Cricket Australia Items/news/2012/10/15/watson-call-best-for-the-team

Watson call 'best for the team'

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 2:29PM AEST | by Adam Lucius, Omnisport

Australia captain Michael Clarke has defended the controversial decision to order Shane Watson home from the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa.

Concerned the star all-rounder was at risk of burning out for the second year running due to a heavy playing schedule, CA general manager/team performance Pat Howard told Watson he must return to Australia after playing just three matches for the Sydney Sixers.

It means the brilliant match-winner, who guided the Sixers to victory over the Chennai Super Kings on Sunday, will miss the final group game and the finals, should the Sydney side qualify.

Clarke fully endorsed Howard's move ahead of home Test series against world No.1 South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The skipper said at CA's season launch on Monday: "I'm keen for Shane Watson to get his body right so he can perform throughout these Test series.

"Cricket Australia are learning from areas we probably didn't do as well as we wanted to last year.

"Watto didn't play one Test match last summer so we're trying to rectify what we did and give ourselves the best chance of success.

"It's not about the individual player; it's about doing what's best for the team.

"For me playing for Australia would be the main priority and I know Watto pretty well and I'm sure it's the same with him."

As one of the few players representing in all three forms of the game, the in-form Watson has been Australia's busiest cricketer over recent months.

But a similar workload last year sidelined him for the entire summer of Tests and CA is desperate to avoid a repeat.

CA boss James Sutherland told Omnisport Watson was simply too important to risk.

"Shane is a really important player for us and he's had a pretty heavy schedule recently," he said.

"I think the experience of last summer shows us we need to keep a really close eye on him.

"It's about giving him the best chance to be ready to play Test cricket."

Watson is the only Australian Test player facing a recall from South Africa, with Mike Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Starc free to see out the tournament.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 15 October, 2012 5:19PM AEST

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