Sydney: Former captain Ian Chappell has said Shane Watson must open for Australia against India in their upcoming four-match Test series, starting on February22 in Chennai.
"One of the biggest decisions facing Australia in the lead up to the four-Test series against India will be establishing the correct batting order," Chappell wrote in his column for a website.
"In a top-notch team the correct order generally takes care of itself, but in a side needing to get the absolute best from every player, it`s crucial - maybe even series-deciding.
Therefore Michael Clarke has to get it right, otherwise one miscalculation could lead to a flow-on effect that skews the batting order," he added.
Chappell wrote: "The critical decision is Shane Watson: Does he open or bat in the middle order? There`s only one question to be answered: What is Watson`s best position? Answer: Opening. Then he has to open."
"There`s an extremely strong case for Watson as an opener. Forget the bollocks about ``is he in the best six batsmen.``
“He`s certainly in the top three, maybe next best to Clarke," he added.
"Forget all the codswallop about when he`s not bowling he`s got a greater battle to find a place in the batting line-up. He should be considered as an opening batsman and change bowler even when he`s fully fit," he further wrote.
"And give short shrift to the excuse he doesn`t make enough centuries. Sure, it would be great if he had a better conversion rate but what is important is the fact he`s rarely dismissed below 30," he added.
"Watson also happens to have the far better average and strike rate. He is the ideal partner for the dashing Dave Warner. Not only is he right-handed, but he`s also an attacking opener and that means Warner doesn`t have to make the running every time. With Watson, Warner can bat according to how he`s seeing the ball," he concluded.
First Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013, 23:49