Sore Watson unable to bowl in tour game

A sore Shane Watson has been rested from bowling in the opening game of Australia’s Ashes tour.

Watson is still feeling a little below par after touring the West Indies, where he bowled 16 overs, and medical staff have put the hulking allrounder on restricted duties against Kent.

Management are confident Watson will be right to roll his arm over next week, when the visitors face Essex in Chelmsford.

The 34-year-old will jeopardise his place in the XI for the opening Test, which starts in Cardiff on July 8, if he is unable to do so.

Selectors have previously told Watson he needs to be bowling to warrant selection.

Fellow allrounder Mitch Marsh failed to dazzle with bat and ball on day two of the tune-up in Canterbury, but he’s played four Tests and is in the 17-man squad for a good reason.

Watson was dropped during the World Cup to make room for James Faulkner, suggesting a stop-start international career that began in 2002 could be nearing an end.

However, he was recalled the following game at the expense of Marsh and found form with the bat in the one-day tournament.

Watson, who batted at first drop throughout Australia’s 5-0 rout of England in 2013-14, has been demoted down the order due to Steve Smith’s form.

The right-hander managed scores of 11 and 25 at No.6 in the Caribbean.

“He would have liked more runs,” coach Darren Lehmann said of Watson after the series.

“I thought he bowled really well … he had some pace back, which is pleasing. So he’s getting there.

“We want our allrounders making runs and taking wickets.”

Lehmann will almost certainly pick either Marsh or Watson in the XI for Cardiff, valuing the variety an allrounder offers the bowling attack.

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