Watson fit for captaincy task
HAS Ipswich produced the next Australian cricket Test captain?
The question will be answered at the MCG this morning after days of discussion over Michael Clarke's fitness.
Ipswich product Shane Watson, the Australian vice-captain, is in line to lead the team against Sri Lanka in the Second Test should Clarke fail a fitness test.
Dad Bob, who still lives in Ipswich with Shane's mum Barbara, did not think Shane had spent his time concerned about it.
"I don't think it is weighing on his mind," Bob said, preparing to watch his son play the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
"But obviously he's been thinking about it.
"There's no point in worrying too much about it."
Should Clarke be ruled out, Bob has every confidence in his son's ability to captain the Test team.
He has led the Aussie one-day team and guiding the Test side is a natural progression.
"I think he'll do pretty good," Bob said.
"He seems to have good man-management skills and natural leadership skills.
"Obviously there's the tactics side of things as well but he's been around long enough."
Bob doesn't think his son will be weighed down by the responsibility should Shane get the job.
When the chance came to lead the one-day side he grasped it enthusiastically.
"He liked that," Bob said. "He really did."
I personally thought it might be a bit too much with his all-rounder responsibilities. But it didn't seem to worry him too much.
When asked what seeing his son lead the Australian Test team onto the MCG would mean to father and son, Bob struggles to find the words to do it justice.
"It's the ultimate in cricket really," Bob said. "More so for the Boxing Day Test, which seems to be the big thing.
"To be captain is unbelievable.
"It's something you dream about but don't expect it to happen.
"It's something special.
"I never imagined it in my wildest dreams.
"You don't expect to captain Australia in anything, let alone a Test match."
As for Shane bowling 47 overs in the First Test in Hobart, Bob said his son took it in his stride.
"I think a lot of people were surprised he got through without any worries," Bob said.
The injury sustained in the match to opening bowler Ben Hilfenhaus highlighted Watson's indispensable all-rounder's role.
Yet Bob believes he remains best suited to opening the batting.
He is a realist enough to know that will not happen while his bowling remains so successful.