Symonds’ absence won’t hurt: Watson

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It has become the biggest challenge for Australian cricketers to play and win a series against India, says Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. Sept. 25: Simon Katich’s two Test hundreds in the Caribbean make him the likely candidate to take over the wayward Andrew Symonds’ slot in the starting line-up, but fit-again all-rounder Shane Watson who is on the comeback trail is a tempting prospect.


Watson’s career has been riddled with injuries and despite being on the international scene for six years, he has played only three Tests. Now, having established himself as a one-day and Twenty20 specialist, he wants to translate his success in the shorter formats of the game in the Test arena.


And by the looks of it, he’s all fired up. "What my bowling does give is a bit of impact, especially more so on the fourth and fifth day of a Test when I know I can come in, give it all I’ve got and have a bit of a crack," Watson said here on Thursday. "It definitely will help the team if I do get an opportunity."


If picked, the 27-year-old as an aggressive fourth seam option and a hard hitting middle order batsman will add a bit more depth to a relatively weak squad by Aussie standards. Symonds’ absence, though, won’t hurt, according to Watson. "I don’t feel bad, I hope Andrew gets back because I love the way he plays and I know what he can give, but I’ve got to make the most of my opportunity.


"I know how things can change, I got injured before the Ashes (in 2006) and it gave Andrew an opportunity — it’s amazing how things change… I’m not under any pressure."


Watson said the Aussies would continue with their aggressive persona, minus the sledging. Thanks to the heated series Down Under earlier this year, the rivalry between India and Australia has become so intense that Sachin Tendulkar reckoned it was bigger than the India-Pakistan one.


"Playing the Indians here it’s a good way to challenge them, physically and mentally, not sledging, but being aggressive. It has become the biggest challenge for Australian cricketers to play and win a series against India. It was amazing for a Test match to be decided in the last 20 minutes of the fifth day," he said referring to the Sydney Test, without directly naming it.