Ponting: Watson the one?
Ricky Ponting insists all-rounder Shane Watson could become a Test opener for Australia.
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 28/08/07 10:23am
Ricky Ponting insists all-rounder Shane Watson could make an opener for Australia in Test match cricket.
The 26-year-old has endured a torrid time with injury, missing much of last season with a hamstring problem.
But as the world champions prepare to depart for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 tournament, talk has turned to a long-term replacement for retired opener Justin Langer.
Phil Jaques and Chris Rogers have been touted for the role, but Australia's captain believes Watson and fellow all-rounder Andrew Symonds could both be accomodated in the Test team.
"We've got some excellent competition for quite a few spots in the side," Ponting said.
"The opening batting is probably the one that has been the most spoken about over the past few months.
"Maybe Watson and Symmo can play in the same side, but if that happens, Watson's got to bat up the top of the order somewhere.
"He has given every indication that he could do that. That's one of the dilemmas that we have."
After being in Twenty20 action Australia take on India in a one-day series in October before welcoming Sri Lanka for two home Tests.
Having seen Shane Warne take the world record for Test wickets to 708 before his retirement, Ponting is eager to prevent Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan breaking that record in November.
"That will be our major goal - trying to make sure he doesn't break Warnie's record here in Australia," Ponting added.
"If we do that, we go a long way toward winning the series.
"I think he's come out here in the past and said we play him better than any other country, so the challenge is there for us again."
Murali trails Warne's mark by just eight wickets though heading into the series, and will expect to take the mantle of the world's best spinner either in Brisbane on November 8 or in Hobart, Tasmania, on November 16.