Home > Features >

Australia must chalk out strategy to prolong injury-prone Shane Watson’s career

Australia have found James Faulkner as an ideal replacement for Shane Watson (above) remains a crucial part of the squad with an eye on the 2015 World Cup © Getty Images
Australia may have found James Faulkner as an ideal replacement for Shane Watson (above) but Watson remains a crucial part of the squad with an eye on the 2015 World Cup © Getty Images

Shane Watson has been given an extended rest of three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against England. While the star all-rounder would be looking forward to a much-needed break after a tough Ashes 2013-14 series, it becomes imperative for Australia to have a strategy in place for the injury-prone all-rounder. Devarchit Varma has more…

On the first day of the Boxing Day Test match at Melbourne, Shane Watson gave Australia an injury scare when he walked off the field having suffered soreness in groin. The all-rounder did play a critical part in the rest of the game and continued to feature in all the remaining Tests. But, his vulnerability to injuries and the past record of having missed many games for Australia must be paid heed to and the team management must plan a strategy to keep Watson on the field and safe from injuries.

It seems to be a wise decision made by the Australian camp to rest Watson for the three ODIs and bring him in for the final on January 26 at the Adelaide Oval, in order to give him some match practice ahead of the tough tour against South Africa next month. Australia must mastermind the optimum use of Watson, as the three-match T20 series that follows the ODIs again would add the workload on the all-rounder. Watson’s presence is a boon for Australia in many ways. He can open the innings when needed and can also play the role of a solid middle-order batsman in the lower order puts Watson much above any of his competitors for the post in the Australian line-up.

Watson will continue to remain a key player for Australia in the years to come. The 32-year-old fits in well in the rejuvenated Australian camp and is enjoying a successful run under the new coach, Darren Lehmann and captaincy of Michael Clarke. The incidents of past one year wherein he stood down as the vice-captain after being suspended for a Test match on India tour seems to be a thing of distant past and the current dressing room atmosphere allows him to express himself completely and not get bogged down by the pressure of results.

Australia must not only think about how to utilise the all-rounder in the best possible manner, but also how to prolong his international career. Fitness is the only issue that has provided roadblocks in Watson’s career and the new team of Lehmann and Clarke faces the challenge of making the optimum use of Watson. The work that was done behind the scenes by team physio Alex Kountouris and team doctor Peter Brukner was commendable and they would aim to continue in the similar passion.

Watson is likely to take the captaincy role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Rajasthan Royals, and the amount of cricket that he will be playing over the course of the next two months is something that the Australian camp must take into account.

The year 2014 is a crucial one for Australia, as the Ashes 2013-14 win has put them back on the path to progress and they would not like to waste the opportunity to get back to winning ways. Australia will be facing South Africa, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and India in bilateral series and with the ICC World Cup 2015 being just a year away, the availability of all key members will be a must.

In Watson’s absence, Australia may have recalled Daniel Christian for the ODIs against England, who has been impressive in the domestic circuit, but in James Faulkner they have a ready replacement. Faulkner’s rise in the international arena and his exploits in the IPL makes him an ideal replacement for Watson.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

Live Cricket Score Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Day 2 — All matches: Yuvraj Singh scores 2nd century in his 2nd Ranji game this season

Shahid Afridi, please do not take the innocence away from cricket

South Africa vs West Indies 2014-15: Is Jason Holder a captain or a stooge?

Can Eoin Morgan change England’s limited-overs fortunes?

Australia India Interviews Moments in history Ricky Ponting

India tour of Australia: BCCI allows wives to accompany cricketers on tour

Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand 2014-15: Lasith Malinga set for ODI series return

WICB accused by attorney of victimising Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, and Kieron Pollard

Ranji Trophy 2014-15: Yuvraj Singh scores back to back hundreds in Ranji Trophy

BCCI takes steps to curb spot-fixing in domestic games

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

ICC World Cup 2015: Will India’s trend of performing against expectations continue?

Moin Khan: Pakistan must carry momentum in ICC World Cup 2015

West Indies tour of South Africa 2014-15: One-sided encounters may suck interest out of series

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Can Australia make it 12 wins in a row at home?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here