Cricket Australia (CA) selector and former India coach, Greg Chappell believes that Shane Watson is the most important component of Kangaroo's bid to defend the upcoming World Cup in the sub-continent.
Chappell while signifying the role of the 29-year-old said, "He's critical to our chance of success. If he performs well, it's more likely that we'll do well."
Watson with an aggregate of 435 runs at an impressive average of 48.33 was one of the few bright spots in Australia's floundered Ashes contest which saw the hosts go down 1-3 to traditional rivals, England.
He again proved his worth on Wednesday when he single-handedly almost took the hosts over the line during the series opening Twenty20 match against England, which ended in a last ball victory in favour of the visiting team.
"He would probably be the hardest player to replace in our line-up at the moment," said Chappell while hailing the all-rounder's effort.
"I think the modern cricketer has to be much more adaptable than ever before because of the three formats. I suppose if you're looking at the quintessential modern cricketer Shane would fit that bill," the selector told Sydney Morning Herald.
Emphasising on the flexibility factor which the talented cricketer imparts to the team, Chappell said, "The fact he can bat in the top six and bowl does a hell of a difference to the balance of a side. The fact that he plays all three formats is important and is capable of adapting a game to each format.
"He's a very important player. I wouldn't like to put a number on it but he is certainly very important because of all those things," he added.
With the enormous responsibility on Watson's broad shoulders, the only impediment to his progression can be an increased susceptibility to an injury. However, Chappell said there were no plans to rest the all-rounder during the seven-game ODI series against England.
"I think he wants to play every game he can at the moment, we're happy to accommodate that," Chappell insisted.
"He'll get a break after the IPL for a few months so hopefully he'll get through the period until then," he said.
Watson was retained by Rajasthan Royals for the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a sum of $1.3 million.
Chappell though added, "If we felt the workload had been extremely heavy at any time we'd suggest it to him but we have no plans of doing that at the moment. All in all, we as a selection panel are very happy to have him at the moment."