|Player:||SR Watson, A Symonds, ML Hayden|
|Event:||Commonwealth Bank Series 2006/07|
DateLine: 8th February 2007
Four years after his first World Cup dream turned into a nightmare, injury-plagued Australian allrounder Shane Watson knows he has to make the most of his latest international recall. Watson was identified as a promising talent early in his career, but his time at the top level has been littered with frustrating and untimely setbacks. He was selected in the squad for Australia's victorious 2003 World Cup campaign but was ruled out by stress fractures in his back. After playing a key role in last year's Champions Trophy, batting at the top of the order, Watson suffered yet another setback before the Ashes and was ultimately ruled out of the entire series by a recurring hamstring problem. Having finally regained fitness, Watson has been recalled for the tri-series finals against England to replace injured fellow Queensland allrounder Andrew Symonds and he admitted he needed to take every opportunity with the World Cup looming. "I'm really confident in my game. I'm just really keen to get out there and show what kind of contribution I can make to the Australian team," Watson said in Melbourne on Wednesday. "When I was ruled out of the Ashes series, I knew the goal was to do everything I could to make sure I was ready for the World Cup. I missed the World Cup four years ago with my back injury, so I was making sure everything was right." Watson admitted he pushed himself too hard in a bid to be fit for the first Ashes Test, ultimately doing more harm than good. "Hindsight's a great thing. If it did happen again I probably would have rested for two weeks," he said. "It was one of those things that there was a carrot dangling there, to try to be right for the first Test, but in the end it costme a few months." Ironically, it was Watson's back injury that allowed Symonds to gain selection for the 2003 World Cup, in which he announced himself as a one-day star. "It's a sad irony of sport at times," Watson said. "For his sake, I got injured, and he got an opportunity and did very well, and now it might give me an opportunity. Fingers crossed his recovery will go very well and he can play a part in the World Cup." Having lost his opening spot to Matthew Hayden in the tri-series, Watson said he was happy to bat wherever needed, although he admitted a desire to return to the top of the order at some stage. The best-of-three tri-series finals begin on Friday at the MCG.