London, Sep 6:
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson on Sunday announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect, bringing an end to a 10-year-long career marred by inconsistency and injuries — the latest being a calf injury.
“I announce my retirement from Test cricket today with a heavy heart. Playing for my country has always been an absolute privilege, and there is no more challenging environment than Test cricket,” Watson said in a statement.
In 59 matches, he scored 3731 runs at 35.19 average, a tally that places him 25th in the list of all-time run-scorers for his country. That tally includes four hundreds and 24 fifties, while he also took 75 wickets at 33.68 and held 45 catches.
“I have given my all to be the best I can be, physically, technically and mentally, and while I have not always achieved the personal goals that I set myself in Test cricket, to have played over 50 Tests and to have captained my country is more than I ever dreamed of,” the 34-year-old said.
Watson called time on his career Test career after he sustained a series-ending calf injury in Saturday’s controversial 64-run One-Day International (ODI) win over England at Lord’s.
Prior to this he was benched after the first Test of the Ashes series that the visitors lost 2-3.
“On this tour I have seen how the next generation of young Australian cricketers are ready to take the game forward,” Watson, who made his Test debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2005 against Pakistan and made his final Test appearance at Cardiff in the first Test, said.
“Cricket has given me so many incredible things in my life and now it’s time to focus more of my time to give back to the game I love so much. I am looking forward to helping to develop the next generation of cricketers at the youngest of ages who are the future of the game.”
The right-armer will, however, continue to be available in both the ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
“I hope to continue to represent my country in both shorter formats of the game, and I believe that I still have a significant amount to contribute,” Watson, who captained Australia in one Test, against India in Delhi in March 2013, hoped.
Australian head coach Darren Lehmann said: “Shane has been a fantastic servant for Australia in Test cricket and he has had a terrific career in that format. He has been an outstanding contributor to the team on and off the field and a great thinker on the game as well as a hugely talented cricketer.
“Behind the scenes he has done so much work with our younger players and that has been something that has really impressed me. His determination to be the best he can be over more than a decade in the longest format has been an example to everyone and we look forward to him continuing to contribute in limited-overs cricket in the time to come.”
Captain Steven Smith said: “It has been a pleasure to play alongside Shane and he has been a huge influence on my career and the team as a whole. (Playing) 59 Test matches for Australia is an incredible achievement and he can be extremely proud of everything he has done in the game in the longest format.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to play alongside him in ODIs and T20Is.” (IANS)