Gilchrist defends Watson after Australian cricket fans dismiss captaincy credentials
A vast majority of Australian cricket fans have written of Shane Watson's captaincy credentials after the vice-captain was tipped to lead the Test team in the Melbourne Test against Sri Lanka if Michael Clarke fails to recover from injury, but former wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist believes captaincy can bring the best out of the all rounder.
Watson will be officially ordained as Australia's 44th Test skipper if Clarke fails to overcome a hamstring complaint in time for the Boxing Day Test.
Watson was installed as Clarke's deputy in March 2011 after Ricky Ponting quit the captaincy, but doubts linger over his leadership ability given his already onerous responsibilities with bat and ball.
According to a News Limited online poll yesterday, 65 per cent of respondents answered 'no' to the question: Is Shane Watson Test captaincy material?
Among the concerns are Watson's tactical ability and his own form issues with the bat after twin failures of 30 and 5 in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Blundstone Arena.
Gilchrist, who piloted Australia to their first series win in India for 35 years in late 2004 after an injury to skipper Ricky Ponting, believes the daunting job can bring out the best in Watson.
"It was a daunting challenge which ultimately I was glad to take on and I think Shane, if he was given the opportunity, would look at it in a similar light," News.com.au quoted, as saying.
"I expect he would be capable but we can't be sure until he does it. What makes it hard is the perception, even internally, that you might not be up to the job," he added.
"I just tried to do it without making any big statements and I think Shane would adopt a similar approach," he said.