Watson for #6, says Border

Shane Watson has always been a figure of contrasting views in Australian cricket. Some view him as a future star with both bat and ball, while others see him as a failed attempt to replicate Andrew Flintoff for the Australian team.

Nevertheless, in the last 12 months Watson’s international performances in one day cricket have improved drastically, and Allan Border has stamped his approval on Watson to bat at 6 in the Ashes, playing as an all-rounder. “If he can get in there with both bat and ball that’s the ideal scenario,” Border said. “It makes the balance of the side a lot better.”

Watson was selected on and off for several seasons in the one day side based mainly on potential, but in the last 12 months he has began to justify his position on a consistent basis. Watson was man of the series in the Super Series ODIs against the World XI last October, and completed a strong DLF Cup earlier this month in Malaysia. Watson was Australia’s second highest wicket taker with 7, and also made his highest ODI score of 79 opening the batting in the second match.

Watson’s main competetion for the number six position is Michael Clarke, who also had a strong DLF Cup. Clarke averages just 36 from 22 test appearances, despite a century on debut, and the fact that Watson has yet to be tried extensively in the long form of the game may win him the position. Watson has played just three test matches, with the last being cut short by injury, and has just two wickets and a highest score of 31.

The first Ashes test commences on the 23rd of November in Brisbane.

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