Browse News

News by Competition News by Topics News by County Teams News by International Teams

Join TwelfthMan now!

Clarke optimistic Watson will bowl

Michael Clarke and Alastair Cook look ahead to the opening Ashes Test

Michael Clarke expects Shane Watson to play an all-round role in the opening Ashes Test.

Watson, a top-order batsman and medium-pace bowler, was a doubt for the opener after suffering a left hamstring injury at the start of the month.

However, he has made a strong recovery and, while certain to feature as a batsman at Brisbane, is in line to feature with the ball too.

Australia captain Clarke said: "I don't think he'll be at 100 per cent, and be able to bowl 25 overs in the first innings of a Test match. But he has improved every single day. I'm really confident he'll be able to bat at his best, and do a job with the ball."

Watson is set to line up alongside George Bailey, Australia’s Twenty20 skipper who is expected to make a Test debut at the age of 31.

Clarke added: "It's great to have Bails around. He's a wonderful guy, and he's been extremely successful in the shorter format for us - and he's really excited about his first Test. He's very well-prepared, on top of his game and full of confidence."

Clarke cannot wait to get the series going as Australia seek to stop England recording four straight series wins for the first time since the 1800s.

"The boys are obviously extremely excited ... looking forward to tomorrow, finally getting out there, after all the talk about this series," he said.

"There's been a lot said about the build-up to this series, speculation about players, how Australia are going to turn it around. I'm not going to sit here and promise the world, tell you everything is going to be different.

"Our job is to perform at our best, and hope the result will take care of itself. I think the belief is there, and I hope we'll show that over the next five Test matches."

Follow us on Twitter

Stay up to date and fully informed wherever you are by following ECB_cricket on Twitter

iPhone and Android apps

Download ECB Cricket app for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia for live scores, news, videos

Follow on Facebook

Join the conversation on the official fan community of England cricket on Facebook right now!