Watson announces Test retirement
Shane Watson has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect, Cricket Australia announced on Sunday (September 6).
Watson said a spate of injuries – the latest being a calf strain that ruled him out of the remainder of the One-Day International series in England – forced him to call time from the longest format.
“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,” Watson said. “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.
“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.”
That means, Australia, who are likely to be without David Warner and the recently retired Chris Rogers for the Test tour of Bangladesh, will have to field a new opening combination.
It was reported in the Australian media that a thumb injury to Warner could have potentially translated into a Test comeback for Watson, who was dropped after the Ashes opener in Cardiff following scores of 30 and 19.
Watson was replaced in Australia’s XI by Mitchell Marsh, who impressed with the ball, returning a match haul of 5 for 86 in the team’s consolation victory at The Oval. “It wasn’t really one exact moment, because I’ve been through a lot of different mindsets,” Watson said when asked if being left out in the summer triggered his decision.
“I’ve been very lucky to talk to a few people over the last month, but especially the last few days, who have just given me that little bit of clarity; my family, but one (close friend) in particular who went through (something similar) himself in his career so he just provided a little more clarity about what the right decision was.”
Watson enjoyed his most prolific year as a Test batsman in 2010, when he made 897 runs in 11 Tests, including eight half-centuries and a century. That earned him the Allan Border Medal the following year. Then in 2013, he nearly went a notch higher, scoring 810 runs in 12 Tests, with his highest coming in the Ashes finale, where Australia were playing for pride.
Watson also captained Australia in one Test, against India in New Delhi in March 2013, after the infamous ‘Homework gate’, where a number of players were either left out or sent home by then coach Mickey Arthur for failing to comply with team orders.
Watson, who has had a stop-start Test career since making his debut against Pakistan in Sydney in January 2005, retires with 3731 runs in 59 Tests an average of 35.19. He made four centuries and 24 half-centuries, with his highest of 176 against England at The Oval in September 2013. He also picked up 75 wickets.