Former Hampshire star craves opening role for Australia

SHANE WATSON

SHANE WATSON

First published in International

WATSON CRAVES OPENING ROLE Shane Watson has reaffirmed his desire to open the batting for Australia in all forms of the game after an impressive return from injury.

Watson, who spent a month on the sidelines with a calf problem, marked his international return with a superb 122 against West Indies in the third one-day international in Canberra on Wednesday.

He followed that with a blistering 76 in Sydney yesterday as Australia moved one step closer to a series clean sweep of the Windies.

Watson, who will tour India this month as a non-bowling batsman, believes he has the most to offer at top of the order, heaping further pressure on struggling opener Ed Cowan.

''In the end I know the selectors are just trying to find the best balance for the Indian conditions,'' he said.

''I certainly do love opening and I've had the most success there in Test cricket especially.

''That is where I feel most comfortable, there's no doubt about that.

''Even opening the batting over the last couple of nights, it is a place that I do love.

''I love taking on the quick bowlers with a brand new ball and challenging myself against the best bowlers in the world and that's what really gets me up and going.''

Watson has made 1878 runs at an average of 43.67 when opening the batting in Tests, while Cowan has posted 722 at 32.81 at the top of the order.

Watson will captain Australia in the absence of Michael Clarke in the fifth and final ODI against the West Indies at the MCG tomorrow.

''The time that I had an opportunity last summer was probably as much fun as I've had on a cricket field,'' he said.

''I use my brain in a different way than I normally do, either batting or bowling.

''I'm really excited about the opportunity again.''

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