Ashes 2010: Shane Watson Makeshift Opener Turned What Exactly?

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Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 53 Days Until the Ashes…

On 30 July 2009 Shane Watson returned to the Australia lineup and was moved up the order to open the batting with Simon Katich for the 3rd Ashes Test at Edgbaston. At that time, despite Watson’s unquestionable ability, few thought – both Australian and English fans alike – he’d rise to the challenge of facing the swinging red ball in English conditions. But that was what he did scoring two fifties (62 and 53) in his first game as opener. Fast forward a year and a half with the Ashes only 53 days away and Shane Watson having just scored his second century in the first test versus India in Mohali, he finds himself firmly in command of the opening position.

And the figures show just how good the Shane Watson purple patch has been…

Since moving to open the batting Watto has an average of 50.72. To put that into perspective we might like to compare that to some of the finest opening batsmen in the current generation. Virender Sehwag boasts an average of 54.18. His opening partner Gambhir’s record stands at 52.31.  Then we have the original bully boy of Australian cricket as Matthew Hayden is at 50.73. Watto’s average for the past year and a half stands above the South African captain Graeme Smith. This is the kind of company that Shane keeps and such names are testament to the kind of caliber of batter he is.

Meanwhile the bowling during this period isn’t too shabby either. That 23.7 average is pretty much on a par with the career bowling averages of Wasim Akram (23.62) and Waqar Younis (23.56). It’s also a shade better than Dennis Lillee’s average of 23.92. That’s not to say that we can put Shane Watson anywhere near the league of these great quicks. He has a knack of taking wickets rather than devastating sides. That’s for sure. But his bowling is handy despite constant injury problems in his early career.

Ever since that  day July 30th, Shane Watson has taken centre stage for Australia and never looked back. He might not always be the most likable of cricketers – an accusation often aimed at England’s Stuart Broad – but just like Stuart Broad every side in the world would love to have a cricketer prepared to give blood and sweat for their country.

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  1. says

    I make a lot of fun of Watson, but I do like him as an opener. He and Katich are working well together at the moment. Watson has worked hard to make his way as a batsman, possibly because his bowling isn’t so great. You do what you gotta do, right?

  2. David Siddall says

    Thanks for the comment Sid. So you’re not in the camp of many Aussies who, despite Watson’s form over this period, would still like Hughes to be moved up to opener and have Watson shunted down the order? Presumably at the expense of Marcus North…

  3. Allan R says

    To be honest For the 1st half of Wattos career, I thought he was a half arsed attempt by the leselctors to create a freddy of our own. Which was never going to happen. I personally didin’t think he was good enough as either a batsman or a bowlers and the selectors should have picked a better specialist bowler. When he came back into the side and opened in the ashes, I thought bugger, we’re gone. To his credit he has made me choke on those bitter tasting words. His sheer guts have got him lots of runs and apparently turned him into a regular opener, but I wonder what will happen when his form slumps. I still believe that we must have 5 bowlers in order to win a test. If watson is one of them, he should be batting lower in the order his body has been worn down with injury over the years and sureley cannot take the punishment of batting at the top and then bowling for possibly 2 – 3 days (If we’re copping some stick). The test at the moment backs that up with him only bowling a handfull of overs when hilfy has grunted through 25 odd. Not only that watson was a 140kph bowler for the most, yesterday he was lucky to reach 125kph. Batting for 7 odd hours takes it out of you and no matter gow good he might be and how much guts and pride he brings to the table his body can only take so much so we need a new opener if Watson going to bowl, which he needs to do in my opinion, you cannot win a test match unless you take 20 wickets, even if you score 1000 runs at 6 an over.


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