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)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo


Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)


Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos


AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes Phil Hughes head injury South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Phillip Hughes passes away: India-Australia 1st Test in doubt

India tour game against CA XI cancelled: Report

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 3rd Test at Sharjah: Day 2 called off after Phillip Hughes’ death

Phillip Hughes death: Universal sorrow as cricket grounds silent

Phillip Hughes’ death: Indian team expresses condolences

IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy: When Will the Supreme Court make the whole Mudgal report public?

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Moeen Ali becomes third fastest centurion for England in ODIs

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Health benefits of camphor (karpur)

9 signs you have vitamin A deficiency

Sonakshi Sinha: If I and Arjun watch a film together, it doesn’t mean we are together!

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

Phillip Hughes dead: Michael Clarke reads out emotional message by family – Watch Full Video

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

Gautam Gulati Birthday Special: Bollywood calling for the Bigg Boss 8 contestant?

Does Sonakshi Sinha have more screen time than Anushka Shetty in Rajinikanth’s Lingaa?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here