Shane Watson has reportedly been dropped for the second Ashes Test.
Fairfax Media said on Tuesday that Mitch Marsh will play in the Lord’s clash that starts on Thursday, when Australia will attempt to level the series 1-1.
Such a move by national selectors could mean the end of Watson’s 59-Test career.
“This is a big decision. My gut feeling is they’ll probably go with Mitchell Marsh,” Steve Waugh told Sky Sports, prior to news of Watson’s omission breaking.
“A guy at that age… when he’s played a long time, when you make a decision like this now – it’s pretty much final.
“There’s probably no way back from being dropped now.”
Marsh clubbed eye-catching centuries in tour games against Kent and Essex that preceded the Ashes opener.
The 34-year-old Watson was preferred for the first Test, but Darren Lehmann admitted he was “very close” to losing his place in the XI.
Watson was trapped lbw twice in that match, which Australia lost by 169 runs.
It extended the allrounder’s slump with the bat, meaning he has passed 50 in only two of his past 16 innings.
“Again it’s going to be a tight call heading into the second Test. We’ll wait until we get to London and have a look at how everyone pulls up,” Lehmann said of Marsh’s chances of a recall earlier this week.
“We’re not going to panic.”
England seamer Stuart Broad recently suggested he’d be shocked if national selectors lost patience with Watson.
“I’m sure he’ll play (at Lord’s). I don’t have any doubts,” Broad said.
“Shane Watson has given us a lot of trouble in the past.”
This is Watson’s third Ashes tour and winning the urn in England is the only accolade missing from his CV.
Watson, speaking in the lead-up to the first Test, noted he was “well past worrying about where things are at” regarding his place in the XI.
“Being in and around these situations before, I know you can’t worry about things too much,” Watson said.
“All that matters for me was being able to spend some quality time in the middle.”
Watson lost his place in the one-day side during the World Cup, only to return the following game and play a pivotal role in the knockout phase of the tournament.