Australian captain Ricky Ponting has said that he is worried over the fitness of all-rounder Shane Watson for second and final Test against New Zealand in Hamilton, starting on Saturday.
Watson missed the first Test in Wellington with a thigh strain and was replaced by opener Phillip Hughes who hit a dashing 86 not out from 75 deliveries in Australia’s 10-wicket win at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on Tuesday.
Ponting said Hughes is an exciting player, but Watson’s all-round talents are vital with bat and ball and provide extra back up to pace trio of Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson.
The trio bowled a combined 122 overs in the first Test and Ponting says they’ll be given plenty of rest before the second Test.
Ponting said Watson’s ability to bowl 15 overs in an innings made a huge impact on the balance of the side.
“Every team in the world is after someone who bats in the top six and can bowl like he does. Some of the guys in there now would have liked to have had that luxury over the last couple of days,” Ponting said.
“So hopefully we’ll get him back. If we do it means the bowlers won’t have to do as much next week,” he added.
Team physio Alex Kountouris said Watson was on track to shake off a thigh strain.
“He’s had a bat, he’s done some running, he got through those without any problems. So far he’s going well,” Kountouris said. (ANI)