Keen to remain a bowler ... Shane Watson. Photo: Getty Images
DAYS after being unfit to roll his arm over, Shane Watson is readying himself to take up the slack in Perth and contribute even more than usual with the ball to assist tired Australian pacemen Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
An injury scratching for the first two Tests against South Africa, the all-rounder and vice-captain is a key bowling asset, particularly if Australia decide to enter Friday's third and final Test at the WACA with only three fast bowlers.
Watson, missing with a calf strain in Brisbane and Adelaide, returned to bowling in the training nets during the second Test and sent down six overs in practice on Tuesday before flying to Perth.
Given the physical ordeals Siddle, in particular, and Hilfenhaus put themselves through in the Adelaide draw, Watson is prepared to be more than simply a support act for captain Michael Clarke if the recuperating pair are retained.
''Absolutely, I understand that could be a possibility and at the moment that's the biggest challenge for Ben and Peter for their mammoth effort in [the] second innings to be able to freshen up as quick as they can,'' Watson said on Wednesday.
''I do understand there will be a possibility of me bowling as many overs as I need to, to be able to help the team hopefully win … I'm certainly fresh over the past couple of weeks compared to some of the other guys that have been out there so my body should be right.
''I'm certainly going to be up to bowling as many overs as Michael wants, and probably the normal sort of workload, really, that I bowl in a Test match. Things have progressed really well over the past week - so ready to go.''
Barring any last-minute mishaps the series decider - which doubles as a unofficial world championship play-off, with the winners to walk away as the world No.1s - will be Watson's first Test at home since the forgettable Ashes of 2010-11.
A hamstring tear, then a more serious calf injury, put a line through him for the entire home calendar against New Zealand and India last summer. His latest setback has not proved as problematic, yet the 31-year-old has still been called on to give bowling away.
Watson, however, is not straying from his long-term stance.
''Not unless something goes very horribly wrong, I wouldn't want to give up on bowling,'' he said. ''[It's] one part I love of the game - I know it puts more pressure on my body to be able to play consistently but it's something I just love so much, and have loved doing since I was an all-rounder since I was a young kid. That's the ultimate enjoyment for me - to play as an all-rounder.
''Mentally, the injury setbacks are frustrating at times, but it doesn't take away the love of being able to contribute with bat and ball.''
Watson insists there is no relationship between his bowling output and where he lines up in the batting order. The additional rest time since his move from opener has been beneficial, too, he argues.
''The amount of overs compared to where I bat, I don't think they have a correlation at all,'' he said. ''In the end when I was opening, the amount of overs I bowl was going to be similar to me batting at three anyway … more so batting at No.3 gives me a bit more opportunity to be able to freshen up mentally or physically.''