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Watson may get needle to aid an Ashes start

Shane Watson is confident he will be fit for the first Test against England, with acupuncture sessions looming as his secret weapon to overcome a hamstring injury.

A scan on a sore hamstring will determine if the all-rounder gets the all clear for the Ashes opener at the Gabba on November 21, but he was optimistic on his return from India on Monday, describing his latest injury concern as ''not too bad''.

He is expected to resume working closely with Australian team doctor Peter Brukner, the former head medico at Liverpool Football Club, in the lead-up to the first Test and says the highly respected sports physician's techniques, including acupuncture, have been key to allowing him to overcome similar fitness hiccups this year.

''If it wasn't for Doc Brukner and his techniques, I wouldn't have been able to play the consistent cricket that I have because the niggles I have had would have put me out for one or two weeks, whereas now I am able to manage it and play through them,'' Watson said.

''The techniques he has got like acupuncture, dry-needling to release the tension in my muscles … it's part of my routine every day when I'm playing all the time. It has made a huge difference to my body.''

Watson's arrival on Monday was his first time back in Australia since he left for the Indian Premier League in April.


Since then, he has played more top-level cricket than any other Australian, staying on the park through a long stretch from the IPL, Champions Trophy, the Ashes, the Twenty20 Champions League and limited-overs series in England and India.

Speaking before his hamstring played up in the final one-dayer against India in Bangalore, he said he knew remaining fully fit would continue to be a challenge, but was thrilled with how much cricket he had strung together in the past six months.

''It's given me the belief that I can play a lot of consistent back-to-back cricket and that little niggles, I've got more chance of being able to play through them,'' Watson said.

''It doesn't mean I will, it doesn't mean things won't pop up in the future, but to know I have played through a few things in the last six to eight months has been something I'd really only dreamed of.''

Watson defended Australia's choice to play him through the one-day series in India so close to the Ashes and said he remained determined for bowling to be an important facet to his game.

''In the end, any cricket is good cricket,'' Watson said. ''The cricket that was played over in India, especially for the batters, it was a great challenge, for the bowlers it was a lot of hard work.

''We certainly aren't underdone for cricket, that's for sure.''