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Watson shapes up ahead of Ashes

cricket Updated: May 26, 2009 15:58 IST

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Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is on track for a pre-Ashes workout in the Twenty20 World Cup after making a trouble-free recovery from a groin strain.

Coach Tim Nielsen said on Tuesday the injury-prone 29-year-old went through his paces and bowled well at a two-day pre-tour camp in Coolum in Queensland, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Nielsen and skipper Ricky Ponting told reporters Watson was set to be used as an all-rounder in the Twenty20 tournament, starting on June 6, in England after being named in the Ashes touring party subject to fitness.

Selectors showed their belief in Watson when he was named ahead of Andrew Symonds for one of the contested all-rounder spots in the 16-man party for the July-August, five-Test series.

Watson has been the heartbreak kid of Australian cricket with a series of injuries tormenting his playing career and restricting him to just eight Test appearances since his debut in January 2005.

Nielsen said Watson had bowled well without any discomfort on Monday.

"He was a bit unlucky in that Twenty20 game we played in Dubai. That put him back a couple of weeks," Nielsen said.

"He was coming back from his stress fractures and we made a few changes to his action and we think that might have been the cause of his groin (strain).

"We're taking it 'softly, softly' at the start and he appears to be going well at the moment.

"The plan will be to give him as much bowling we can at the start of the (Twenty20) series and keep working out where he sits and go from there."

Ponting said Watson was "very confident he'd be available to bowl if required in the Twenty20s."