Australia news March 30, 2015

Watson hopes for more ODI hurrahs

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Australia celebrate World Cup win with fans

As Shane Watson walked out onto the MCG with nine runs needed to win the World Cup final, he stopped and shook the hand of Michael Clarke, the outgoing batsman. Clarke and Watson are both 33, were once captain and vice-captain together, yet have never been bosom buddies. Here they were, about to win a World Cup together, one finishing his ODI career, the other clinging on.

That Watson was at the crease when the winning runs were struck against New Zealand was a remarkable turnaround. Less than a month earlier, he had been axed from the one-day side for the match against Afghanistan in Perth, Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner preferred as allrounders and Watson's 13-year ODI career seemed to be coming to an end.

But a recall against Sri Lanka four days later, led to a score of 67 in Australia's win and Watson's unbeaten 64 in the quarter-final victory over Pakistan in Adelaide was especially important. Watson survived a fiery spell of bouncers from Wahab Riaz, including being dropped at fine leg, but stuck out his innings and played an important role in Australia's progression.

As the Australians celebrated their World Cup triumph on Monday at a public event in Melbourne's Federation Square, Watson reflected on his up-and-down campaign. Asked if he wondered what might have been had he failed to get through that Wahab spell, Watson conceded he had been fortunate.

"I had a lot of luck, especially through those first few overs, to get through that innings," Watson said. "I'm glad I did get that luck because it worked out well, for not just me but the team as well. It's the most important [ODI innings] I've played. I had a lot of luck through that stretch, but it was the most important innings that I have played at home. To be able to get through a semi-final - I knew how important it was to stay in."

Shane Watson, having contemplated the end of his tournament, was at the crease when Australia won the World Cup © Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Watson soaked up the atmosphere around the packed MCG during the final on Sunday, facing five balls for his two runs as Australia cruised to victory. He did nothing silly and was thrilled to see Steven Smith hit the winning boundary with seven wickets in hand, securing Watson's place as a two-time World Cup winner after he was part of the 2007 triumph.

"We still had 20 overs to go. I wanted to make sure I was there at the end, to think I had a chance to be there in a World Cup final at home, whether I hit the winning runs or not, it was very special to be there when it happened," Watson said. "I wasn't going to get out playing a reckless shot trying to hit the winning runs."

While Marsh's emergence as a Test player will maintain the pressure on him in that format, Watson hopes there will be further chances for him in the one-day game and that he will not be following Clarke in having the 2015 World Cup final as his last ODI.

"I hope the selectors continue to pick me," he said. "Even when I got dropped, for me personally I knew it wasn't the end. I knew I was very close to being able to turn it around. But I was very lucky to get another opportunity. Hopefully I've still got a lot of really good cricket left in me."

Watson, Clarke, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson were the only Australians from the 2007 World Cup-winning squad to repeat their triumph this year, and Watson said both events had left indelible memories.

"The first one was very special in the West Indies, but to be able to play a World Cup at home and win here is what dreams are made of," he said. "We're very lucky to have been born at the right time to be able to play in this. For us to play as well as we have this whole tournament and win, dream come true."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on March 31, 2015, 4:37 GMT

    @MINUSZERO: Watson wasn't required to bowl more than an average of 4 overs in the games because Australia went in with 5 other bowling options. It's true that he hasn't had the impact as a bowler that he had earlier in his career, but he still regularly bowls and is a bit more than 'part time' - he bowled in each of Australia's matches in the World Cup, and averaged 6 overs during the Tri-series in January (which was more than Maxwell, Marsh or Hazlewood in that series ).

  • Dummy4 on March 31, 2015, 1:39 GMT

    Watsons you spoke about every thing except aged legs.

  • Harvey on March 31, 2015, 0:06 GMT

    Of course being dropped wasn't going to be the end, selectors seem to have some un-natural attachment to Watson. He will probably be selected for another 5 years yet!

    Hopefully, the selectors did learn something from the WC. Watson is not a number 3. If he is selected for the test side (and he shouldn't be), Smith should be 3 and Watson down the order.

    Also, the "all-rounder" term should be rethought if bowling an average of about 4 overs in a game is considered all-rounder and not part-timer. That's all Watson did in the WC.

  • anil on March 30, 2015, 18:45 GMT

    Nope there ain't gonna be, unless you play in Oz and call Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Better retire.

  • Steve on March 30, 2015, 12:28 GMT

    Watson should take this winning moment to bow out of the game. Even he knows that his performances were just about adequate to barely cling on to his spot in the team. Unless he happens to be a captain, there is no guarantee he will be played every match if Aus selectors take horses for courses approach. Now, that's not the kind of player selectors will be investing on when he is reaching end of his career.

  • Jake on March 30, 2015, 7:37 GMT

    SAMWINTSON92. I agree with everything u say other than as an opener for IPL. He's better down the order in test and 50 over games. I think the same would apply in 20 overs.

  • Sam on March 30, 2015, 5:51 GMT

    Shane Watson should target to feature in WC 2019. By then he will be 37. I feel it's right time now that he quits test cricket in order to prolong his shorter formats career & remain injury free. Plus in this edition IPL, he must open for Rajasthan Royals with Ajinkya Rahane.

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