Watson to rest in ODI series

Shane Watson (Gallo)
Shane Watson (Gallo)

Sydney - All-rounder Shane Watson will take a much-needed break from two upcoming one-day internationals against England, Cricket Australia said on Thursday.

The 32-year-old rediscovered his batting touch during the Ashes series and has been key to Australia's latest success.

He is scheduled to play in Friday's second ODI in Brisbane but was out for a duck in the first match which Australia won in Melbourne on Sunday. He also failed to take a wicket and went for 36 runs in his five overs.

"Given Shane's workload in the past 12 months we consider it would be beneficial for him to have a longer break and continue his training programme at home in Sydney ahead of the final ODI and the tour of South Africa," said coach Darren Lehman.

"Dan Christian, who has been in excellent form in recent weeks, has been added to the ODI squad to provide an all-round option in Shane's absence."

The national selection panel said Watson would re-join the squad for the final ODI in Adelaide on January 26.

Hamstring and calf injuries have been common for the former vice-captain - he missed the 2006-07 Ashes campaign with hamstring trouble - and there has always been a question over how to balance his workload as an all-rounder.

Watson, who has been criticised for a poor conversion rate in Tests with four centuries from 21 half-centuries, hit a quickfire 103 from 108 balls with 11 fours and five sixes in the second innings of the third Ashes Test in Perth to take the game away from England.

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