MELBOURNE: Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has urged selectors to be patient with the rookies in Steven Smith’s team as they battle to cement places in the wake of a string of retirements.
Watson, former skipper Michael Clarke, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, opener Chris Rogers and seamer Ryan Harris all retired from tests after the Ashes defeat in England and Smith will lead a raw side during a two-match series in Bangladesh next month.
Australia selectors have been criticised for lacking patience in the past and deflating the confidence of rising, young talents by dropping them after a handful of matches if they fail to perform. Watson, who was dumped after the first Ashes test in Cardiff and never reinstated, said selectors needed to play the long game with the rebuilding side.
“The best way to get the best out of players is to give them some time to be able to find their feet and feel comfortable in the group,” Watson told Sky Sports Radio.
“They are the best players that they can pick from at this point in time.
“They’ve got to go with what their judgments are to make sure they stick with these guys.”
Selectors have picked Usman Khawaja in the 15-man squad to tour Bangladesh, a nine-test opening batsman who was recalled for the 2013 Ashes in England then dropped midway through the series after scoring a half-century in the first match. The 28-year-old enjoyed a productive tour of India recently with Australia A and has long been fancied as a test player but never quite managed to compile a career-defining score.
“He’s someone that just needs a bit of time to get his feet again, feel comfortable in the groove and continue to develop his game,” Watson said.