Watson takes charge, as Clarke faces injury

Canberra: Shane Watson had the first taste of being an Australian captain after Michael Clarke was retired hurt due to back injury.

The star all-rounder Watson was handed the captaincy when he led Australia`s one-day team onto the field in a practice match against Queensland in Brisbane.

Clarke was forced to retire hurt with back stiffness after scoring 13 from 31 balls and watched on as Australia defended 263 runs at Allan Border Field, a news channel reports.

Former captain Ricky Ponting was also out of action following a calf injury.

“Clarke pulled up a little stiff which is why he retired and we are just going to take the opportunity to get everybody out there,” Australian coach Tim Nielsen was quoted, as saying.

“Ponting has had a bit of a sore calf as well which we are just being careful about,” he added.

Watson, who was appointed as vice-captain in March, has been Australia`s best player in all forms of the game over the past two years but has never captained a senior team in his career.

His appointment has raised questions whether he can handle the extra responsibility of leadership on top of being the side`s opening batsman and fourth seamer.

But Nielsen said Watson is a true back up to Clarke, who must manage his back problem for the rest of his career, and is confident the 30-year-old will cope with the extra pressure and responsibility.


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