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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