Laidback Watson enjoying new Ashes role
Australia's Shane Watson believes taking a more relaxed approach is the secret to his success in the unaccustomed role of Ashes opener.cricket Updated: Aug 14, 2009 10:18 IST
Australia's Shane Watson believes taking a more relaxed approach is the secret to his success in the unaccustomed role of Ashes opener.
Watson had never previously batted above six in a Test before he was promoted to open the batting ahead of out of form Phillip Hughes in the third Test against England.
The 27-year-old all-rounder has responded impressively with three half-centuries in as many visits to the crease as Australia hit back to level the series at 1-1 ahead of next week's final Test at The Oval.
Watson admits he was so fired up to succeed in the past that his confidence would take a major dent if he didn't live up to expectations.
But moving to the unfamiliar opening role allowed Watson to have a more laidback attitude because little was expected of him.
"My issue has been that once I have got to 50, I have started to get a bit too far ahead of myself instead of worrying about the next ball and concentrating every time. It is a mental barrier I have to get over," Watson said.
"The most important thing is to get through the new ball because that is a period in which you can get knocked over.
"But I feel I have put my finger on what it is that is costing me - wanting it too much.
"When I have got big scores in the past I haven't been thinking about scores at all, I have been thinking about batting time.
"When I am batting long periods of time I know I am going to get a big score.
"When I think about my score I get a bit too nervous and it all goes awry, unfortunately."
Watson has yet to score a Test hundred for Australia and he has set his sights of ending that barren run at The Oval.
"My dream as a young kid was to get a Test hundred. I have been lucky enough to get a one-day international hundred and the goal is the Test one now," he added.
Ricky Ponting's team only need a draw to retain the Ashes and Watson believes the debate over England's selection for the final Test could prove a decisive factor.
Mark Ramprakash, Marcus Trescothick, Robert Key and Jonathan Trott have been mentioned as potential call-ups as England try to add more fire to their middle-order.
But Watson insists the pressure on the new men might prove too much.
"When you do come in halfway through a series you are expected to perform because someone has been dropped because they haven't performed," Watson said.
"There is extra pressure on you to put your hand up and fulfil the role they are looking for you to fulfil.
"If things are going great England are the best team in the world. If things start to go slightly awry, they feel it from every sort of quarter.
"Of course that is disappointing because as a player you would prefer it to be a bit more consistent - but that's not the way the world works, unfortunately."