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ICC World Cup: Shane Watson future in doubt after Aussie run riot

Australia captain Michael Clarke says Shane Watson coped well with his axing from Wednesday`s World Cup clash against Afghanistan, a decision which may have signalled the end of his one-day career.

The powerful right-hander`s dual ability with bat and ball has made him an integral part of the Australian limited overs team for many years and he averages over 50 with the bat in World Cup cricket.

But he was dropped to make way for fellow all-rounder James Faulkner, who was returning from injury.

Watson, who turns 34 in June, was an onlooker as Australia won by a World Cup record 275 runs, and suffered the ignominy of seeing his name wiped from the record books when he and Ricky Ponting`s 252-run partnership in an ODI for Australia was passed by David Warner and Steve Smith.

Watson`s individual Australian record of 185 not out also looked set to fall, until Warner holed out for 178.

Australian chairman of selectors Rod Marsh earlier in the day said it was a "big decision", but that Watson paid the price for his indifferent form with the bat in limited overs cricket in recent months.

A three-time Australian one-day international player of the year, Watson faces a battle to get back into the team, with Faulkner and emerging youngster Mitchell Marsh offering similar abilities.

Clarke said Watson had not shown any disappointment during the match even though Faulkner made just seven and Marsh eight in the closing stages of the innings.

"I thought Watto handled it really well," he said. "It`s obviously a tough decision for the selectors. He was fantastic around the group all day."

Watson has played 182 ODIs and 56 Tests in his career and from 2012-2014 he was Australia`s best-paid cricketer.

According to Forbes magazine, Watson earned almost $6 million in that period, making him the sixth richest player in the world and the highest earner outside of India.

Clarke wouldn`t be drawn on Watson`s future, saying that was in the hands of the selectors.

Marsh said: "It`s a big decision but it`s one we thought we had to make because in Shane`s last 10 one-day games he`s got 220 runs at an average of 22."

"Unfortunately he`s been getting starts but he hasn`t been going on with it and we had to fit James in and someone had to go."

After the easy win over Afghanistan, Clarke said the Australians were expecting a much stiffer challenge against Sri Lanka at the SCG on Sunday.

"They are going to be really tough team to beat," he said. "They like playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground and they are playing some really good cricket.

"They have got experience and that is always part of a good team in major tournaments, it gives you a good advantage.

"We are really excited about and the talk in the change room was about taking this momentum into Sydney. It is an important game for both teams."

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