Hobart: Shane Watson has suffered a setback in his bid to regain fitness in time for Australia's Test series opener against India but he is still expected to recover in time for the big clash.
Watson, already sidelined from Australia's current series against New Zealand with a hamstring injury, is still on course to play in the first of four Tests against the Indians, Australia skipper Michael Clarke said on Thursday.
"Watto has got a light calf strain. It's put him a couple of days behind but we're confident he'll be right for the Boxing Day Test," Clarke said on the eve of Australia's second and final Test against the Black Caps in Hobart.
Clarke indicated that even if Watson's recovery prevented him from bowling in the Test starting on December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he would be chosen primarily as a batsman, if available.
"His batting is still a very big part of our team at the top of the order. He's been pretty consistent for us," Clarke said.
"But in the best-case scenario I would love him to be able to bowl as well because he's had a lot of success with the ball, especially particularly of late.
"Perfect world for us is both batting and bowling, but I think his batting is important to us."
Watson, 30, illustrated his worth as an extra seamer in the Australian attack when he captured five for 17 off 30 balls in the first innings of the Cape Town Test against South Africa last month.
Allrounder Watson has scored 2,135 runs and taken 56 wickets in 32 Tests.