Shane Watson confident of playing 1st Ashes 2013-14 Test; unsure of bowling

Shane Watson scored a century in the fifth Test of the 2013 Ashes series in England at The Oval © Getty Images

Brisbane: Nov 17, 2013

Australia‘s Shane Watson said on Saturday he was confident of playing in next week’s Ashes 2013-14 series opener against England but was unsure whether he would be able to bowl.

Watson completed light running drills before another lengthy batting nets session on Saturday as he recovers from a hamstring injury ahead of the first Gabba Test starting on Thursday.

The all-rounder said he held out hope that he could bowl in Brisbane but would await the opinion of team doctor and former Liverpool FC physiotherapist Peter Brukner, who arrived on Saturday.

“He has certainly given me great advice over the last six months especially with my body,” the injury-plagued Watson told reporters.

“I am certainly looking forward to having a chat with him and seeing his perspective. I am confident I will be there as a batsman. To play as a bowler would be an ideal scenario.

“From previous experiences I will err on the side of caution. But if my body is right to go that’s what I will be doing (bowling).”

But team bowling coach Craig McDermott was not too sure about Watson’s chances of bowling if he played in the Gabba Test.

“We will wait until the day before the game to see where he is with his bowling. But he hasn’t bowled so far. To rip him straight into a Test match would be pretty difficult at this stage,” McDermott said.

Hamstring injuries have been common for the former vice-captain — he missed the 2006-07 Ashes campaign with one — and there has always been a question over how to balance his workload as an all-rounder.

Watson, 32, has played in 46 Tests, scoring 2,998 runs at 36.12 and taking 64 wickets at 31.92.

McDermott was unconcerned at the prospect of not using Watson in his attack after watching left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson tear into the Brisbane nets over the past two days.

McDermott was so impressed he hinted the once erratic quick so easily influenced by England’s Barmy Army fans’ taunts was likely to be thrown the new ball in his first Test since March.

“I think there’s a good chance he will if he can use it from a swing perspective — 155 kilometres per hour (96 mile per hour) in-swingers are a handful for anyone,” he said.

“And going away to the left-handers he will be tough to play. I like where Mitchell is at the moment from an attitude or head space point of view and his pace and seam position.

“This is the best Mitchell has been bowling in a long time — and fast. From a balance point of view I couldn’t be happier.”