Shane Watson's availability for first Test against West Indies confirmed
In a big boost for Australia ahead of their two-match Test series against the West Indies, star all-rounder Shane Watson has been declared to be available for the first Test and will join the squad as early as on Wednesday. Earlier, there were reports that Watson could miss the start of the series as a result of the imminent birth of his second child. However, his wife gave birth to the baby on May 24, thereby facilitating his availability for the series.
Watson, though, will not take part in their only warm-up match before the series, against WICB President’s XI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. He won’t be the only one, however, with Steven Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson also set to miss the game.
While Watson lends ideal balance to the Australian side with his all-round capabilities, he will certainly be keen on making more significant contributions in Test cricket. He has scored 3646 runs from 56 Tests at an average of 35.74 and picked 74 wickets at 33.09, which, for a player of his class, is below par.
With the all-important Ashes series in England shortly following the West Indies series, it is imperative that Watson quickly finds his touch in the longer format and steps up to the plate as Australia aim to win their first Ashes series on English soil in 14 years.
When talking to ESPNcricinfo in April on whether the Australians could reverse their recent fortunes in England this time around, Watson had said: I've got no doubt. We've got a very strong squad that's going over to England. We've got good depth and the best part is everyone is in nearly career-best form right now, which is most important as well.
There is a huge hunger within the group because we know that we haven't won in England for the last three series. I've been involved in two of those. There's a big burning desire to be involved in an Ashes-winning campaign in England. We're as well prepared as we can be within our group. I'm incredibly excited about what's on the horizon with the Ashes and everyone else is as well. There's still a little bit of time with the IPL and the West Indies tour, but it's going to be a very exciting time.”