Auckland: Struggling Australian all-rounder Shane Watson goes into Saturday`s World Cup clash against New Zealand mourning the death of one of his closest friends who lost his battle with cancer this week.
Paul Hutchison, a former fast bowler for South Australia and Tasmania, died from cancer in Brisbane on Friday, aged just 47, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reported.
Watson and Hutchison played junior cricket for Brisbane club Redlands and while he was in the city last week for the washed-out World Cup game against Bangladesh, 33-year-old Watson made several visits to Hutchison`s bedside.
That included one in the hours after the game was cancelled.
"Watson was left upset by Hutchison`s physical condition and told teammates how life had really been put in perspective," reported the Telegraph.
Watson was our for nought in the win over England on February 14, but he is expected to keep his place in the team for Saturday`s game at Eden Park with skipper Michael Clarke backing the veteran to return to form.
"I think `Watto` has certainly acknowledged that he would like to make runs as much as anybody. I wouldn`t be surprised if you see him walk out there and make an important hundred for us," said Clarke.