Shane Watson must stop bowling like he’s running on egg-shells and be prepared to go down swinging with the bat, says Allan Border.
The former Australian captain on Tuesday backed under-fire allrounder Watson to retain his place for this week’s second Ashes Test at Lord’s but said he should be put on notice.
After the comprehensive defeat to England in Cardiff, calls have come thick and fast for 34-year-old Watson to be dropped in favour of younger allrounder Mitchell Marsh.
Border felt selectors should avoid over-reacting to the loss and stick with the same players but stern words were needed with some – “particularly Shane, saying, ‘look, it’s now or never mate, we need some more performances from you’.”
“He’s in the side as an allrounder now, so with his bowling, he’s bowling like he’s running on egg-shells, like he’s going to break,” Border told Fox Sports.
“I think he’s just got to let himself go. If he breaks, so be it.”
With his batting, Border said it was difficult at this stage to be making technical adjustments necessary to avoid being hit on the pads so often, lending to his long history of lbw dismissals.
“But he just has to be more positive at the crease and, if he’s going to go down, go down swinging.”
Border viewed Watson as a talent unfulfilled.
“We know the talent he possesses when he’s playing at his best. It’s a compelling argument, he brings to the table so much,” said Border.
“But he just hasn’t reached those lofty heights often enough for my liking.”