All-rounder Shane Watson’s chances of playing in Australia’s second cricket test against South Africa appear to be fading after he admitted he is unlikely to be able to bowl.

Watson batted in the nets and performed some light fielding drills on Monday as he attempted to demonstrate his fitness to the Australian selectors ahead of the test which begins at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

The 31-year-old missed the drawn first test in Brisbane with a calf muscle injury.

Watson told reporters later Monday he hoped to be selected for the Adelaide test on his batting ability, but “bowling is out at this point in time.”

Australian high performance manager Pat Howard last week said Watson was unlikely to be selected unless he could both bat and bowl.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarity later moderated that position, saying Watson would be considered as a specialist batsman, but only if he demonstrated an ability to play a long innings.

Watson said he believed he could hold a place among Australia’s top six batsmen, but he conceded there were ongoing fitness concerns.

“I’m confident of my ability in what I can do,” Watson said. “I certainly do love my batting at the top of the order, but words don’t mean anything.

“All that matters is what you’re able to do out on the field. If I get the opportunity, I’ve got to get out there and score runs because that will prove it.”

Watson said he has a way to go to prove he is fit enough to play a test match.

“I need to make sure I am ready to handle a test match,” he said. “I know how important this match is to everyone involved and the viewing public as well, so I need to make sure I am as good as 100 percent to give myself the best chance of getting through the test without stirring it up again because that would be the worst case scenario if that happened.”

(This article was published on November 19, 2012)
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