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Sunday December 30, 2012

Australia’s Watson wants to focus on batting in Tests

MELBOURNE: All-rounder Shane Watson is considering playing only as a batsman and will talk over his plans with the Australian selectors after next week’s third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney.

Watson will miss the final dead-rubber Sydney Test starting on Jan 3 with a calf injury which resurfaced during this week’s second Test in Melbourne.

The 31-year-old said he had felt some soreness before the match but was not rested despite Australia’s contentious policy of sidelining players considered close to the burn-out stage.

Watson has admitted he felt a niggle in his calf following the first Test in Hobart earlier this month, where he bowled 47.4 overs after swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus broke down during the game with a side strain.

“I am certainly doing some thinking about what my prospects are moving forward, with my bowling especially,” Watson told the Nine Network after Australia’s innings and 201-run victory over the Sri Lankans on Friday.

“I have to sit down with the hierarchy and work out the best way to manage things so I can put some cricket together for a period of time.”

He said he wanted to get some continuity as a batsman.

Watson missed out on his third Test century and his first hundred since October 2010 when he was dismissed for 83 in Australia’s first innings in Melbourne.

It was the 19th time Watson has failed to convert a Test half-century into three figures. He currently averages 37.03 with the bat in 38 Tests.

Cricket Australia’s high-performance chief Pat Howard said the selectors were keen to have multi-skilled players in the Australian team.

“If Shane or anybody wants to be a batsman only, well somebody else has got to be able to take up the overs,” Howard told reporters yesterday.

“There was some consideration of it (resting Watson). But it was looked at as a collective. He’s multi-skilled and can bring more than a couple of attributes to the game.”

Howard said when managing players’ workloads it mainly involved the young fast bowlers in the squad.

“Looking after them is a pretty core principle of what we’re trying to do,” Howard said. — AFP

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