Shane Watson facing tough competition for Test spot, says captain Michael Clarke

Since Shane Watson has decided to play as a specialist batsman rather than an all-rounder, Australian skipper Michael Clarke believes the right-hander will be facing a very tough competition for the Test recall.

The Aussies are set to meet India in a four-match Test series, and a huge pool of players is available for selection. Due to a calf injury, Watson remained out of action for a month.

As a specialist batsman, he is all set to return to action in the third One Day International (ODI) against West Indies at Canberra on Wednesday. His services in the shortest version of the game were acknowledged last time, when he was declared as the T20
International Player of the Year at the Alan Border Medal ceremony.

But Watson is facing a real competition for the Test place. Clarke, however, is not ready to leave his veteran all-rounder alone, and said that the entire side will help the 31-year-old get back to his best as soon as possible.

"I don’t think anybody walks into the Australian cricket team. It’s about performance, and the strength of Shane is that he’s performed over a period of time, in all three forms of the game," Clarke said.

He added, "He’s vice-captain of the team and it will be great to have Watto back. As I’ve said to Watto, while he’s not bowling he goes into a much bigger pool of players … the pool of batsmen is much bigger than the pool of allrounders in Australian cricket
at the moment.”

"But Shane knows if he’s at his best, he’s as good as any player in the world, let alone in the Australian team. Our goal as a team is to help Watto get back to his best.”

The veteran all-rounder is going through a bad spell, as he faced several injury issues in the past two years. Watson is completely focussed on his job as a batsman, hoping for a quick revival.

He said of his new role, "It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about for a long period of time, especially over the last 12 months, when things haven’t gone exactly to plan with my body.”

"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."