Wed, Sep 05, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Watson views Pakistan as ideal preparation

AFP, SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates

Fit-again all rounder Shane Watson hopes a three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan will be good preparation for his side for next month’s World Twenty20.

The 31-year-old joined the Twenty20 squad in Sharjah after missing the three-match one-day series due to a calf injury sustained on the team’s tour of England in July this year.

Pakistan and Australia play the Twenty20 matches in Dubai on Sept. 5, 7 and 11.

Watson believes playing a dangerous Twenty20 side like Pakistan will be good preparation for Australia, who are ranked ninth in the shortest form of the game.

“These matches are very important and will give us a good lead to the World Twenty20,” Watson said of the event starting in Sri Lanka next month. “We haven’t really had a long time together as a Twenty20 team so it will be good playing Pakistan.”

Australia were the losing semi-finalists of the first World Twenty20 in 2007 before they were thrown out of the second competition in the first round in England two years later. They lost to England in the 2010 event final held in the West Indies.

“We have played well in Twenty20 and were unlucky on missing out on the final the last time. This team has got good balance of young and experience and on our day we can beat the best teams in the world,” Watson said.

Earlier this year, Australia appointed George Bailey as their Twenty20 captain. They are placed in Group B of the 12-team World Twenty20, alongside the West Indies and Ireland.

Watson hoped all players will get to know their roles in the team.

“These three matches [against Pakistan] will be challenging and it’s going to be a great period for us to continue to know what exactly are our roles in Twenty20,” said Watson, who has so far scored 643 runs in 27 Twenty20 matches.

He also has 21 wickets as a medium pacer.

Watson admitted Pakistani spinners and the oppressive heat in the United Arab Emirates will be a big challenge.

“The heat is always there, you play throughout the year so heat is part and parcel for both the sides,” Watson said. “Pakistan have got high class spinners with [Saeed] Ajmal and [Shahid] Afridi and they can certainly change the game.”

“In Twenty20 cricket you don’t have much chance to be able to work the ball, when the ball is turning a score of 130 140 is good. There is no doubt they are good spinners but we will work hard,” Watson said.

“It [the UAE] is a great place to play cricket and I am excited and at times these are similar conditions to what we will get in Sri Lanka, so it gives us a good chance to combine as a team and understand our roles,” Watson said.

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