Saturday, September 16, 2006

All-rounder Shane Watson surprised today as he opened the batting against India in Kuala Lumpur and made his highest one-day score of 79 in only 74 balls.
Watson struck 10 fours and 2 sixes as he helped Australia post 244 all out. The question England have to ask is whether or not this is a sign that the Aussies are planning on playing a 5 man bowling attack in this winters Ashes. Watson has made 3 previous appearances in the baggy green and dissappointed averaging 20 with the bat and only taking 2 wickets at over 60 runs a piece.
Twenty-five year old Queensland all rounder Watson, who played a stint in the County Championship with Hampshire last season, bowled with pace and accuracy during the 2005 one-day series against England. He never really looked like he could cut the mustard at the highest level with the bat however, and was overlooked by Australia for the final test at the Oval that saw England take the series 2-1. Whilst his countrymen were toiling in South London, Watson struck a double-hundred in the County Championship for Hampshire.
Watson is Australia's only bona-fide all-rounder. If the Aussies decide to slot him in the test side at number 6 or 7 this would allow them to play either their two leg spinners or a four pronged pace attack. It might be the case that the Aussies are experimenting for the coming world cup in the West Indies next year however and in any case Watson has a lot of work to do in order to earn a test recall.
Australia rested Nathan Bracken today and called up another 25 year old Queensland man, left arm paceman Mitchell Johnson. Before rain stopped play at Kuala Lumpur Johnson had India in serious trouble, having taken 4-11 off 4 overs, his victims including Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. No doubt one to watch throughout the ICC Champions Trophy, especially if you are an England batsman.

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