Mumbai, Nov. 12 (ANI): Australian skipper Ricky Ponting rates Shane Watson as cricket's gun all-rounder.
Ponting predicted that Watson, being sound in body and having peace of mind, would be enshrined as the game's next crack all-rounder.
"The extended run he has had injury-free means he is starting to show everybody what a few us believed he was going to be able to achieve at international level," the Daily Telegraph quoted Ponting, as saying.
"His performances over the past few months have been pretty outstanding. There is a big difference in the team having someone who can give you quality batting at the top of the order and quality overs," he added.
A triple set of Test and one-day series against the West Indies, Pakistan and New Zealand will be the 28-year-old's playground.
"As far as offering balance to a side you need someone like a Kallis or Flintoff," said Ponting, thankful for Watson's 10 wickets at 22 and 256 runs at 42 in the one-day series victory against India.
Until you have that really good world-class all-rounder in your team, balance becomes really difficult. Shane gives us great balance," he said.
Meanwhile, Australia's all-round jewel in 44 Tests from 1953-63, Alan Davison, has pleaded with critics to "give Shane Watson time" to evolve.
"Shane Watson is a good example of someone who just needed some time to find his cricket feet," Ponting said.
"Take Sachin out of the game the other night at Hyderabad and Shane was probably man of the match. He had 49 at Guwahati and two wickets," noted Ponting.
"He is certainly playing very well and not just with his batting. He chipping in at crucial times with the ball as well," he said. (ANI)