He’s been jeered by fans and had video compilations made in honour of his 29 lbw dismissals.
But Shane Watson has received strong backing from teammate David Warner as his Test future teeters on the brink following the first Ashes Test defeat.
With pressure mounting for selectors to replace allrounder Watson with in-form Mitch Marsh for the second Test at Lord’s starting on Thursday, Warner spoke up for his veteran colleague, pointing out all the Australian batsmen had struggled on the Cardiff wicket.
“I feel he (Watson) is in a great space at the moment,” Warner told Sky Sports Radio on Monday.
“These conditions are quite challenging for everyone … he’s going fantastic. He’s doing everything right and the other day from everyone’s standards, we all got ourselves in and didn’t go on with it. It’s as simple as that.
“I think he’s a great asset to our team.”
Watson was sent packing leg-before in both innings of Australia’s 169-run Ashes opener loss in Cardiff, via deliveries from Stuart Broad and Mark Wood for 30 and 19 runs respectively.
The 34-year-old now has 29 lbw dismissals to his name from his 59-Test career and has only passed 50 twice in his last 16 innings.
He also failed to take a wicket during the 12 overs he was given with the ball.
Coach Darren Lehmann refused to guarantee Watson’s place in the side and said it’s a “tight call” picking between the former vice-captain and Marsh, the seam-bowling allrounder 11 years his junior who clubbed two centuries in warm-up games against Kent and Essex.
But just as Marsh is a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings, Warner hailed experience and an ability to lead as key attributes Watson brings to the team.
“He brings a lot of experience to the team and helps a lot of the younger players out,” said Warner, who was snared for 52 by Moeen Ali in Sunday’s final innings.
“And experienced players as well – I’ve always gone to him and spoken to him about little things in general, about coming into big series, how does he go about things and how you can learn off him.”