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The Age

Watson could match Kallis, says Arthur

Mon September 24, 2012 12:35am

Shane Watson can be as good as Jacques Kallis, coach Mickey Arthur says.

SHANE Watson, the powerful and emotional Australian who has made two Test centuries, can be as good as Jacques Kallis, the strong and silent South African who has made 43 of them.

That is the assessment of Mickey Arthur, the Australian and former South African coach, who has made it his mission to help in-form Watson take his Test game to the next level.

The Australian vice-captain has been the most influential figure at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka so far and produced his second man-of-the-match performance in the rain-affected win over the West Indies on Saturday night.

Arthur challenged Watson in Dubai this month to stand up and dominate the tournament. He responded with 51 and 41 not out with the bat and regular breakthroughs with the ball, including the critical wicket of Chris Gayle.

Now Arthur has challenged him to make a similar leap in Test cricket, in which he has made 18 half-centuries and converted twice in 35 matches.

''Without a doubt he can [be as good as Kallis]. Watto is such an incredible all-rounder,'' Arthur said. ''He has a major impact on any game he plays in. What he needs to do is score hundreds. Jacques Kallis' record in Test cricket is sublime, especially with the bat.

''Watto is aware he needs to convert a lot more starts. He's only got two Test hundreds which for a player of his talent is probably below-par and he would acknowledge that.

''One of my roles with Jacques was to try to get an extra 10 per cent out of him because there was an extra 10 per cent lying dormant somewhere. I think he's done that, and it's very, very similar with Watto.

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