| Ponting: Encouraging Watson
Sydney: Australian one-day captain Ricky Ponting has urged Shane Watson to ignore the commotion surrounding Steve Waugh so he can nail the allrounder’s position in time for the World Cup.
Coach John Buchanan however said the national selectors might not pick an allrounder at all for the Cup defence in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya leaving Watson and Waugh out of the picture.
The push for Waugh to be reinstated in the one-day side has placed pressure on Watson heading into Australia’s opening match of the triangular series against England on Friday.
Waugh was left out of the preliminary 30-man squad for next February-March’s World Cup but can still battle his way into the final 15-man squad depending on performance.
The Test captain lost a big opportunity to press his claim as allrounder as Tuesday’s warm-up game between New South Wales and Australia was washed out without a ball being bowled.
Asked if Watson felt under added pressure because of the public support for the 37-year-old Waugh, Ponting said: “I haven’t spoken to him about it but I wouldn’t have thought so. If he starts thinking about things other than his own game then he will start to struggle.
“We’ve all been there and done that before, where we’ve let other little things get to us. I wouldn’t think it would be bothering him too much.”
Watson’s 15 games for Australia since his debut in March have produced 202 runs at 33.66 and eight wickets at 46.25.
“He’s the sort of guy that if he’s not happy with things, he’ll stay in the nets to the end, working on his throwing,” Ponting said. “The more cricket he plays at this level the more he’ll learn and the more he’ll keep improving so let’s just hope he does that through this series.”
“Selectors are not going to pick an allrounder just for the sake of it,” Buchanan said. “At this stage we are short of that quality allrounder and I’m not sure it will surface when the final squad is announced.”