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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Australia's Watson out of Pakistan Test series with injury

AFP  Sydney, September 21, 2014
First Published: 20:29 IST(21/9/2014) | Last Updated: 20:44 IST(21/9/2014)

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson was on Sunday ruled out of next month's Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates with a calf injury.

The injury-prone Watson was recovering from an ankle he sprained in training which forced him out of last month's tri one-day series in Zimbabwe when he suffered complications.

"While Shane has made steady progress with his rehabilitation he has suffered a setback, experiencing some right calf soreness," national team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said.

"As Shane has previously had similar calf injuries, we plan to hold back his return to running and bowling for approximately 7-10 days.

"The injury will mean that his preparation for the UAE tour will be considerably affected and he would have been unavailable for the T20 and ODI part of the tour and significantly limit his bowling preparation for the Test matches."

Watson's injury gives Mitchell Marsh a chance to make his Test debut against Pakistan on October 22.

Kane Richardson has taken Watson's place in Australia's Twenty20 and one-day squads, while swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus has been drafted into the Test line-up.

"The selectors have opted for another pace option in Ben as we feel we have enough cover in the all-rounder position," chief selector Rod Marsh said in a statement.

"Shane has done everything he can to get up for this tour and left no doubt in our minds that he wanted to push through," Marsh said.

"Had the decision been left to Shane, he would be on the plane to Dubai. However as selectors we have taken a conservative approach to ensure he has the best chance of being fit for the big (domestic) summer ahead."

Watson's objective will be to return for the home limited-overs series against South Africa in November.

"I've been here before and know what I need to do to get back to full fitness. That means remaining positive and working hard," Watson said.

Watson has overcome a series of injuries in his career, but played all 10 matches in last year's back-to-back Ashes series against England.

It was a calf issue in South Africa that stopped that run, forcing him to miss the first two Tests against the Proteas in February.

Pakistan have been forced to play their home series at neutral venues, such as the UAE, since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.


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