Johannesburg, Dec. 5: Australian coach Mickey Arthur believes Ricky Ponting’s retirement opens the door for Shane Watson to drop further down the batting order, but does not indicate that contenders would replace him.
Despite establishing himself as a Test opener in recent years, there has been speculation about Watson’s best role in the team and his ability to continue to perform with both bat and ball given his long injury history.
He only bowled nine overs in each innings in Perth but Arthur said the retirement of Ponting, who batted at four, offered the opportunity to drop the powerful right-hander down a slot for the Sri Lanka series.
“Without wanting to name names, it will probably be a guy who will come in and bat three and possibly a move for Watto at four. It just looks right and gives us a bit of stability,” Sport24 quoted Arthur, as saying.
“We’ve got in our minds who we think the guy is, but we still need to discuss that as a selection panel and then sit down in Hobart next Monday when we arrive there and make a decision on what our preferred batting order is going to be,” he added.
While the coach did not want to anoint Ponting’s replacement, the man himself nominated Quiney, who played in the first two Tests against South Africa before making way for Watson, the report said.
Hughes, the leading Sheffield Shield run-scorer and second highest domestic one-day run-maker this season, and Khawaja are also in the hunt to take the spot for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart on December 14, it added. (ANI)