Watson not to be sent to India early to prepare for Test series

Sydney, Feb 4(ANI): National selectors have named Shane Watson an opening batsman in the squad for the remaining one-day internationals (ODI) against the West Indies instead of sending him over to India early to prepare for the Test series.

Vice-captain Watson will make his international return from injury in the third ODI on Wednesday in Canberra after being recalled to the Australian squad for the next fixtures in place of Usman Khawaja, News.com.au reports.

The injury-prone Watson has played a Sydney club game and an interstate one-day match as he continues his return from an ongoing calf muscle problem, it further reported.

Cricket Australia (CA) also announced that Australia's players would depart for their India tour in three split groups ahead of the first of two tour matches starting on February 12 in Chennai.

Khawaja is the only current member of the ODI team down to leave with the initial group on February 7, with a host of big names to wait until February 11 to fly out.

Khawaja, Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Steve Smith will fly to India on February 7 and get the maximum chance to prepare in Indian conditions.

After playing the fourth ODI in Sydney on Friday, ODI stars Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade and David Warner will then depart on February 9.

Then finally, Michael Clarke, Watson, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc, Phillip Hughes and Mitchell Johnson will fly on the 11th, the day after the fifth and final ODI is completed on Sunday, the paper reported.

National selector John Inverarity said Watson would replace Khawaja in the 13-man ODI squad at Manuka Oval on Wednesday and at the SCG on Friday.

Inverarity said selectors had tried to find the right balance for players in choosing when members of the 17-man Indian Test squad would fly out, the paper concluded. (ANI)

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