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Watson no longer an automatic pick for Aussies

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 3:00 AM

PERTH, Australia (AP):

All-rounder Shane Watson might have played his last one-day international for Australia after he was axed from the side that beat Afghanistan by a record 275 runs in the Cricket World Cup yesterday.

Watson, 33, has been an automatic selection by Australia, but struggled in the first two matches against England (duck and 0-13) and New Zealand (23 and didn't bowl). Watson has only one half-century in seven games this year and has paid for the team's strength in depth at his third World Cup.

Australia picked all-rounder James Faulkner instead at the WACA ground and retained fledgling allrounder Mitchell Marsh alongside him.

"Watto handled the decision well," skipper Michael Clarke said. "He has been fantastic around the team today. He's taken it really well."

When asked about Watson's future, Clarke said: "It is up to the selectors to make that decision."

Australian chairman of selectors, Rod Marsh, said dropping Watson was a tough call.

"But it's one we thought we had to make, because in Shane's last 10 one-day games, he's got 220 runs at an average of 22," Marsh said. "Unfortunately, he's been getting starts, but he hasn't been going on with it.

"We had to fit James in, and someone had to go. He might have to rely on someone else's lack of form or an injury to get back in. Spots are tough to get in the Australian team at the moment and that's the way we like it.

"If hard decisions have to be made, we have to make them."