No straining in training for Shane Watson

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TIME TO RELAX: Australian cricketers during the practice session at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. — Photo K. Bhagya Prakash
TIME TO RELAX: Australian cricketers during the practice session at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. — Photo K. Bhagya Prakash

Hearing a cricketer say he is wary about over-training while sitting in a luxury hotel is the kind of talk that can enrage fans trying to hold down far less well-paid jobs.

But in the case of Australia's Shane Watson there are reasons for the all-rounder making sure he doesn't use up all the excessive free time the champion has at this World Cup with endless net sessions.

The 29-year-old's international career has been blighted by a succession of injuries and the opening batsman and medium-pacer is well aware of just how much his suspect body can stand. I am very conscious about the amounts I have to train because of my previous issues,” said Watson.

“I just do enough to make sure I'm in a decent place going into the game, but in the end making sure I'm fresh going into the game rather than over training,” he said.

Australia has been handed a curious schedule at this World Cup.

It had to wait eight days to play Sri Lanka last weekend, only for the match to be a no-result wash-out, and now has a seven-day gap before facing Kenya at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Watson, who started off as a middle-order batsman before being promoted to open during the 2009 Ashes series in England, was happy to be back in India — the country where three years ago he gained the belief he could endure the rigours of Test cricket.

“It was a big turning point to know that my body could actually get through Test cricket for four Tests back-to-back and to be able to bowl a significant amount,” said Watson.

Watson has endured a long history with injuries — back stress fractures, hamstring strains, calf injuries, hip problems and a dislocated shoulder at various points in his career.

“As an athlete and especially where I've been previously, to be able to get through a series like I did here was definitely a big achievement.”

Watson's World Cup workload is eased by the fact bowlers in One-Day Internationals are restricted to a maximum of 10 overs per match. And with Australia's fast bowling trio of Shaun Tait, Brett Lee and left-armer Mitchell Johnson leading the way for the champion, Watson has no complaints.

“We are in a very good place at the moment,” he said. “It definitely makes my job as a bowler a fair bit easier as well with those guys bowling as beautifully as they are at the moment.”

Watson is also enjoying the challenge of opening for Australia, a position recently occupied by now retired fellow Queenslander Matthew Hayden. “I love opening the batting. It does suit me and my personality now,” said Watson, who in two innings at this World Cup has made scores of 79 and 62 in wins over Zimbabwe and New Zealand respectively.

“And my bowling workload's been continually well managed, I've been able to get through 18 months now (almost completely without injuries). For me, when I'm opening I've got the freedom in my mind to be able to go out there and back myself.” — AFP

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