The Ashes: Shane Watson ready to go, says Brad Haddin

Shane Watson who is slated in the Australian team as an all-rounder, has been found wanting with both bat and ball in the current Ashes series.

Updated: August 20, 2013 12:57 IST
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Bangalore: Brad Haddin, the Australian wicketkeeper, is confident allrounder Shane Watson will be fit for this week's fifth and final Ashes Test against England at The Oval in London, he said on Monday (August 19).

Watson, the right-hand batsman who also bowls right-arm medium pace, was forced off the field midway through an over by a groin injury on the third day of the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street.

But he did return on the fourth and, as it turned out, final day, only to be dismissed in familiar fashion when he was lbw as Australia collapsed from 147 for 1 to 224 all out and a 74-run defeat as England took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.

However, Watson has since trained well and Haddin told a news conference at The Oval: "He's been bowling today and came through that all right, and he did all the running unassisted which is a good sign. We'll see how he pulls up tomorrow (Tuesday) but he's looking 100% percent to go."

Watson has struggled with the bat this series, scoring just one 50 while averaging 27, although his tight bowling has seen him become a handy back-up to Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, the fast bowlers.

Haddin, also the Australian vice-captain, has a chance to break Rod Marsh's world record for most dismissals in a series and has expressed a desire to play on until the 2015 World Cup.

Haddin, 35, currently has 25 catches from four Tests this series, and needs just three dismissals at The Oval to join Marsh and four to break his record, which has stood since the 1982-83 Ashes.

Haddin, the New South Wales gloveman, was unaware of the pending milestone, praising the consistency of the bowlers for getting him close. Haddin also made it clear the back-to-back Ashes series wouldn't be his swansong and says he hopes to play on until he's at least 37.

Marsh retired from Test cricket at 36 and Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist at 35. If Haddin still plays Test cricket two years on, he will be Australia's oldest wicketkeeper since Hammy Love made a one-off appearance in 1933.

"I think I've still got a lot of cricket left in me now and to the 2015 World Cup. So I'm keen to play there," he said. "I wasn't aware of that (record) at all. I'd take that back for a win.

"You don't play for them. When they come along, it's a nice achievement but I'd take a few wins over that. When you tick those milestones off on the way, it's obviously flattering but it's also pretty hollow if you don't win any cricket games. From that point of view, I'd love to win this one moving forward to Australia."

Haddin had a poor keeping performance at Lord's, with a missed chance of Joe Root in the second innings when the England batsman was on 8, costing Australia dearly. Root went on to make 180 after England lost three quick wickets for 30 runs.

In contrast, he had a stunning match at Old Trafford, where he smashed 65 not out and took a spectacular catch off Siddle.

Haddin said he was happy with his own form. "You've still got to perform, you've still got to challenge yourself to get better," he said. "My batting feels in a good place. I feel comfortable with where my keeping is at, it's felt especially good the last couple of games. It wasn't where I wanted it to be after Lord's."

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