Watson set to miss out on test if he can`t bowl , says Michael Clarke
PORT ELIZABETH: Captain Michael Clarke has indicated that Shane Watson will not return to the Australia side as a specialist batsman for the second test against South Africa at St George`s Park on Thursday.
All-rounder Watson missed Australia`s 281-run victory in the first test with a calf problem, and the tourists want him to be fit enough to bowl in Port Elizabeth.
"The information I have from the selectors is that if (Watson`s) not bowling, he`ll be unavailable for selection," Clarke told reporters on Wednesday.
"You`ll probably have to ask (coach) Darren Lehmann and the other selectors, (but) from the information I have they`ll only re-select him if he`s available to bowl.
"As soon as Watto is fit and available I know he`ll want to be back out on the park. I don`t know if you guys watched him in the nets but he`s creaming them at the moment."
Watson`s replacement at number three in the first test, Alex Doolan, fell 11 runs short of a century on debut in the second innings.
Despite the apparent concern over Watson as a specialist batsman, Clarke said he hopes the 32-year-old can make a swift return to the side.
"He`s a huge player for us, so the sooner we can have Watto back I think the better for this team," Clarke said.
"Any time you`ve got a class all-rounder available you`ve got to try and find some room."
Only veteran left-handed opener Chris Rogers failed in the Australian top six in the first test in Pretoria, but Clarke sees no cause for alarm.
"I think Bucky is going well. He`s done a great job for us. He was the leading run-scorer if you combine both Ashes series. He`s scored two hundreds in his last two Tests of the Australian summer.
"They weren`t the easiest batting conditions the other day (in Pretoria). He`s an opening batter, he`s got the hardest job in the game. Chris has done a fantastic job for us and I`m confident he`ll score runs for us in this Test."