Shane Watson says Moises Henriques can be an Ashes force

  • Peter Badel in Chennai
  • News Limited Network
  • February 24, 2013 5:48AM

SHANE Watson is keen to mentor Moises Henriques ahead of Australia’s Ashes revenge mission, believing the rookie allrounder can become a Test force following his impressive entry in the first Test against India.

Henriques has emerged as a potential Ashes X-factor after seven turbulent years of first-class cricket culminated in a cool-headed Test debut at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

The 26-year-old joked his legs “were like jelly” as he strode to the crease with Australia teetering at 5-153 on Friday, but his measured 132-ball knock of 68 vindicated the panel’s belief Henriques can be a consistent Test-match performer.

Confident without being overtly cocky, the first Portuguese-born cricketer to wear the baggy-green accepts he is far from the finished article, and that’s where Watson comes in.

Watson can see synergies between himself and Henriques. Both experienced the pressures of Next Big Thing tags. Both have battled a bevy of injuries. And both have walked a rocky path juggling expectation and consistent performance with the gruelling demands imposed by life as an allrounder.

“I can certainly help him in a number of different ways,” said Watson, who fell for 28 on the opening day of this four-Test series before watching Henriques perform a recovery mission with Michael Clarke.

“I can see an amazing amount of similarities between how ‘Mo’ and myself play the game and how his career has evolved over the last six or seven years as well.

“The way he bowls is quite similar to the way I bowl.

“Moises is a very observant guy and he asks a lot of questions as well. His game is very simple. I try to make my game as simple as I can as well.

“It’s really exciting. It’s great to see a younger guy coming through who has similar traits to how I play and I’m going to help out in any way I can.”

The Australian set-up is not alien to Henriques. He made his international one-day debut in 2009. But four years on, Henriques feels unfulfilled as an allrounder. Evidence of the improvements he must make stand right before him.

“I don’t have to look any further than the bloke I have in my dressing-room (Watson),” Henriques said.

“He has gone through some similar injury woes early on in his career. He’s had hamstring problems like I have and we both are a similiar weight and size.

“Shane is someone I not so much model myself around but I certainly look up to him in terms of his professionalism, rehabilitation and recovery and things like that.

“The way he goes about his business is what I want to emulate.”

While he was entitled to be satisfied with his debut Test innings, Henriques rued missing out on a maiden ton.

“I certainly think I had the opportunity to make it my best ever innings so it was a little bit disappointing,” he said.

“I could have been a little bit more ruthless at the end if I was going to be critical. But if someone said you’re going to have 60-odd on debut I’d take it.

“It was tough work, I got told a lot that after your first 20 or 30 balls it gets easier but it didn’t feel like it got too much easier out there.

“They (Indian bowlers) are very disciplined with what they do. It was a hard grind out there and I very much enjoyed the experience.

“But I wouldn’t say I was satisfied to be honest, once you get out there you just want to stay there and keep scoring more runs.”


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