Hamstrung Watson confident of fitness for Ashes opener

SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has backed himself to be fit for the first Ashes test in two weeks and dimissed an untimely hamstring injury as a “niggle”.

Watson missed the 2006-7 Ashes series with one of string of hamstring injuries that have afflicted him over his career and sustained another in the series-deciding one-day loss to India in Bangalore on Saturday.

“It’s not too bad,” Watson told reporters on his arrival at Sydney, where he will have a scan later yesterday.

“I’ve had a few niggles like this even over the last eight or nine months, so hopefully it won’t be too bad at all or put me out for too long.

“My body’s really adjusting to bowling, it’s just an unfortunate little hiccup in the last game. It would’ve been nice to get home without any niggles.

“Being here it’ll give me a week or two to be able to hopefully freshen up and ready to go for the first test.”

The loss of Watson would be a major blow for Australia’s preparations for the opening test, which starts in Brisbane on Nov. 21.

The hosts have already lost two frontline seamers Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson to back injuries for all or part of the series, while a third, Jackson Bird, is also battling to overcome a lower back stress fracture in time for Brisbane.

Watson, who has been plagued with soft tissue injuries throughout his 46-test career, batted against India after receiving treatment from medical staff.

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