Shane Watson’s brilliant form at the World Twenty20 has him primed for a great summer, but his workload needs to be carefully monitored, according to captain George Bailey.
Plagued by injury for much of his career, Watson was rested before the World T20 in Sri Lanka and responded with match-winning performances with bat and ball in Australia’s run to the semi-finals that earned him the player of the tournament award on Sunday.
The opener topped the run-scoring list with 249 at an average of 49.80, including three half-centuries.
Watson also claimed 11 wickets at 16.00, second on the bowling list behind Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis (15 victims at 9.80).
“Watto’s form was one of the reasons that we qualified so easily into the semi-finals, he really set the tone,” Bailey said on Monday.
“It was great to see. He had that break, he missed the one dayers in Dubai and just came back refreshed and really looked like he was a man on a mission and hopefully that sets him up for a good summer.”
Bailey said Watson would be a key player for Australia this summer as they host Test series against South Africa and Sri Lanka, and limited over series against new World Twenty20 champions West Indies and finalists Sri Lanka.
But with crucial tours of India and England coming up in 2013, Australia’s T20 skipper said Watson needed to be carefully monitored to ensure he stayed fit and played at his best.
“Australia’s (good) Test form last summer was without him so you add what he can do into that team and it became a really destructive side,” Bailey said.
“At his best, and we certainly saw him at his best for the last few weeks, he is one of, if not the world’s best allrounder and it is good to see.
“I know when he came back in he was really focused and driven and I know that that time away from the team, that time off, really refreshed him and he was looking forward to getting back and playing.
“We certainly saw the best out of him there so whether he learnt a little something about himself going forward and how much cricket is going to be played over the next two years, whether he does sit out the odd tournament just to freshen up to get his body right to do what he needs to do (is worth thinking about).
“Because injury wasn’t on his mind (in Sri Lanka). He was very fit and healthy and just ready to focus on his cricket on this occasion.”