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Last Updated:  Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 06:54 GMT

Aussies hit by injuries
Michael Bevan receives treatment in Melbourne
Bevan was in agony
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will miss the World Cup after doctors confirmed he is suffering from a stress fracture in his back.

However, key batsman Michael Bevan, who injured his groin while batting in the second VB Series final against England in Melbourne on Saturday, might still make the trip.

A scan on Sunday revealed a groin muscle tear which is likely to keep him out of action for three weeks.

World Cup champions Australia start their campaign on 11 February against Pakistan in Johannesburg, South Africa.

That means the Australian selectors will have to decide whether to gamble by taking Bevan and hoping he will recover in time to play a major role in the tournament.

"It will probably be two to three weeks, which is good news from my point of view," Bevan said.

"I guess it means I will miss maybe two matches maximum of the World Cup if the selectors decide to go that way."

If Bevan fails to make it his absence would leave Australia facing a dilemma over his replacement.

They could go for the promise of Michael Clarke, who has only one-day appearance behind him, but there has already been speculation that they could turn to Test skipper Steve Waugh.

A third option would be Greg Blewett, a stylish batsman who could also contribute some useful overs of medium pace.

Bevan has scored more than 6,000 runs in 196 one-day games at an average of almost 55.

Currently seventh in the world one-day batting rankings, he is nevertheless widely regarded as the best 'finisher' in the game - the batsman most capable of seeing his side to victory when chasing a target.

The loss of 21-year-old Watson was a big disappointment for the selectors as he has been carefully nurtured with a view to playing in the World Cup since his debut last year.

They have called up Ian Harvey, a member of the 1999 World Cup-winning team, in place of Watson.

"I can't really sum up how I am feeling at the moment," said Watson.

"One minute it's disappointment, the next it's frustration, maybe even some anger at having been denied this chance.

"But I'm realistic enough to know that as an all-rounder, I can't afford to jeopardise my ability to bowl, so it's important to get myself right over time."





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Watson finds his feet
16 Jan 03 | Australia
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