Don't rush Watson back: Maher - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Don't rush Watson back: Maher

By Jim Morton 30/01/2007 04:09:04 PM Comments (0)

Queensland skipper Jimmy Maher has warned against rushing Shane Watson back into the Australian side despite an ultra-successful Pura Cup comeback.

Watson took 3-60 and scored an unbeaten 46 in his long-awaited return from hamstring problems to be a rare shining light in a badly-beaten Bulls outfit at the Gabba.

West Australian skipper Justin Langer highlighted the all-rounder's "stand-out" batting performance on a cracking wicket as his teammates succumbed for 133.

"He was like bowling to a brick wall," the former Test opener said.

But rather than push him straight back into international action, Maher said Watson should have another Pura Cup hit-out to galvanise his strength and confidence heading towards the World Cup.

Queensland plays its next Pura Cup match against South Australia starting February 9, the same day as Australia's first tri-series final in Melbourne.

The selectors must decide whether to continue Watson's gradual progression back into the game through domestic cricket or give him World Cup warm-up time in the tri-series or Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

After giving him 12 overs over two days against Western Australia, Maher felt it was in the 25-year-old's best interests to have a longer stint at the bowling crease before being called up for higher honours.

"He'll need to have a proper hit-out where he's bowling 18 or 19 in a day and then backs up and does it again, for his own peace of mind," he said.

"I think he'll want to do that, obviously he will want to play for Australia, but his next target would have to be the World Cup.

"I think last time he was bitten a bit and so was Australia in that he rushed back too quickly."

Watson sunk to his lowest ebb this season when he re-injured his troublesome hamstring last month attempting to prove his fitness for the Boxing Day Test by playing against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Believing he was now returning at the right pace to peak at the World Cup, starting in March, Watson says he isn't fazed whether he remains with the Bulls in February or is selected for Australia.

"For me the most important thing is just to be back getting through games of cricket," he said.

"My goal when I re-injured myself was making sure I was right for the World Cup so whichever way the selectors think is the best way to come back, I'm in their hands.

"Fingers crossed it will just be a progression to the World Cup."

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