Shane Watson announces Test retirement
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect after picking up a calf injury that has ended his tour of England and Ireland.
He will continue to make himself available to play Twenty20 and One-Day International cricket for Australia.
Watson made his Test debut in 2005 against Pakistan but his early international career was interrupted by a series of injuries, and he would go on to play just eight Tests between 2005 and 2008.
Making a recall to the side in 2009 as an opener during the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston, he subsequently flourished as a top-order batsman and went on to play a total of 59 Tests.
He scored 3,731 runs at an average of 35.19 with four centuries and 24 half-centuries while also taking 75 wickets, often offering Australia control with the ball as well as a wicket-taking option.
His best of six for 33 with the ball came against Pakistan in 2010 and his highest score of 176 came against England in 2013.
His retirement means he has become the third member of this year's touring Ashes squad who have confirmed they will not play Test cricket again following the retirements of Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers.
Elaborating on the decision, Watson revealed that it was not easy to make the call, especially after having lost the Ashes to England last month.
Admitting that it was an emotional time, Watson said that the decision was taken by keeping in mind the best interests of the team and his family.
"It’s been a decision that hasn’t come lightly, over the last month especially.
"I know it’s the right time to move on and still hopefully play the shorter formats of the game, one-dayers and T20s.
"I've been through a lot of different waves of emotion about what is right for myself, my family and most importantly the team as well.”
Having been through plenty of injuries throughout his career, Watson confessed that he no longer had it in him to go through the rigors of Test match cricket.
"Over the last couple of days there was a lot of clarity (for me) of what the right decision was.
“I just know that I've given everything I possibly can to get the best out of myself.
"I just know it's the right time to move on.
“I don't have that real fight in me, especially for Test cricket, knowing the lengths physically that I'd have to go through, mentally and technically as well, to be at my best in Test cricket, so I just know it's the right time."
Despite starting his career with a lot of promise, Watson’s statistics in Tests do not reflect his true potential as an all-rounder.
Conceding that he was not able to achieve the heights he had dreamt of, Watson felt proud that he was able to give his best shot every time he took the field.
"I haven’t achieved all the things I dreamed of achieving in my Test career," Watson said.
"Averaging 50 with the bat and in the 20s with the ball, that’s obviously the dream as an all-rounder to be able to achieve, and I didn’t get anywhere near that.
"But I do know I gave it everything I possibly can to be able to get the best out of myself. That’s what I’m most proud of."
Iterating that there was no single moment which acted as the catalyst for him to make the decision, Watson stated that he had spoken to his friends and family before making up his mind.
"It wasn't really one exact moment, because I've been through a lot of different mindsets.
"I've been very lucky to talk to a few people over the last month, but especially the last few days, who have just given me that little bit of clarity; my family, but one (close friend) in particular who went through himself in his career so he just provided a little more clarity about what the right decision was."
With the retirement of Watson, the 23-year-old Mitchell Marsh is most likely to be selected as the long-term prospect for the all-rounder’s spot in Test matches for Australia.
© Cricket World 2015