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Watson taking gamble - skipper

February 05, 2013 10:08:50 UK

Australia captain Michael Clarke has warned Shane Watson his plan to give away his all-rounder's role threatens his place in the Test side.

Michael Clarke has warned Shane Watson over his plan to focus on batting.

Watson wants to carve out a niche for himself as an opening batsman, and leave the bowling to others. The 31-year-old has spent a month on the sidelines since aggravating a calf strain during the Boxing Day Test.

His efforts to play a major part with bat and ball have cost him, and Watson hopes that by concentrating on just one area will reduce the pressure on his body.

He will open the batting in Australia's ODI against the West Indies in Canberra, but Clarke believes his new policy could make it harder for him to earn selection when the four-Test series against India starts later this month. Watson has only played three of the six Tests this summer, and missed all of the 2011-12 home Tests through injury.

Clarke said: "As I've said to Watto, while he's not bowling he goes into a much bigger pool of players.

In regards to the pool of batsmen, it's a much bigger pool than the pool of all-rounders in Australian cricket at the moment.

Michael Clarke

"In regards to the pool of batsmen, it's a much bigger pool than the pool of all-rounders in Australian cricket at the moment."

Watson, who was named Australia's Twenty20 International Player of the Year on Monday, aims to start bowling again during the Ashes which starts in July.

"Hopefully I can just get some continuity with my batting over the next few months and then slowly build into getting some bowling under my belt," he said.

While Watson was celebrating his latest honour, Clarke was picking up his fourth Allan Border Medal in recognition of an outstanding year.

The Australian captain scored 1,588 runs in Test and ODI cricket in the qualifying period - from 25th February, 2012 to 28th January, 2013.

Australia are 1.40 to beat West Indies in the third ODI, with the Windies available at 3.00. Michael Clarke is 4.00 to be Australia's top run-scorer.

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