there’s a strong likelihood that Watson will captain the Australian side in the fourth Test starting next week.

To say this is a significant turnaround would be like saying Kerry Packer fancied a flutter on the nags.

Whilst the facts of Watson’s suspension and reaction are well documented, it is worth mentioning a couple of points:

He has actively and publically campaigned to replace one of his teammates in the opener’s position.

He has not performed with the bat over a significant period of time and cannot offer himself as a bowling alternative to his captain.

He has failed to show the leadership his captain requires of all players, let alone his vice-captain.

He has rejected the authority of the coach to manage the direction of the team.

He has shown complete disregard for the man his employers have bought in and trusted to plot the long term growth and success of the team.

He has proven to be everything the Argus report said was wrong with Australian cricket, in relation to communication, ego, ability and teamwork.

So this is a man we are considering captain the Australian Cricket side, a job that until recently we felt was on par with the highest role in the land, not just within the sporting arena.

That Watson is being considered for selection in the team at all shows the paucity of our stocks due to form and injury, especially amongst the batsmen. That he is a potential captain exposes not just our dearth of leadership options but a willingness to forgive and forget that frankly beggars belief.

The captaincy of the Australian test team is a privilege and honour, and outside of those who have held the role for significant periods, the names of the people who have filled in due to injury or unavailability include Gilchrist, Harvey and Lindwall.

I accept that Clarke has inherited a team with enormous challenges and that the glory days of world domination are well behind us. Over the last few months in losing Ponting and Hussey, he and the team have lost not just close on 250 Test appearances, nearly 20,000 Test runs and over 800 collective appearances for Australia across the three forms, but also silent and tacit leadership and wisdom that came from their commitment and experience.

More importantly, he lost two players for whom team was a mantra and support was never questioned.

There are no easy solutions should Clarke not play in the fourth Test. Haddin may not play if Wade is fit, Wade has not had captaincy experience (neither I note has Watson), Cowan did well leading Australia A but needs to focus on crease occupation and there has been a strange unwillingness to have a bowler manage the team (probably due to a fear he may actually want to bowl himself too much)

Watson is, provisionally, Vice-Captain and by rights should seamlessly move up if Clarke can’t play.

If he does though, the mockery that is the distribution of the Baggy Green that makes the dishing out of lolly bags at the end of a kid’s party look orderly, will fade compared to the insult to captains past and present when a player who barely holds his spot on form, has shown disloyalty to teammates, and arrogant disregard to coaches and employers, leads out our national team.

There are plenty of jokes around about Shane Watson at present. If he is appointed captain, the joke is on us.


About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. craig dodson says

    Excellent summary of the situation at hand Sean. As a cricket supporter in my mid 30s all i’ve ever known was success and strong leaders (Border, Taylor, Waugh et al) so it has been a bitter pill to swallow the last few years. We had a golden run for so many years. The attitude and arrogance of some of the current players is staggering, I’d love to see half of then go back in time and face Ambrose and Walsh and see how good they really are. I’ll get off my high horse now!

  2. I wasn’t a fan of the way George Bailey was fast tracked without international experience to captain Australia in T20 but his batting at ODI and longer forms of cricket would almost have him a sound choice to lead the team wouldn’t it?

    (Mind you the currently in form Ponting would probably be the best option but that ship has sailed)

  3. Dave Nadel says

    Spot on about Watson, Sean. If Clarke is unfit to play and Wade has recovered from his injury it would seem to me that the obvious solution is to select Hadden as a batsman and as acting-Captain. Wade returns as keeper. Having said that, if Tim Payne performs up to his usual standard with the gloves in the Sheffield Shield final, consideration should be given to making Payne our number one keeper for the Ashes series.

  4. After his short period in the wilderness, and his witnessing of the miracle birth (induced to fit in with spousal plausability needs) Watto rides into Delhi on his donkey. As Messiah he promises to raise the dead (his own career) and smite the lame (MJC).
    You all know the story “he’s not the Messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy”. Hangs around for a few weeks making a lot of promises, then disappears for a few thousand years.
    I hope.

  5. It is unfortunate for him, but Shane Watson is probably the most disliked
    (and definitely the most pilloried) figure in Australian cricket. When he
    boarded that plane back to Sydney, I believed he was saying farewell to
    Test cricket. Looks like I was incorrect.
    I will never understand how he was continually permitted to campaign for
    a return to the Test team as an opener. He should have been suspended
    there and then.

    re Tim Paine: I am a huge fan but he needs to make more runs. In the most
    recent Shield game, he was batting at number #8 !

  6. Dave Nadel says

    I don’t think teams should rely on wicket keepers to make runs. Prior to Rod Marsh very few Australian keepers could bat. If you get someone like Adam Gilchrist who was a brilliant batsman and a competent keeper that is a bonus, but since Gilchrist Australian selectors are choosing keepers on their batting ability. Both Haddin and Wade are better batsmen than they are keepers. I’d like to see Paine given a chance. Besides, if we have bowlers who bat as well as Johnson and maybe even Starc, then the keeper doesn’t have to bat at seven.

  7. Sean your last two sentences say it all. In a summer where Cricket Australia and the National Selection Panel have regulary insulted us, the Australian cricket public, making Watson captain for the 4th Test would be the ultimate insult.
    @#*&% I hope Clarke is fit enough to play!

  8. I don’t want to knock Watson – too few really good players are around, so I’m loath to put the knife in to a genuine talent. My faith has been shaken but not snapped yet.
    I have been annoyed by a lot of players’ selection comments over recent years. It is not confined to him. Even Ed Cowan – “sensible” in most minds – has been guilty – and now he is exposed as a dobber for Watto!!
    Players play. Selectors select. Scribes write crap.
    Imagine how opposition coaches must giggle at the rabble.

  9. If Shane Watson is one of the 6 best batsmen in the country then I must be 7th. A flat track bully with no back foot who learnt to bat against a bowling machine. A whining, insular Gen Y look at me to boot,

    This is test cricket. Play your best XI. He is not in it.

  10. Sad day for Test cricket. So sad. When-the-dog-died-in-Marley-&-Me sad.

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