Sydney: Shane Watson is considering playing as a specialist batsman and will discuss his plans with the Australian selectors after the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney starting on January 3.
Watson will miss the final dead-rubber Sydney Test with a calf injury which resurfaced during the second Test in Melbourne. Watson admitted to have felt a niggle in his calf following the first Test in Hobart, where he bowled 47.4 overs after Ben Hilfenhaus broke down during the game with a side strain. Watson, however, was not rested despite Australia’s contentious policy of sidelining players considered close to the burn-out stage.
"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 Sri Lanka in Melbourne on Friday (December 28). "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."
Watson expressed a desire to get some continuity as a batsman. He had 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 had failed to convert a Test half-century into three figures. He currently averages 37.03 with the bat in 38 Tests.
Pat Howard, Cricket Australia’s high-performance chief, 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 said on Saturday. "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," said Howard on Australia’s decision to rest Mitchell Starc from the Melbourne Test without any apparent injury concerns.
Glenn Maxwell, the uncapped Victoria allrounder has been named in Australia’s 13-man squad for the Sydney Test in place of Watson.