Days after being unfit to roll his arm over at all Shane Watson is readying himself to take up the slack and contribute even more with the ball than he usually would in Perth to assist tired Australian pacemen Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
An injury scratching for the first two Tests against South Africa the all-rounder and vice-captain all of sudden is a key bowling asset, particularly if Australia decide to enter Friday’s third and final Test at the WACA with only three fast bowlers.
Watson, missing with a calf strain in Brisbane and Adelaide, returned to bowling in the training nets during the second Test and sent down six overs in practice on Tuesday before flying to Perth. Given the physical ordeals Siddle in particular and Hilfenhaus put themselves through in the Adelaide draw Watson is prepared to be more than simply a support act for captain Michael Clarke if the recuperating pair of fast bowlers are retained.
“Absolutely, I understand that could be a possibility and at the moment that’s the biggest challenge for Ben and Peter for their mammoth effort in second innings to be able to freshen up as quick as they can,” Watson said.
“I do understand there will be a possibility of me bowling as many overs as I need to to be able to help the team hopefully win, but in the end my body is on the condition to be able to do it, so I’m certainly fresh over the past couple of weeks compared to some of the other guys that have been out there so my body should be right.
“I’m certainly going to be up to bowling as many overs as Michael wants and probably the normal sort of workload really that I bowl in a Test match, things have progressed really well over the past week so ready to go.”
Barring any last-minute mishaps the series decider – which doubles as a unofficial world championship play-off, with the winner to walk away as the world No.1 – will be Watson’s first Test at home since the forgettable Ashes of 2010/11.
A hamstring tear, then a more serious calf injury, put a line through him for the entire home calendar against New Zealand and India last summer. His latest setback has not proved as problematic, yet the 31-year-old has still be the subject of calls for him to give bowling away.
Watson, however, is not straying from his long-term stance on the subject. “Not unless something goes very horribly wrong, I wouldn’t want to give up on bowling,” he said. “[It’s] one part I love of the game – I know it puts more pressure on my body to be able to play consistently but it’s something I just love so much and have loved doing since I was an all-rounder since I was a young kid. That’s the ultimate enjoyment for me is to play as an all-rounder. Mentally, the injury setbacks are frustrating at times, but it doesn’t take away the love of being able to contribute with bat and ball.”
Watson insists there is no relationship between his bowling output and where he lines up in the batting order. The additional rest time since his move from opener has been beneficial, too, he argues. “The amount of overs compared to where I bat I don’t think they have an correlation at all,” he said. “In the end when I was opening the amount of overs I bowl was going to be similar to me batting at three anyway…more so batting at No.3 gives me a bit more opportunity to be able to freshen up mentally or physically.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.