Sport

Shane Watson's second Test chances fade

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson.
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. Sarah Harvey

CAN'T bowl, won't play. That's the scenario facing Shane Watson ahead of Thursday's second Test with South Africa in Adelaide.

The all-rounder, who missed the drawn first Test at the Gabba last week with a calf strain, had a training session at the Adelaide Oval yesterday where he batted in the nets, walked laps and took part in light fielding drills.

He did not bowl, however, and said he would not be able to do so if selected to face the Proteas.

"Bowling is out at this point in time," Watson said.

The 31-year-old has not given up on playing as a specialist batsman but with Australia's high-performance manager Pat Howard last week suggesting Watson would not be considered if he could not bowl, it would appear the home side will again go with Victorian Rob Quiney at No.3.

There were mixed messages when chairman of selectors John Inverarity announced the 13-man squad last Friday and said Watson would be considered purely on his merits as a batsman, but needed to show he was physically capable of playing a long innings.

Watson said he was confident in his own ability to bat in the top six, but whatever way the selectors went he would accept the decision.

"For me it's certainly not the end of the world if I don't get picked," he said.

"I'm just excited to be around the group and get back to batting in the nets and get back to running around, because that's what I love doing."

The Queenslander said he was ready to up the intensity in training, but also needed to make sure he was absolutely right.

"I need to make sure I am ready to handle a Test match - a calf muscle injury is an injury you can't hide from," he said.

"I know how important this match is to everyone involved and the viewing public as well, so I need to make sure I am 100% to give myself the best chance of getting through the Test without stirring it up again ... that would be the worst-case scenario."

Meanwhile, South African bowler Morne Morkel promised the Proteas would target Australian captain Michael Clarke with some short-pitched bowling in Adelaide.

Morkel said astute use of the short ball, and denying Clarke scoring singles, would feature in the planning.

"Any batsmen struggles a bit at first with the short ball, so we will probably come up with game plans and start working on those sort of things," he said.

"Definitely that is a plan to always use a short ball - you have got two short balls an over so why not use it.

"We just need to use it in a clever way and see how we go from there."

Topics:  cricket, proteas, shane watson, south africa cricket




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