Shane Watson has been given an extended break from Australia’s ODI series against England in a bid to ensure the all-rounder is fully fit for the upcoming tour of South Africa. Dan Christian has been called up to replace Watson, who had been struggling with a hamstring injury in the run-up to the Ashes.
Some betting pundits had expected the 32-year-old to miss the second ODI against England but return for the rest of the series. However, Watson will miss three of the games before returning to the side for the final game of the series. Watson will then be part of the Aussie squad that head to South Africa looking to continue their momentum from their Ashes success into a three-Test series against South Africa.
"Given Shane's workload in the past 12 months we consider it would be beneficial for him to have a longer break and continue his training program at home in Sydney ahead of the final ODI and the tour of South Africa," said coach, Darren Lehmann.
Watson had been a serious injury doubt for Australia before the Test series after suffering a hamstring injury in the one-day series against India before the Ashes. The all-rounder was recovered from the injury, going on to play in all five of Australia’s stunning victories to reclaim the Ashes urn.
Watson may not have found the consistency he would have wanted with the bat against England, although his sensational 103 in Perth and 83 not out in Melbourne were both crucial to his side going onto win those Tests.
While people who bet on cricket know Australia will head to South Africa full of confidence following their Ashes exploits, Michael Clarke’s might need to play even better than they did against England if they are going to come away from the three matches against the world’s number-one Test side.