Shane Watson
Shane Watson

Australia vice-captain Shane Watson is toying with the idea of becoming a specialist batsman after he suffered yet another injury.

Watson injured his calf during the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart earlier this month, but still played in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Yet the problem flared up again and the all-rounder will now miss the Sydney Test as a result.

Watson's absence will mean he has played just three of the six summer Tests in Australia, reigniting debate on his workload with bat and ball.

"I am certainly doing some thinking about what my prospects are moving forward, with my bowling especially," Watson told Channel Nine.

"I have to sit down with the hierarchy and work out the best way to manage things so I can put some cricket together for a period of time."

Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said Watson was close to being rested for the Melbourne match.

"There was some consideration of it (resting Watson)," Howard told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"But it was looked at as a collective. He's multi-skilled and can bring more than a couple of attributes to the game.

"He (Watson) had a niggle, so did a lot of guys, but it did get worse during the Test match."

If Watson does become a batsman only, Howard hinted at a new all-rounder becoming a regular in the country's Test team.

His comments were in the wake of Victorian Glenn Maxwell - who is an aggressive batsman and can bowl handy off-spin - winning selection in Australia's 13-man squad for the match against Sri Lanka at the SCG, in place of Watson.

"The selectors have been very keen on having people who are multi-skilled across the board," Howard said.

"If Shane or anybody wants to be a batsman only, well somebody else has got to be able to take up the overs."

Maxwell - who said winning selection was 'pretty incredible' - also spoke to the press in Melbourne, and says that although he started the season slowly, he is encouraged by his recent form.

In the month of December, Maxwell made 91 for a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI against Sri Lanka while he recently smashed 82 for the Melbourne Stars in a Big Bash League fixture.

"I feel like I've been okay this year, I probably haven't had my best start to the season," Maxwell said.

"The Champions League (Twenty20, where Maxwell played for English side Hampshire) upset the start of my season and I missed a few Shield games. (That is) probably a bit regrettable now.

"But obviously I've made up for it by being picked for the Aussie A and the Chairman's XI game where I played pretty well. I think I've hit form at the right time."

Maxwell's chances of travelling to India, where Australia play four Tests in February and March, as the second spinner may depend on his performance in Sydney.

And he says he has taken lots out of working with leg-spin legend and Stars captain Shane Warne in recent weeks.

"I have been lucky enough to work with Shane Warne a fair bit over the last few weeks and he's been really good especially with the mental side of the game," he said.

"He (Warne) has helped me to slow down and take a few deep breaths, just work things over whether it be moving a fielder two steps over and then two steps back, sort of getting into the batsman's head a bit.

"He talked a lot about batter manipulation, just simple little things like that. He has been great to work with, just to delve into the mind that is the best spin bowler we have ever produced."


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