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Watson unlikely to play in Adelaide
By Ben Horne
17:41 AEST Mon Nov 19 2012

Shane Watson is fighting to be in the frame as a non-bowling selection for the second Test in Adelaide, but it appears more than likely Michael Clarke and the selectors will take the safety-first option and leave the Australian vice-captain out.

Watson is battling to overcome a calf strain in time to face South Africa on Thursday and although he remains hopeful of being able to contribute as a batsman, the 31-year-old understands the risk might be too great.

The injury-prone all-rounder said his primary goal was to reach a point where he can showcase his talents with both bat and ball and admitted breaking down mid-Test would be "the worst-case scenario for everyone".

Watson batted in the nets and got through some light jogging without incident at training on Monday, but knows the nature of his injury will give him nowhere to hide if things go wrong in a pivotal Test against the world's No.1 side.

"You use (your calf) in everything you do. At times with hamstring injuries and other injuries you can protect it a little bit more, where as calf injuries (you can't)," said Watson, who didn't play in Brisbane.

"The experiences I've had I know they do take a little bit more time to get right.

"I'm definitely going to have to up the intensity over the next couple of days.

"I know how important this Test match is to everyone involved.

"I certainly don't want to let the team down."

Since his five-day debut against Pakistan in 2005, Watson has missed more matches than he's played - participating in 35 out of a possible 84 Tests.

With a Sri Lanka series to come, he doesn't want to risk inflaming the injury and missing a second consecutive Test summer.

The Adelaide Oval wicket is notoriously tough for bowlers on the first couple of days of a Test, and Watson accepts his inability to bowl might count against him because extra man-power could be required to help out the attack during a long day in the field.

Rob Quiney bowled 11 overs in his debut Test at the Gabba, and although his medium-pacers aren't likely to be the deciding factor at the selection table, it won't hurt his chances of holding onto his place at No.3 in the batting line-up.

"No doubt the Adelaide Oval is usually fairly conducive to run scoring, so the bowling options will certainly help Michael out if things don't go exactly to plan," Watson said.

Last week there was confusion surrounding Watson's current standing in the Test team, when Cricket Australia high performance manager Pat Howard suggested he wasn't amongst Australia's top six batsmen and would need to bowl to make the side.

At the naming of the squad for Adelaide, Chairman of selectors John Inverarity denied that was the case.

Watson claimed on Monday he hadn't been told either way whether he would have to bowl to play, but in many ways he backed up what Howard was saying.

Although confident in his ability to make the team solely as a batsman, Watson said full fitness for him meant being able to bowl as well.

"The thing I love primarily is being an all-rounder. I know that's my value to a team more so than primarily the batting," said Watson who also denied experiencing tension within the team because of his injury battles.