Watson wants top spot

2012-01-31 14:29
Shane Watson (Gallo)

Sydney - Australia all-rounder Shane Watson is hoping to be fully fit in the next few weeks and would prefer to remain a top order batsman for his country.

Australia's Player of the Year for the last two seasons, was forced to watch from the sidelines as his erstwhile team-mates hammered India 4-0 in a Test series.

The hamstring and calf injuries he sustained on the tour of South Africa last year also kept him out of the one-day squad for the upcoming Tri-series against India and Sri Lanka.

The 30-year-old Watson, who said it had been a "frustrating" few months, said he would be happy to "fit in" wherever he was asked but would prefer to continue to open the batting and bowl more sparingly.

Michael Clarke, who replaced Ricky Ponting as Australia captain last year, initially used Watson as one of his main strike bowlers, giving him a heavier workload.

"Physically up until just recently, I was able to open the batting and bowl," Watson told TV show Inside Cricket. "The difference between Ricky and Michael is the way they use me as a bowler.

"I would prefer to definitely continue to bat high in the order and keep an eye on my bowling workloads.

"But there's going to be times and situations in a game where that goes all out the window.

"It's actually doing what you have to do to be able to win the game."

The emergence of young quick bowling talents Pat Cummins and James Pattinson as well as the resurgence of Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus, who shared 50 wickets against India, would seem to make Watson expendable as a strike bowler.

The opening batting partnership of David Warner and Ed Cowan flourished in the Perth Test against India, where they put together a stand of 214, but was certainly not the finished article.

Number three Shaun Marsh had a torrid series against India - making just 17 runs from six innings - and has been dropped for the one-day series.

Although there would therefore seem to be room at the top of order, coach Mickey Arthur is known to favour a conventional all rounder in the side while Clarke said it was by no means certain that Watson would resume his test career as an opener.

"Shane is the vice-captain of the team when he's fully fit so I'm pretty sure when he's fit, he'll come back into the team, but we'll have to assess it then," Clarke said after the fourth test in Adelaide.

"When Watto will be fit, we really don't know, so we'll have to wait and see."

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