Australian all-rounder Shane Watson.
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. Sarah Harvey

Clark upset over orders to send cricketer Shane Watson home

SYDNEY Sixers general manager Stuart Clark was left fuming when told he had to send Shane Watson back early from the Champions League T20 tournament in South Africa.

Clark understood that Cricket Australia wanted the star allrounder to rest up and prepare for the coming three-Test series against South Africa.

But he couldn't understand why he was only told only recently that Watson needed some time off, throwing the Sixers' Champions League title aspirations in jeopardy.

However, Cricket Australia general manager Pat Howard yesterday said that both parties had been in contact since August about the governing body's plans to manage Watson's workload.

"Stuart and I first met in August and I said we were monitoring his workloads very closely," Howard said.

"This is a big series against South Africa. The reality is you can't play all the games in all the tournaments all the time.

"Last year he missed a lot of the summer ... and he'd played in the Champions League."

The first Test against the South Africans will start on November 9 at the Gabba.

Plenty of talk has focussed on who will be Australia's wicketkeeper/batsman - young gun Matthew Wade or veteran Brad Haddin.

Haddin was forced to leave Australia's Test series in the West Indies in April to be close to his sick young daughter, with Wade a more than admirable fill-in, scoring 106 in the third Test.

Australia's chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, admitted it was a difficult decision.

"Matthew is 24 and rising, and Brad turns 35 about now. Matthew's more for the future, but we're very focussed on who deserves it and who'll do best against South Africa," he said.

With both South Africa and Australia boasting some fearsome quick bowlers, Australia's coach Mickey Arthur said his batsmen need to perform to their full potential.

"It's definitely the two best pace attacks in the world going head to head, so I think it's going to be about the batters," he said.

"Which top six can adapt better, which top six is going to be more consistent over three Tests."