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Watson must build on good starts: Slater

Watson must build on good starts: Slater
Former Australian Test opener Michael Slater said Thursday all-rounder Shane Watson must begin making big scores batting at the crucial no.3 position. Watson was dismissed for 25 runs on the second day of the second Test here Thursday, getting caught at mid-on by Shikhar Dhawan to spinner Ravichandran Ashwin while trying to force the pace.

It marked the 35th time in his career, the 33-year-old posted a score between 20 and 50, that highlights his inability to convert starts into big scores and questions his concentration skills. “It was just a loss of concentration. I don’t know if he was trying to get it up over the top or whether he was trying to hit the gap. It was a bit of a nothing stroke, even though he hit it crisply. You’ve got to get it away from the fielders,” Slater was quoted as saying cricket.com.au.

Slater said Watson’s poor form is not only a concern for the team but the batsman himself will be disappointed with his effort. “He’s going to be really disappointed with that. He’s such a good striker of the ball that at times he can get a bit one-paced. And I thought what he was doing quite nicely today was working the singles. There was a bit of subtlety to his game, which I think he can keep introducing and it would make him a better player. That’s a big miss, really, because he got himself going,” Slater added.

The former opener said it is imperative for someone who bats at the crucial No.3 position to perform. The right hander made 14 and 33 in the first Test at Adelaide. “He’s a quality player, but I think he’s got to show at No.3 that he can get that big score soon. That’s just a fact of life that when you’re in this position, you’ve got to perform. You can’t do it every time but you’ve got to be able to convert starts and at least start to trouble the scorers more often than not,” Slater said.

Warne lands in trouble for calling Starc ‘soft’
Never too far from controversies, spin legend Shane Warne (in pic) found himself at the centre of another one when he called pacer Mitchell Starc “soft” but had to offer an explanation after Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann took exception to the description. After Australia endured a tough day in Brisbane heat on the opening day of the ongoing second cricket Test against India, Warne singled out Starc, who went wicketless, saying: “He has to change his body language, it needs to be stronger, he looks a bit soft. He needs to puff his chest out a bit, look harder,” Warne said on Channel Nine during a commentary stint on Wednesday.

Other commentators such as Michael Slater and Mark Taylor also agreed with Warne. However, when Lehmann was informed about the comments, he didn’t seem too impressed. “Soft? He used those words? That’s very harsh. I will take it up with Shane myself.” However, Warne denied calling Starc soft on Thursday. “I never at any stage called Mitchell Starc soft. What I did do was say his body language and his presence gave the appearance of being nonchalant and he needed to improve on his body language, it all was a bit nice and soft and easy, not him. I stand by what I said because I agree with it,” Warne said.
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