Watson is running out of time

Failures can break any sports star and can play tricks even in the most assured minds. Shane Watson, the all-rounder from Australia, is going through rough days in his Test career. He is finding hard to score runs of his willow. The piece of wood which used to shine like samurai in his hands has gone quite. At 32, it has become clear that he is not going to live upto the expectations which he drafted at the beginning of his career. At this stage of his career, he should do what Jacques Kallis is doing for South Africa, but he is not even fifty percent of his South African opponent. With the passage of time, we have realized that he has already got enough number of chances with a belief of performing consistently one day. Alas that day is yet to see a light. On the other hand, Watson has on many occasions turned the match in the favor of the oppositions by getting out cheaply in crunch situations. The management did change his batting order but nothing is working for him.

He was removed from the openers slot in the Test series against India in 2013 but that didn’t help him by any means. The arrival of Darren Lehman as the new coach of the Australian team saw Watson being once again promoted to the opening slot for the Ashes but it has also ended in failure so far. Prior to Ashes, he was blazing all guns in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League. The burly all-rounder was hitting bowlers out of the park and his team Rajasthan Royals were the biggest gainer because of his attacking display. But the memories have faded with Watson struggling to plant his foot in the five day version of the game. He is the one who has constantly tempted the Australian team and public with innings such as 161* against England in 2011 and 185* against Bangladesh (2011), in the one-day format that dare the fans to dream of something big in the Test arena. He even had the scores of 84, 60, 90 and 109 in his tour games leading up to the series with India and the Ashes this year but has only averaged a touch over 20 in actual Tests this calendar year. His last Test century came over three years ago. An average of less than 35, with two hundreds, from 44 Tests, is poor returns for a batsman who has every stroke in his batting arsenal.

The constant early dismissals have taken a toll on his confidence. The crispy cover drives on fast bowlers and big hits on the spinners have all diminished. The problem also lies with his technique as well. He is getting LBW regularly in the last few years and that all has to do with his foot movement. At the time of playing the shots, his foot straightens a lot which makes him perfect candidate for a leg before decision. He has to change his stance a bit in order to get rid of this problem. I know this change won’t happen in a day or two but he can certainly work on it with the help of Lehman, who was instrumental in solving the same flaw in Cameron White’s stance during his stint with now dissolved Deccan Chargers. Watson is not the only batsman who has been struck by technical deficiencies and this shouldn’t be a big deal for a player of his caliber. He needs to get back his confidence as he was scoring runs with the same stance prior to his current slump. A selfassured Watson can prove vital for his team’s chances and is a constant threat for any opposition. He just need one good inning under his belt. One good knock can give him a feeling that he is not in the team just because of his name. The meeting of the ball with the perfect spot on the bat could trigger his comeback. The right-hand batsman might not admit this but he is feeling the pressure as his position in the team is constantly hanging by weakest of the thread. The current coach and the captain Michael Clarke are standing by their struggling team mate but even they are finding it difficult to justify his presence in the team. It is for this reason one believes that Watson is running out of time and needs to turn the table as soon as possible.

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