Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has decided to step back from his role as bowler during Test matches, saying he would rather focus on his batting and make sure he is at full fitness in one role.
The injury-prone player missed a few Tests at the end of last year with a calf injury, which prevented him from being able to bowl, though he could bat. He has now decided to make life easier for the selectors and put his name in the hat purely as a batsman, freeing up a place in the side.
Coach Mickey Arthur said: "Watto wants to come back as a batsman. He wants to come back into the team with a primary focus of batting. He feels every time he bats and then he gets injured bowling, he just loses a bit of momentum with his batting.
"Once he feels his body is going well and that he feels he's cemented his batting position, we will then take another look at how we want to go with Shane in terms of bowling.
"And that's a decision that only Watto can make. We'll be working very closely with him on that, because obviously Shane bowling a couple of overs is really good for us.
"Shane Watson absolutely loves bowling. He still wants to bowl, but his primary focus right now is to make the team as an out-and-out batsman."
Arthur also conceded that Watson could be moved up to open the batting, putting Ed Cowan's role in doubt. But the coach was wary to say anything specific about it, rather opining that Watson could bat anywhere in the top order.
He said of Watson as opener: "I guess if he's not bowling it's worth the consideration. I still maintain that No.4 was a really good fit for Shane Watson but that was (with) Shane Watson bowling some overs as well.
"We're lucky in that I think Watto can bat anywhere from No.1-6 in our order and has had some success there. Who knows? Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't (open) but it's probably too early to discuss it."