Australia's star all-rounder calls time on his Test career after poor Ashes series
London: Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has retired from Test cricket. The 34-year-old won 59 Test caps, the last of which came in the opening match of this summer’s Ashes at Cardiff where England won by 169 runs.
Shane Watson. Pic/Getty Images
Watson made 30 and 19 with the bat, and failed to take a wicket, causing him to lose his place for the rest of the series.
Cricket Australia announced Watson’s decision on its website yesterday. It coincides with Watson being ruled out of the rest of the ODI series by a calf injury sustained in the tourists’ victory at Lord’s on Saturday.
Watson, an Ashes winner in 2013-14, told teammates of his Test retirement yesterday morning.
The decision follows Australia Test captain Michael Clarke’s move to retire from all forms of cricket in the wake of the Ashes series defeat in England.
‘Right time to move’
Watson said: “I just know it’s the right time to move on. I don’t have that real fight in me, especially for Test cricket, knowing the lengths physically that I’d have to go through, mentally and technically as well, to be at my best in Test cricket, so I just know it’s the right time.”
Watson began and ended his Test career in the Australia middle order but it was as an opener that he enjoyed most success in the five-day game.
First pressed into the role during the 2009 Ashes in England, Watson made a success of the promotion and stayed at the top of the Australian order for over two years before spending the rest of his Test career in varying roles.
Between his regular opening stint and retirement, he batted in every slot in the top six. His Test career ends with a haul of 3,731 runs at 35.19, including four centuries, two of which came in Ashes contests. With the ball, fast-medium bowler Watson took 75 wickets at 33.68.
A limited-overs specialist, Watson has suffered with a series of injuries in recent years, but hopes to play on for his country in the shorter formats.
Making the decision...
He is convinced that leaving Test cricket behind is the right step forward for his career.
“It’s been a decision that hasn’t come lightly, over the last month especially,” Watson said. “I know it’s the right time to move on and still hopefully play the shorter formats of the game, one-dayers and T20s.
“I’ve been through a lot of different waves of emotion about what is right for myself, my family and most importantly the team as well.
“Over the last couple of days there was a lot of clarity (for me) of what the right decision was. I just know that I’ve given everything I possibly can to get the best out of myself.” Australia head coach Darren Lehmann paid tribute to Watson, recalling the player’s “outstanding” contribution both on and off the pitch. “Shane has been a fantastic servant for Australia in Test cricket and he has had a terrific career in that format,” Lehmann said.
“He has been an outstanding contributor to the team on and off the field and a great thinker on the game as well as a hugely talented cricketer. Behind the scenes he has done so much work with our younger players and that has been something that has really impressed me.
“His determination to be the best he can be over more than a decade in the longest format has been an example to everyone, and we look forward to him continuing to contribute in limited-overs cricket in the time to come.”
Captain Steve Smith said Watson, who ended his career placed 25th in the list of all-time run-scorers for his country, had had a big impact on his own career.
2013 The year in which Shane Watson last scored a century in Test career
3 The number of half-centuries Shane Watson scored in his last 18 innings
Debut: 2005 vs Pakistan
Highest score: 175