Cricket World Cup 2015: Shane Watson critics crank up heat after latest false start

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Shane-WatsonAustralians might have been stunned by the collapse of their much-vaunted batting line-up in the face of brilliant New Zealand bowling at the weekend but the fall of one particular wicket was no surprise to anyone.

Shane Watson, batting at number three, had scrapped his way to 23 runs off 30 balls in three-quarters of an hour when he took an almighty heave at a Daniel Vettori delivery and picked out Tim Southee fielding on the legside boundary.

The big Queenslander was certainly not to blame for the skittling that followed but exasperation at his ability to throw away a solid start to an innings was soon surging through the Twittersphere on a wave of bile.

Watson used to take flak for his inability to convert half centuries to centuries but recently his problem has been progressing from scores in the 20s and 30s, when a batsman is considered to have played himself “in”.

The 33-year-old all-rounder divides his compatriots like no other player and calls for him to be dropped from a side expected, by Australians at least, to win a fifth World Cup next month have reached fever pitch.

Australia`s selectors, however, have remained steadfastly loyal to Watson — when he has not been suffering from one of the many soft tissue injuries that have blighted his career.

In the dark days after the 2010-11 Ashes humbling, that loyalty may have been down to a lack of choice, but Mitch Marsh and James Faulkner are now genuine threats to Watson`s position as Australia`s premier all-rounder, in the 50-over format at least.