x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Shane Watson set to be a part of Australia Ashes attack

Injured allrounder Shane Watson started bowling in the nets on Monday and is on course to join the Australian attack in the first Ashes test.

Shane Watson has been recovering from a hamstring injury ahead of the Ashes. Chris Hyde / Getty Images
Shane Watson has been recovering from a hamstring injury ahead of the Ashes. Chris Hyde / Getty Images

BRISBANE, Australia // Injured allrounder Shane Watson started bowling in the nets on Monday and is on course to join the Australian attack in the first Ashes test.

Watson injured his hamstring in the recent limited-overs series in India and was initially tipped to be selected solely for his batting in the first test against England starting Thursday.

He bowled briefly in the nets with the test squad on Monday, at reduced pace and off a shortened run up, and Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris predicted the 32 year old Watson could contribute with the ball at the Gabba.

“He’s on track to be bowling in the next week, which means he might bowl in this test match if he keeps making good progress,” Kountouris said. “We’re building him up to bowl whenever he’s ready to go. So if it’s this test that’s great – if it’s a bit longer then that’s how it’s going to be.”

Australia’s bowling attack is more balanced when Watson is available to share the duties with the seamers, and he is often deployed to slow down the scoring rate if the batsmen are getting on top of the three quick bowlers.

Australia’s bowling coach Craig McDermott had earlier said Watson wouldn’t be rushed back into bowling if he wasn’t ready. Kountouris said the coaching staff was taking it step by step with the injury-prone allrounder.

“We’ll reassess and make a decision tomorrow where we go from there,” Kountouris said. “We’re realistic he’s coming back from an injury.

“He’s an important batter and we’ve taken no risks in getting him here so we’ll continue to do that.”