Watson urged to ditch bowling

TO CEMENT his spot as Australia’s accidental Test opener, Ipswich’s Shane Watson will need to seriously consider focusing solely on his batting and leave his medium pacers for the shorter form of the game.

That’s the view of one-day specialist Michael Bevan, who was putting Silkstone State School students through their paces as part of the Australian Cricket Association Masters tour yesterday.

Long seen as Australia’s next great all-rounder, a series of back, knee and calf injuries have hampered the 28-year-old Watson’s development.

That was until this year’s Ashes series.

A shock replacement for young gun Phillip Hughes in the third Test, Watson made the most of his chance at the top of the order with three half-centuries.

At the same time his bowling was largely ineffectual against England.

There’s no doubt the Brothers junior will be opening the innings when Australia host the West Indies at the Gabba next month, but Bevan believes the responsibility at the top of the order may force Watson’s hand when it comes to his bowling.

“It’s really a decision for him to make,” Bevan said.

“I guess it will depend on if he keeps getting injured with his bowling ... I guess then it’s holding him back.

“He’s got a position in the top order as an out and out batsman, (so) he may need to make a decision some stage down the track.

“From his point of view he wants to make sure he gives himself the chance of playing as much Test cricket as possible.”

Bevan said Watson’s current run of success was just reward for one of the unluckiest players in the country when it comes to injuries.

“He’s always had a good technique, he’s always had a good attitude and a lot of talent and has been a hard worker,” he said.

“Now he’s seeing the fruits of his labour pay off.”

The affable left-hander believes the likes of Watson, middle order batsman Callum Ferguson and all-rounder Cameron White can steer Australia in the right direction heading into the 2011 World Cup.

“To come back really strongly in the one-day series against England and making the final of the Champions Trophy is a great effort,” Bevan said.

“They’re giving guys opportunities to be leaders heading into the next World Cup.”

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