It Was Tough Leaving Out Watson - Michael Clarke
Watson, who had a dismal average of 22.27 in the last one-year with just one fifty, was replaced by James Faulkner following his recovery from the side strain sustained during the tri-series final against England last month.
Despite not being a part of the line-up for the match, Clarke praised the all-rounder's determination to contribute as a senior player all through the day.
“I thought we handled it well,” said Clarke during the post-match press conference after his side’s emphatic 275-run win.
“It was obviously a tough decision for the selectors but the way he really contributed today, he had a good hit in the nets.
“He’s been fantastic around the group all day.”
The 33-year-old, who made a return from a hamstring injury during the World Cup game against New Zealand on Saturday, defended the decision to send other batsmen ahead of him, claiming that it was done according to the situation of the match.
“Well, there’s no doubt I wanted to bat but I thought it was in the best interest of the team.
“I kept my pads on, I was in next till about 11-12 overs to go.
“I thought we had a chance to have a real crack at that, the world record for us, the Australian team in World Cups.
“Decision was based on what was best for the team.”
There have now been 17 occasions in this edition of the World Cup, where a team has scored 300-plus scores with three being over 400. Clarke attributed this to the change in One-Day International rules and the advent of Twenty20 format.
“I think the fact that you have only four fields out instead of five makes a massive difference.
“Also the fact that you’ve got two brand new balls means that you’re hitting a much harder cricket ball whole way through your innings.
“So, they’re probably the main two reasons. I think Twenty20 in general has helped a lot of players in regards to power.
“Not just hitting fours and sixes but also hitting balls to different areas. I think Glenn Maxwell was a great example of that today.
“You’ve obviously seen Davey (Warner), Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers – they hit 360 degrees.
“With just four fielders out and two brand new cricket balls, it’s really hard to stop those sort of guys on their day.”
With scores in excess of 150 being more frequent now, the Australian captain reckons that with the new rules in ODIs and smaller grounds, there is a probability of a batsman scoring 300 as well.
“I can guarantee I cannot make 300 in a One-Day International.
“But someone like Davey or a Chris Gayle or AB De Villiers, on a smaller ground, I think they possibly could.
“You’d probably have to open the batting and then you have the full 50 overs. But in this game at the moment, who knows!
“We’re seeing so many different shots, different deliveries, so much power.
“I think there is a handful of players around the world that probably could do it.
“Hopefully it’s somebody from the Australians and not somebody against Australia that goes out to make 300.
“But I certainly couldn’t make 300 in a One-Day International, that’s for sure.”
Clarke also dismissed concerns over the fitness of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who bowled only three overs in the match.
“I think he’ll be fine, yeah. It had something to do with his boot.
“I asked him if he was alright and he replied that he was completely fine.
“So, it was just more about, he was coming in to bowl initially but just didn’t pan out that way.
“He’s perfectly fine.”
Meanwhile, opening batsman David Warner, who blazed his way to a 133-ball 178, denied being upset at missing out on the double-hundred.
“No, I’m not disappointed at all,” said Warner, who was also present with Clarke.
“I went out there trying to score some runs and managed to do that.
“We managed to put a big total on the board and then the bowlers obviously did their job. “
Warner also heaped praises on the Afghanistan bowling attack, seemingly impressed with their ability to generate extra pace off the pitch.
“I thought that the way they came back, not sure what the guy’s name is but he got up to 140-145.
“He was bowling yorkers and it surprised Smithy (Steve Smith) a little bit.
“I thought he bowled pretty well there towards the end in the powerplay.
“They got some yorkers right and couldn’t execute a few well.”
When asked why he couldn’t name the bowler whom he was praising, the 28-year-old replied in a typically amusing manner, leaving the press in splits.
“I can’t say his name, I don’t know it. It’s hard to pronounce.”
Australia's next World Cup campaign will be against Sri Lanka on Sunday in Sydney.
© Cricket World 2015