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Watson delight at regaining opener's job

Published 28 June 2013
Watson delight at regaining opener's job
Australia’s new head coach, Darren Lehmann’s decision to make Shane Watson open in Tests again for the side has already shown glimpses of success. In the warm-up match against Somerset, Watson opened the innings and scored 90 to give Australia a good start, as they went on to make 266-4 in reply to Somerset's 1st innings score of 320. Speaking to the media about his return to the opening slot, Watson expressed his delight.

"It's nice to get that confirmation and it's a hugely exciting challenge for me," said Watson. Lehmann’s appointment came after Mickey Arthur’s sudden sacking. Watson who was dropped from the third Test in the series against India, owing to the famous homework gate incident, is quite pleased to have the support of the new coach. "Darren is very up front about things, from my experience of him, but he also does care when he needs to," added Watson. "It's nice for me personally to know I have the backing of the coach and the opportunity to open is something I am very excited about,” he said. 

Watson also hinted at there being more clarity in his role in the Australian line-up, something he says he didn’t have during Arthur’s time as coach. "I didn't know exactly what my role would be until Darren took over as coach. I had a few chats with Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur about it, but there was no confirmation. Darren has been more definite about where he wants me to bat.” 

Despite that though, Watson insisted that his performance would still be the deciding factor in him being included in the squad. "It doesn't mean any more security because if I am not performing I can't expect to get picked. But I'm very happy about it." 

During the 2009 Ashes, Watson was used as an opener by Ricky Ponting. The challenge of facing England’s new ball pace attack is something that Watson is now looking forward to in his return to the role. "Taking on the quicks with a brand new ball is something I never knew I would enjoy until the last Ashes series here in 2009," Watson said. "Ricky Ponting gave me the opportunity through the middle of that series and it's something I did and do love. I feel my game and my mentality is now suited to opening the batting,” he added. "The English quicks are as good as there are in the world at the moment and have been for the last few years.  It is the ultimate challenge to take on the best bowlers with a brand new ball in what sometimes will be bowler-friendly conditions.” 

In recent times Watson’s role as an all-rounder has diminished owing to shoulder problems and he conceded that his role as an opener could see him continue to restrict himself in the bowling department. "Certainly opening the batting means I can't bowl as much. But I know I can contribute with the ball and I do love bowling," he said. 

The Ashes is currently with England and Watson admitted that this Australian side will be going into the tournament as the underdogs, "We are obviously the underdogs coming into the series and we haven't played well, especially in India a few months ago. We know we are going to have to be at our best very consistently throughout the series to have the success we want. England have a very good side, which has been the case for quite a while now. It's going to be a massive challenge for us and we are all very excited about it."