Shane Watson returns for remaining ODIs

Last updated 13:06 04/02/2013

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Cricket Australia have decided to bring Shane Watson back as an opening batsman in the remaining one-dayers against the West Indies instead of sending him over to India early.

Vice-captain Watson will make his international return from injury in the third ODI on Wednesday in Canberra after being recalled to the Australian squad for the next fixtures in place of Usman Khawaja.

The injury-prone Watson has played a Sydney club game and an interstate one-dayer as he continues his comeback from an ongoing calf muscle problem.

Cricket Australia also announced on Monday that Australia's players will depart for their India tour in three separate groups ahead of the first of two tour matches starting on February 12 in Chennai.

Khawaja is the only current member of the ODI team down to leave with the initial group on February 7, with a host of big names to wait until February 11 to fly out.

Khawaja, Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith will fly to India on February 7 and get the maximum chance to prepare in Indian conditions.

After playing the fourth ODI in Sydney on Friday, ODI stars Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade and David Warner will then depart on February 9.

By that time, Warner is expected to have recovered from his thumb injury.

Then finally, Michael Clarke, Watson, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc, Phillip Hughes and Mitchell Johnson will fly on the 11th, the day after the fifth and final ODI is completed on Sunday.

National selector John Inverarity said Watson would replace Khawaja in the 13-man ODI squad at Manuka Oval on Wednesday and at the SCG on Friday.

Inverarity said selectors had tried to find the right balance for players in choosing when members of the 17-man Indian Test squad would fly out.

"Shane Watson comes back into the squad against West Indies as an opening batsman. Shane has recovered from his injury and we look forward to seeing him get back to his best," Inverarity said.

"The First Test in Chennai is scheduled for 22-26 February. The principal warm-up fixture, a three-day game, will take place 16-18 February and another fixture will be held on 12-13 February, both in Chennai.

"(The departure plans) are subject to minor alterations."

Inverarity announced 19-year-old left-arm spin bowler Ashton Agar would accompany the players departing on February 9. 

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- AAP

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