Monday, November 23, 2009

Watson ready for dream summer cricket

By his own admission, Shane Watson has said it all before ahead of previous Australian summers.

Yes, he is confident his injury-plagued body is finally right.

No, he doesn't expect any more setbacks.

And yep, he's ready to reach his full potential as an all-rounder.

What makes it different this time is that Watson has been backing up his words on the field - and now he wants to finally do it on home soil.

Watson, 28, has already shown enough to convince Australian skipper Ricky Ponting that he is the "world-class all-rounder" Australia have been looking for.

But Watson is far from satisfied, ready to celebrate the Australian summer he has been dreaming of after that nightmare run of injuries.

"I have never had a full summer throughout my career in Australia," Watson said on Monday ahead of this week's first Test against the West Indies at Brisbane.

"I have been able to get through a lot of cricket over the last six months so I am very confident where I am at physically and mentally.

"I have probably said at the start of each summer that I have been ready to play but I know this is a really important time for me to be able to show myself and the Australian public exactly how I can play.

"Hopefully this summer is the one I have been dreaming of for the last four or five years."

Ponting was clearly already impressed after Watson's three half centuries during the Ashes series and his man of the series award during the recent one day tour of India.

"Everything he has done since he got back into the side in the middle of the Ashes has been first class," he said on Monday.

"He probably should have been the player of the series at the Champions Trophy, he was the player of the series in India.

"Everything is heading in the right direction and he's now starting to be the cricketer that we all thought he could become which is a good sign for the team.

"We've been looking for that world-class all-rounder to slot into our side for years now.

"I really believe and I think everyone should believe now that he's going to be the man to do that for us."

Watson made his Test debut in 2005 - but has played just 10 more for Australia since then.

Food poisoning, back stress fractures, recurring hamstring problems - you name it, Watson has probably recovered from it during his career.

While there have been plenty of injuries, there are no regrets.

"The things that have happened throughout my career have made me the person that I am," Watson said.

"I wouldn't have it any other way.

"There's been ups and downs but if it doesn't kill you it only makes you stronger. It's been a long journey, no doubt about that.

"But there is still such a long way to go.

"This summer, I am really excited about the prospects. It's about showing myself and the Australian public the things that I can do and achieve."

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