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Watson hints at India selection

By Kim Hagdorn
30 January 2013 04:32PM EST

RETURNING international Shane Watson has confessed to some minor adjustments to his batting technique ahead of a possible recall to Australia’s Test team.

Watson, 31, remains a leading candidate for inclusion in Australia’s squad for a gruelling four-Test series against India on the sub-continent starting late next month, despite missing another chunk of this summer’s international playing schedule.

He clearly hinted at prospects of a recall in time for sub-continent action during a typically frank Fox Sports interview at the SCG on Wednesday.

The Australian vice-captain has not played since he broke down with another soft tissue injury when the burly all-rounder strained his calf during his impressive Second Test 83 against Sri Lanka in Melbourne in late December.

Watson pressed claims for a swift recall to the Test batting top-order with a return to club cricket in Sydney when he made 30 last weekend and then played a domestic limited-overs clash with New South Wales on Wednesday.

But he failed to press his cause for a return to the national side with runs, when he managed just six in his outing against WA.

Watson faced 23 balls and was out when the big right-hander edged a ball into his pads from exciting young left-arm All-Australian swing bowler Joel Paris.

Watson, who has 38 Tests and 154 limited-over internationals over the past decade, remains reluctant to hit the bowling crease as he devotes his endeavours toward winning back a vital Test batting berth.

He has worked on alterations to his technique with personal batting coach and former NSW batsman Mark O’Neill.

“There’s been a few little things,” Watson confessed.

“It’s more just a gradual progression and development as a batsman.

“It’s nothing too significant.

“It is more so just a few little things that hopefully I’m in the best position technically to be able to take it on, if I’m selected.”

Watson remains hopeful of inclusion in Australia’s Indian touring party when the squad is announced on Thursday.

He declared distinct hopes to win a recall to open Australia’s innings, but repeated on-going claims of willingness to bat anywhere in the Test make-up.

Watson has been a substantially more successful opener than batting in any other spot in Australia’s line-up.

He averages almost 44 from 45 innings as an opener with 1878 runs.

He averages 28.5 at number three and 39.3 batting at number four.

Watson averages only 24 at number six and then only 14.5 at seven.

“It would be just nice to be able to get an opportunity to be able to play in the Test team as a batsman,” he said.

“There’s no doubt that the most success I’ve had is opening in Test cricket.

“But in the end I’m happy to fit in wherever the team wants me and needs me I suppose.”

Watson confirmed that he will not attempt bowling his normally dangerous seamers during the tour of India, if he wins a recall.

But the big all-rounder did not reveal that if all goes well in his comeback as a batting specialist, Watson could resume bowling closer to Australia’s highly anticipated Ashes series against England in the UK starting in July.

“Hopefully by not bowling for the next couple of months anyway I am more chance to be able stay fit for a period of time,” Watson analysed.

“I never want to stop bowling, because I do love it.

“But in the short term I just want to build some momentum as a batsman and hopefully to play consistently for a while to really build some momentum and see how I go.”

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