Aussies rule out playing Watson as a batsman

Last updated 19:32 14/11/2012
Shane Watson top scored in Australia's successful second innings run chase in winning the first test against the West Indies in Bridgetown.
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IN DOUBT: Shane Watson must prove his bowling as well as his batting fitness before he will be considered for selection in the Australian test team to face South Africa.

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Star allrounder Shane Watson looks an unlikely starter for the second test against South Africa with Cricket Australia not to consider him as a specialist batsman for the rest of the series.

Watson is battling to overcome a calf strain ahead of the Adelaide Oval test starting on Thursday week, but will only be picked if he can also bowl his medium-pacers.

Cricket Australia team performance manager Pat Howard has revealed the national selection panel want the Australian vice-captain to prove his fitness to play as an allrounder before considering him to play the Proteas in the three-test series.

"Very much for Adelaide, they (selectors) are looking at his bowling and his fitness around bowling to see if he is capable of doing both," Howard said on Wednesday.

That makes Watson's selection for the second test looking highly unlikely as the squad will reassemble in Adelaide on Sunday.

He was replaced in the first test side by Victorian left-hander Rob Quiney who was forced to bowl seven overs of his part-time medium-pacers to help Australia get through the overs as South Africa made 450 in their first innings.

Cricket Australia has also knocked back a NSW request for Watson to make his playing return in Sunday's interstate one-day clash with Victoria.

The 31-year-old has batted in the nets twice this week and is due to return to bowling practice on Friday but still has plenty of work to do to prove his fitness.

"Shane is progressing and look, if the test match is tomorrow, he wouldn't play," Howard admitted.

"By Sunday, we'll have a much better indication where he's at.

"We'll see how he's going (but at the moment) it's hard to tell."

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