Watson must be fully fit to be selected: Ponting
Ricky Ponting does not think Australia vice-captain Shane Watson should play in the second Test against South Africa here on Thursday if he is not 100 per cent fit
Watson did not feature in the first Test in Brisbane after succumbing to a calf strain he sustained while bowling for New South Wales in a Sheffield Shield match just days prior to the series opener.
The 31-year-old confirmed on Monday he could not bowl if selected and would concentrate on proving his fitness as a batsman. The bustling all-rounder trained in the nets yesterday before he was put through a number of fitness exercises and tests.
Ponting said Watson looked comfortable while batting but was restricted to slips catching when it came to fielding drills.
The former Test skipper reaffirmed that Watson would not receive a late recall if he was struggling before Thursday’s start, suggesting his selection would heap greater pressure on the Australian side.
“No one can go into a Test match 70 per cent fit. I don’t care if you’re a batsman and a slip fielder. If you can’t bat at 100 per cent, then you are putting pressure on other blokes as well,” Ponting said.
“It doesn’t matter what we think as team-mates, he will have a certain lot of criteria he will have to pass.
“There will be a certain amount of running he will have to do along with other things to prove that he’s right to play a Test match. Someone has got to run with him between wickets and I’m sure that will be in the back of his mind — and certainly in the back of the mind of our physio and doctors — that are looking after him for the next couple of days.
“I believe he did some extra running last night and I’m not sure if he is planning to do that today but they will tick all the boxes to make sure he’s right to play.”
A decision on Watson will be taken today or Thursday morning, although Rob Quiney who made his Test debut in Brisbane is expected to retain his place.