Watson back in Australian squad

June 4th, 2008 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 4 (IANS) Shane Watson’s outstanding form with bat and ball in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) has earned him a recall to the Australian squad for the upcoming one-day series in the Caribbean. Watson was named as Matthew Hayden’s replacement in the 14-man squad for the five-game series against the West Indies Wednesday morning.

Watson, who has not played for Australia since breaking down in an International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 match last September, will join the Australian team in Barbados during the third Test. The one-day series begins June 24.

Playing for Rajasthan Royals, Watson gave an all-round performance in the IPL and emerged as the key player for the Royals during their title win. He was also named player of the tournament for his excellent all-round performances.

Watson was fourth highest run getter as well as wicket-taker in the IPL, hitting 472 runs at an average of 47.2 and taking 17 wickets at 22.5,playing 15 of a possible 16 matches.

National Selection Panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said the injury to Hayden, who has already flown back to Australia, was the perfect opportunity to recall Watson back into the one-day side.

“Approximately 18 months ago we identified Shane as someone we thought could open the batting for Australia in one-day cricket and in the opportunities he has had since, he has played that role extremely well,” Hilditch said in a statement in Cricket Australia (CA) site.

“He also adds great flexibility to our bowling attack in this format of the game. Shane has had a disappointing run with injuries but finished our inter-state season well and has sustained his fitness levels throughout the IPL tournament,” he said.

Watson will strive with James Hopes, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and the uncapped Shaun Marsh, who was also one of the finds of the IPL, for a berth at the top of the Australian order.

Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin , James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Cameron White.

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