AUSTRALIA all-rounder Shane Watson took a blow to the head during training at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday and is said to be “a bit shaken, but ok”.
The 33-year-old was hit on the helmet from a James Pattinson delivery in the nets session as Australia prepare for the Boxing Day Test against India, while Mitchell Starc also suffered a nasty blow while batting at the MCG.
Pattinson’s short ball floored Watson as he landed on his backside before slowly removing his helmet and walking out of the nets. Following the incident the New South Wales fast-medium bowler was said to be visibly shaken before being assessed by team doctor Peter Brukner.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson said the dazed Watson was “shaken but otherwise okay” while vice-captain Brad Haddin later confirmed his team-mate had escaped unscathed.
He told www.cricket.com.au: “I had a chat to him - he’s a bit shaken, but he’s ok.
“It’s just getting hit in the head - he’s just a bit shaken.
“He’s shaken as anyone would be. I can’t really go into any more details because there’s no more details to give.”
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In light of Phillip Hughes’ untimely death last month, Watson’s knock underlined the heightened emotional reactions to batsmen being hit in the head or helmet at this time.
Watson was playing for NSW on November 25 when the Hughes was struck by the ball that led to his tragic death and he spoke earlier this month about the difficulties he faced in preparing mentally for the Test series against India.
He said: “It’s been the most challenging, mentally, couple of days I’ve had to go through in my career. Trying to process everything that happened, especially being there at the SCG.
“Some guys are a bit more affected than others, but every session we were out there you can see everyone starting to gradually find their feet and getting back to what we love doing. There’s a lot of inner demons we’ve had to find our way through.”
The pressure is mounting on Watson to make runs during this four-match series which Australia now lead 2-0 - he has made 72 runs at an average of 18 in two Tests - and there will be more expectations on his broad shoulders given his fellow all-rounder Mitch Marsh has been ruled out of the third Test due to injury.
Just 10 minutes earlier - batting in the nets alongside Watson - Starc was hit on his knee, and limped out of the nets.
But Haddin joked: “I think he’s trying to get out of having to bowl. He’s all right. He just hit the ball onto the inside of his knee.”
Australia take on India in Melbourne starting on Friday before the final Test of the series in Sydney from January 6.
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