Feb 172013

CHENNAI: The verbal duels have finally started. After Manoj Tiwary, India A’s centurion, claimed that Australia would lose badly if they kept on playing the way they did in the practice game on Sunday, it was Shane Watson’s turn to hit back.

“Manoj Tiwary? Oh yes, he scored a century today…but is he there in the first Test team? I don’t think so. So why bother about what he says?” Watson quipped, with the smile still intact.

It was a hard day’s work for the Aussies, where they conceded 451 and were 131-4, losing all four wickets in the final hour to the India ‘A’ spinners Jalaj Saxena and Rakesh Dhruv. The only Aussie batsman who looked confident was Watson, racing away to 84, before nicking one to ‘keeper CM Gautham off left-armer Dhruv.

It was clear that this Australian line-up isn’t ready to counter quality spinners on a turning track and Tiwary’s words must have rubbed salt into vice-captain Watson’s wounds. But the gritty Aussie was not ready to concede an inch. “With Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey retiring just ahead of the series, we knew it won’t be easy. But the guys who are here are all capable players. They are in the team because they have scored runs in all conditions,” he said.

But for Watson, there wasn’t an attempt from the Aussie top-order on Sunday to go after the Indian spinners, and when somebody asked whether the team should look to take a cue from Kevin Pietersen and adopt an attacking approach, the right-hander said: “Pietersen was quite magnificent against the Indian spinners and I completely agree that counter-attack is the way to go. But we have to be judicious in our approach as well.”

Watson, along with Michael Clarke, has the experience of playing in Indian conditions and he is looking to pass that on to the other guys as the series goes on. “Yes, I have played in India quite a lot. So the knowledge will pass on to the others,” the burly cricketer added.

All-rounder won’t bowl: Watson’s success in India had a lot to do with his bowling, but the all-rounder confirmed that he wouldn’t bowl in the series. “I will play only as a batsman. I’ve come back from an injury and have been advised not to bowl for now,” he revealed.

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