Sydney: Australia coach Darren Lehmann said on Saturday he is confident Shane Watson will be fit to play in the Ashes series opener against England later this month.
The experienced all-rounder is nursing a hamstring injury he picked up during Australia’s recent tour of India, raising concerns that he could miss the Test opener at Brisbane starting on November 21. But Lehmann said Watson was making good progress and was in line to play at the Gabba.
“The reports from our medical team on Shane’s recovery from injury are pleasing,” Lehmann said in a Cricket Australia statement. “He is making good progress and responding well to treatment. If that continues, we have confidence that he will be fit for the first Test.”
Lehmann said Watson would miss New South Wales’ Sheffield Shield game with Queensland this week.
“We won’t be taking any chances with his preparation,” he said. “We want him to continue his treatment and, if all goes to plan, join the Australian team in camp ahead of first Test in Brisbane.”
Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said this week he was quietly confident Watson would be ready, describing the injury as “a low-grade muscle strain”.
“He will have intense treatment and rehabilitation and just how well he responds to this will determine how quickly he can resume full training and match preparation,” he said.
Hamstring injuries have been common for the former vice-captain — he missed the 2006-07 Ashes campaign with one — and there has always been a question over how to balance his workload as an all-rounder.