India in Australia 2015-16 January 18, 2016

Watson not ready to go quietly


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Call up a pleasant surprise - Watson

On Saturday, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin will be conveyed around the SCG in open-topped cars to say farewell to the Sydney faithful at the end of their international careers. In Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth the same courtesy has been extended to Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers and Mitchell Johnson.

Missing from all this pageantry has been Shane Watson, also retired from Tests but not yet done with the limited-overs forms of the game. Omission from the 50-over side to face India had Watson concluding that his ODI days were done, but inclusion in the Twenty20 squad for the three fixtures that follow mean he is well and truly in line for a role at the World T20 in India. The open-topped car can wait.

"It came down to me really wanting to play for the Thunder and doing well for them over this BBL, and whatever happened from there with the Aussie side of things I wasn't worrying about it at all anymore," Watson said at the SCG. "After being dropped from the one-day squad I knew my international days were probably over, so it's nice to get that surprise and call from Rod Marsh yesterday.

"It's very nice to still be one of the old guys even though I don't feel that old, 34 didn't seem that old when I was playing but it is nowadays with the amount of cricket that's being played. But it's nice to know I can still contribute like I have over the last three or four games for the Thunder. That's the most important thing, that I know I can play my best like I did out here the other night. If that means I'm one of the old guys still playing, that's nice as well."

Playing in happy and successful teams is a motivator for Watson these days, something he has been able to be a part of at the Thunder and is hopeful to help maintain in the national team. The T20 captain Aaron Finch will welcome Watson's wealth of short-form experience, particularly as so much of it pertains to India, home to the IPL but also this year's edition of the global tournament.

"That would be the goal that's for sure," Watson said of the World T20. "Being played in India, that's something that we haven't played incredibly well at over the previous few tournaments, but in the end it really comes down to me hopefully playing for the Thunder this week during the finals if we're able to get through and just enjoying every moment. I know it's not too far away before those days are done, so I'm just making the most of every day I've got.

"It's nice to know I've had a lot of experience over in India, playing a lot of IPL tournaments and having some success over there as well. That was always going to give me more of an opportunity to get picked, but in the end it comes down to performance and lucky I've performed over the last couple of games."

Watson had started the BBL in rather grim fashion, with scores of 16, 1, 13 and a duck boding ill for his chances of receiving a call from Marsh. However, he had been working closely with his fellow allrounder Jacques Kallis on his technique and mental approach during that time, and a windfall sequence of 46, 18, 62, then 66 in the Sydney Derby, proved Watson was moving in the right direction. His bowling, too, has been effective for the Thunder.

"I've been very lucky to have one of the best batters to play the game in Jacques Kallis who's helped me out over the last month," Watson said, "just working through a couple of technical things that have had an incredible impact on my batting.

"To get back to batting how I have the last few games, especially here against the Sixers, which was the best I've batted in a long time, is great. Playing Twenty20 now I have to have the power game to be sure I can hit the ball over the fence and give myself the best chance. I've certainly been working on that."

As for what is left for Watson to achieve, his goals in the game are now more about fostering happy and successful teams rather than anything individual. He has enjoyed that experience at the Thunder, and either side of the World T20 he will be taking part in the Pakistan Super League for Islamabad United and the Caribbean Premier League for St Lucia Zouks. A fresh IPL deal, following the suspension of the Rajasthan Royals, is also on Watson's wish list.

"The thing that really drives me is playing for really good teams and franchises that want me to be there and I want to be there," he said. "The Sydney Thunder's certainly been that way, I love being a part of the Thunder, it's a great franchise, there's a lot of great people around it off the field but also on the field as well. We've got some great cricketers but some great people as well. That drives me to be able to perform at my best."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • HASAN on January 19, 2016, 16:12 GMT

    he is still good enough for ODI AND T20..but he was nvr even ok as a test player...for short forms he is still fit n good....shld keep.playing for another 2 3 years

  • Peter on January 19, 2016, 6:25 GMT

    I have sung Watto! Face it mate and bow out graciously

  • annoyed on January 19, 2016, 5:51 GMT

    @INDIANZEN, I will always nonsense like that funny. Watson won that battle against Wahab. Dropped or not the record will show that he fought through it and took his country through to the semi-final.

  • Wayne on January 19, 2016, 4:51 GMT

    Plenty to offer still. Tons of experience and has come good with the bat in the BBL. His bowling suits slow wickets. He'll field at mid on or mid off where he'll come in at the approaching ball and won't have to chase or move too far laterally. Maybe they can sub him out in the field due to a mystery "ailment" or the inevitable Delhi-Belly that requires him to leave the field for a protracted appointment with Dr Dalton ? He'll be very handy when the whips are cracking. I can see Australia giving this T20 WC a real shake.

  • ashok on January 19, 2016, 4:22 GMT

    Unfortunately Shane lost your respect after the incident with Wahab... You spit when Wahab was batting and got your back punctured when he was bowling...

  • John on January 19, 2016, 4:22 GMT

    Watson has always been a much better short-format player than test player, so this selection makes some sense. However, I'm curious about where he's going to field. There aren't usually too many slip fielders in T20 and when he runs you have to time him with a calendar. Where are they hiding him when he plays for the Thunder?

  • Ravi on January 19, 2016, 1:12 GMT

    I think he still has something to offer in T20. Not the other formats however T20 yes. As you dont often have many slips in place.

  • Phil on January 18, 2016, 23:16 GMT

    Watto's been good with bat & ball in the BBL and his experience in the sub continent will strengthen the AUS squad further. I think he's also a bit lucky that Moises Henriques is injured.

  • victor on January 18, 2016, 19:24 GMT

    If the T20 WC was being played In Australia, I wouldn't pick him, but since it's being played in India where Watson has a great record, both batting and bowling, his selection is smart. The team in India might resemble the current ODI team with an extra spinner and Watson replacing the wayward Marsh, whom it must be said, is no Watson either with bat or ball...Marsh, Warner, Smith, Bailey, Maxwell, Watson, Wade, Faulkner, Boyce, Hastings, Tye...

  • Drew on January 18, 2016, 17:07 GMT

    I definitely would not begrudge Watson a place in the WC T20 team. He will not disappoint and is certainly just as worthy of a place as anybody. To those saying Australia are looking for long term potential must remember the nature of T20 matches. Australia played only the single T20 match in 2015. There is NO international future for any player in T20 cricket. At least for Australia, these matches tend to get the treatment they deserve. In saying that, it is a world cup, so a good chance for Watson to end his career on a high, playing to big crowds for his country. He deserves a swan song.

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