In a move that is sure to infuriate Sydney Sixers officials, Cricket Australia have reportedly ordered Sixers all-rounder Shane Watson to return to Australia to prepare for the upcoming Test summer.
Watson’s Sixers are currently competing in the lucrative T20 Champions League in South Africa and the 31-year-old was to be a crucial component in their push for victory.
But News Limited is reporting Watson has been ordered to return to Australia by the end of the week.
He will play in Sydney’s matches against Yorkshire and Highveld Lions this week before heading home.
With a grueling six-Test summer approaching before tours to India and England next year, Cricket Australia are concerned Watson – arguably Australia’s most important player in all three forms of the game – will burn out.
While Watson has been ordered home, his Test teammates Mike Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Starc will be allowed stay in South Africa with their respective franchises.
Australia’s head of selectors John Inverarity last week flagged his reservations about the timing of the Champions League ahead of a crucial Test series against world No.1 South Africa, which begins on November 9.
"It is anything but an ideal preparation," Inverarity told News Limited.
"You just have to do your best but having the Champions League where it is now is not in the best interests of good preparation for the first Test."
Given Watson’s recent run of good form, the Sixers are sure to be angered that he has been made an exception by Cricket Australia.Watson was named player of the tournament at the record World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and scored a brisk 46 runs in Sydney’s first-up win over Chennai on Sunday night (EDT).