| Shane Watson. (Getty Images) |
Melbourne: Shane Watson’s return to Test cricket during the upcoming four-Test series against India will be tough as he faces competition from a much bigger pool of players by deciding to play as a batsman rather than an all-rounder, Australia captain Michael Clarke said.
Watson, who was named the T20 International Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal ceremony on Monday, is set to make a comeback in international cricket as a batsman in the third ODI against West Indies at Canberra on Wednesday after spending a month on the sidelines due to a calf injury.
One of the best all-rounders, Watson has decided not to bowl for the time being as it has typically been his bowling that has caused many injury problems for the 31-year-old over the years.
Clarke believes Watson is as good as any player in the world and said his team will help him get back to his best.
“I don’t think anybody walks into the Australian cricket team. It’s about performance, and the strength of Shane is that he’s performed over a period of time, in all three forms of the game,” Clarke said.
“He’s vice-captain of the team and it will be great to have Watto back. But his comeback in the Test side won’t be easy.
“As I've said to Watto, while he's not bowling he goes into a much bigger pool of players ... the pool of batsmen is much bigger than the pool of all-rounders in Australian cricket at the moment.
“But Shane knows if he's at his best, he's as good as any player in the world, let alone in the Australian team. Our goal as a team is to help Watto get back to his best,” he added.
Watson has always been plagued by injuries and last summer was no different as he missed all of the 2011-12 home Tests with calf and hamstring problems and managed only three of the six played this season.
He has batted in many positions in the past two years, right as an opener in November 2011 on the tour of South Africa, to filling in the No.3 spot and then the No.4 slot which was vacated by Ricky Ponting in December. On his comeback, Watson knows he can't be a chooser but he still desires to return to the opening position in Test cricket at some point.