Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Shane Watson's craving for opening spot in Oz Test team puts Cowan under pressure

Australia vice-captain Shane Watson's preference to retain his opening spot in the Test team has put pressure on incumbent opener Ed Cowan, whose form will come under more scrutiny.

Watson made it known in an interview on Monday that his first choice was to return from injury as an opening batsman, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The all rounder's decision to give his body a break from bowling is a huge risk because he must validate his position as a specialist batsman, and he knows that his best chance is against the new ball, where he has had the most success in Tests, the paper said.

Watson had said in the interview that he would love to open for Australia in Test cricket and all forms of game.

Watson said he has been comfortable batting down the order in Test, but added that his preference would always be to open the batting and face the new ball.

Watson's promotion of himself as an opener has raised eyebrows because it increases the scrutiny of Cowan who began the summer with a century against South Africa and is valued within the team, however, two half-centuries in his following nine innings did not cement his spot, the paper reported.

But Watson needs to show his fitness and his century-making ability in two Sheffield Shield games for NSW to break back into the team for India.

Watson averages 44 as an opener but his past two years at Test level have been much less prolific. (ANI)

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