Watson set to return home early amid burnout fears

AFP, SYDNEY

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - Page 19

All-rounder Shane Watson is set to return home from the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa amid fears of burnout and a lack of activity in the longer form of the game, Cricket Australia (CA) said yesterday.

CA boss James Sutherland said Watson’s situation was being monitored closely ahead of the Test series with the top-ranked South Africans, which begins on Nov. 9.

Sutherland said he expected Watson to return home this week to give him a rest and possibly have a four-day Sheffield Shield game for New South Wales, before tackling South Africa in the opening Test in Brisbane.

“We are reviewing his load and circumstance very closely ... I think it’s reasonably well known that it’s likely he won’t see the [Champions League] tournament out,” he said.

CONCERNED

“We’re concerned about Shane. His injury record is unfortunate and what that tells us is that we need to monitor him and manage him very carefully and we are,” Sutherland said.

Watson made a dashing 46 for the Sydney Sixers T20 side against the Chennai Super Kings in Johannesburg in the Champions League on Sunday, and will travel to Cape Town to face Yorkshire today before he is expected to fly home.

The 31-year-old has been prolific for Australia with the bat and ball in all formats of cricket together with being a star of the Indian Premier League.

THERAPY

“I don’t know the specifics but the priority will be for him to get himself right as possible,” Sutherland said. “That’s one, to give him a little bit of a break, then give him a little bit of therapy and whatever else he needs.”

“But then also to really focus on getting him right to play Test cricket, which he hasn’t played for a long time and give him the opportunity to play a Shield game and at least play with the red ball,” the CA chief said.

“He’s a fantastic player ... he’s the sort of player who can win series and certainly win Test matches for Australia,” Sutherland said.