Regrets for Watson as he ends Test era

Australia's Shane Watson.
Australia's Shane Watson.
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Australia all-rounder Shane Watson says he has lost the “fight” to continue his Test cricket career after announcing his decision to follow captain Michael Clarke into retirement.

Watson, 34, won 59 Test caps, the last of which came in the opening match of this summer’s Ashes at Cardiff where England won by 169 runs. He admitted yesterday that he had reached his decision to quit with a hint of regret.

Cricket Australia revealed Watson’s decision yesterday, coinciding with Watson being ruled out of the rest of the Royal London one-day international series by a calf injury sustained in the tourists’ victory at Lord’s on Saturday.

Watson said: “It’s been a decision that hasn’t come about lightly, over the past month especially, but I just know it’s the right time to be able to move on and still, hopefully, play the shorter formats of the game.

“I just know that I’ve given everything I possibly can to get the best out of myself. I just think it’s time to move on. I don’t have that real fight in me, especially for Test cricket knowing the lengths physically I have to go to, and mentally and technically as well, to be able to get back to my best again in Test cricket.

“I haven’t achieved certainly all the things I dreamed of achieving in Test cricket – average 50 with the bat and in the 20s with the ball. That’s obviously the dream as an all-rounder to achieve and obviously I didn’t get anywhere near that, but I do know I gave it everything I possibly could.”

Watson, an Ashes winner in 2013-14, began and ended his Test career in the Australia middle order but it was as an opener that he enjoyed most success in the five-day game.

First pressed into the role during the 2009 Ashes in England, Watson made a success of the promotion and stayed at the top of the Australian order for over two years before spending the rest of his Test career in varying roles. Between his regular opening stint and retirement, he batted in every slot in the top six. His Test career ends with a haul of 3,731 runs at 35.19, including four centuries, two of which came in Ashes contests. With the ball, fast-medium bowler Watson took 75 wickets at 33.68.

Australia head coach Darren Lehmann paid tribute to Watson, recalling the player’s “outstanding” contribution both on and off the pitch.

“Shane has been a fantastic servant for Australia in Test cricket and he has had a terrific career in that format,” said Lehmann. “He has been an outstanding contributor to the team on and off the field and a great thinker on the game.”