Clarke - Watson is No.1

Aussie skipper adamant Queenslander is the right man for the job

Last Updated: 04/10/11 10:24am

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Clarke is backing Watson to come good with the bat in South Africa

Clarke is backing Watson to come good with the bat in South Africa

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Australia captain Michael Clarke insists Shane Watson is the right man to open the batting on the forthcoming tour of South Africa, despite the all-rounder's recent lean series in Sri Lanka.

The responsibility of opening in all formats of the game, as well as bowling for his nation, appears to be taking its toll on Watson, who managed just 85 runs in three Tests in last month's 1-0 victory in Sri Lanka.

"Right now, I think he's best for the team opening the batting and that's certainly where he'll bat in South Africa."
Michael Clarke Quotes of the week

In a recent interview, Watson said moving down the batting order might reduce his workload and suit the side, but captain Clarke believes otherwise.

"My mind hasn't changed since Sri Lanka," Clarke told reporters.

Tough

"Right now, I think he's best for the team opening the batting and that's certainly where he'll bat in South Africa."

Australia will travel to South Africa to play two Twenty20 internationals, three one-dayers and two Test matches from October 13 to November 21.

And Clarke is expecting a tough examination from the Proteas in only his second tour as permanent Test skipper.

"Playing anybody on their home soil is always harder because you know your conditions so well but... I'm confident if we're at our best, we can beat any team anywhere in the world," he added.

"They have had a lot of success in their own country, so it's as tough a challenge as you face in world cricket, no doubt."

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