Herald Sun

NOT NEC­ES­SAR­ILY THE END FOR WATTO

- BEN HORNE

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.

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