Johannesburg - Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has been ruled out of the first Test against South Africa starting on Wednesday after a slow recovery from a calf injury.
Watson did not bowl in an inter-squad practice match at The Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday, but did bat, making 34.
However, team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said he would be fit enough to face the Proteas after he picked up the injury at the team's training camp in Potchefstroom a week ago.
“He batted yesterday and was fine, and we've been building up his intensity. Today we were trying to get him up to match level ... and he struggled with that today. He could feel it,” Kountouris told reporters on Saturday.
“We just don't think he he's going to be right for the first test. We need a few more days now to let him recover and start up again.
“It's not a tear, but he has got an injury there. We've had a scan and it showed he's got a low-grade muscle injury that we've been managing. We were hopeful he'd recover, but it needed to be a little bit more advanced than what it is at the moment.”
The first Test starts at SuperSport Park near Pretoria on Wednesday, with the second following in Port Elizabeth on February 19. That date will be the next target for Watson.
Australia have already lost all-rounder James Faulkner and batsman Shaun Marsh from the original squad selected the tour, which includes three tests and three Twenty20 internationals. – Reuters