Wat­son’s stocks con­tinue to climb with vice- cap­taincy role

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

SHANE Wat­son has con­tin­ued his in­cred­i­ble rise in Aus­tralian cricket by be­ing named vice-cap­tain and a po­ten­tial cap­tain-in-wait­ing.

Barely two years since he was still try­ing to get his body right and es­tab­lish a place in the side, Wat­son is now pos­si­bly the most valu­able player in the na­tional setup. Yes­ter­day he was named Michael Clarke’s deputy in the Test and one-day sides, while he will also vice-cap­tain the Twenty20 team be­hind Cameron White.

‘‘ It re­ally has been an amaz­ing cou­ple of years,’’ Wat­son said along­side Clarke in Syd­ney. ‘‘ It’s some­thing that I never re­ally thought would be com­ing my way when I re­ally strug­gled to get on the field.

‘‘ For things to come to­gether now and to be the vice-cap­tain of the Aus­tralian cricket team is still hard for me to get my head around. Just to play with the team and be able to con­trib­ute the way that I have is some­thing I never thought would come about. ‘‘ I’m re­ally ex­cited about this new role.’’ Wat­son’s litany of fit­ness prob­lems, that in­cluded back stress frac­tures, ham­string strains, hip com­plaints, a dis­lo­cated shoul­der and food poi­son­ing, now seem a dis­tant mem­ory for the burly 29-year- old. He is en­trenched at the top of the bat­ting or­der and a valu­able back-up pace­man, giv­ing se­lec­tors the all­rounder they’ve de­sired ever since Andrew Flintoff de­stroyed the Aus­tralians in the 2005 Ashes se­ries.

Af­ter win­ning the Al­lan Bor­der Medal in 2010, Wat­son swept the board this year, win­ning the medal again along with the Test and one-day player of the year awards. Wat­son said his first as­sign­ment was with the bat: ‘‘ That’s my big­gest task more than any­thing, more than the vice­cap­tain, turn­ing my fifties into some big­ger scores.’’

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