Watson may have secured No 6James Nixon |
Shane Watson looks likely to fill the number six batting spot for the Ashes ahead of Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds.
The Australian selectors have been impressed by Watson’s performances for Queensland and Australia A recently, and feel with McGrath just returning to action, a fifth bowler will be needed.
Watson ended the Pura Cup season earlier this year with a double century in the final, and followed it up with a 161 not out and 63 not out in a first-class match against Pakistan A in the Top End Series recently.
Watson has been spending time with Troy Cooley at the Centre of Excellence and has shown signs of significant improvement with his bowling as well according to reports.
Watson told the Sydney Morning Herald at Australia’s bootcamp in Queensland: “In my bowling, for example, I have to stop trying to be Brett Lee and just be me. I feel now like I can do my job with a clearer mind. Instead of trying to bowl 150kmh, I have worked on moving the ball a little more and methods of chipping away at a batsman with Troy.”
“I think people will now notice a difference in the way I bat as well. I have become quite robotic in my batting over the last few years, which has been effective but it hasn’t been my natural self. We have just worked on a few things with my stance and my set-up. I am feeling much more at ease. I am timing the ball rather than relying on brute force.”
“In the last six months to a year I have started to build up a lot of confidence in myself. It isn’t easy coming into that side with some of the best players Australia has ever seen. As a young bloke coming in, you can’t just play up to their standards. You have to gradually improve. I am more confident in myself now. Now I just hope the body will let me have a good run at it.”
With the number six spot the only one in the air leading up to the Ashes and Watson seemingly earmarked for it, it looks like a starting lineup for the first Test in Brisbane on 23rd November of Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Stuart Clarke and Glenn McGrath.