NOT NECESSARILY THE END FOR WATTO
AUSTRAIAN coach Darren Lehmann says Shane Watson’s axing for the second Test isn’t the end of his international career.
Watson, 34, was dumped for Mitchell Marsh after 18 months of disappointment at Test level, and there is a feeling there may be no way back now for him.
However, Lehmann has refused to close the Test door on Watson.
He said Watson was in control of his own destiny, the only problem is the veteran all-rounder will have only limited opportunities to rediscover lost touch.
Lehmann said batting form had cost Watson — the fallen star hasn’t made a hundred since the 2013-14 Ashes series, and only four in his underachieving Test career.
“Obviously Shane has been a little bit disappointing with his runs and it’s a tight call,” Lehmann said.
“He’s been an experienced player for us. Mitch Marsh has done everything we could ask for behind scenes and first two tour games he’s in good form (scoring two hundreds).
“It was a tight call first Test and we went with experience. This Test we’ve gone with Mitch Marsh.
“It’s a tough call on Shane but I’m sure he’s got plenty of cricket left in him.”
Lehmann said Watson would get an immediate chance to put performance on the board in Australia’s next tour game against Derbyshire that precedes the third Test.
“I think it’s a case of him getting back and we’ve obviously got a county game next week he’ll play in and try find some form back and keep putting his name in front of selectors,” said Lehmann.
“There’s a chance very much like the World Cup where he got dropped and came back into the side. So really form will dictate what Shane does.”
Australian captain Michael Clarke said he supported the selectors’ call.
Melbourne-raised debutant Peter Nevill was presented with his baggy green cap by former Australian captain Steve Waugh as the country’s 443rd Test player.
Nevill was called in to replace Brad Haddin, who is out of the Test for personal reasons.