Australia in India 2013-14 October 8, 2013

Australia turn to Watson's experience for tips


If George Bailey's Australia have to displace India as the No 1 ODI side during their seven-match series, Shane Watson will have to play a big role. Not just with the leather and the willow that he is accustomed to, but more so in mentoring a squad that lacks experience at the highest level.

If Australia's final training session at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium before flying to Rajkot for Thursday's solitary Twenty20 international was an indication, Watson was ready for the challenge. The allrounder, who joined the squad on Monday evening following Rajasthan Royals' fruitful Champions League T20 campaign, appeared to be the sought-after senior during Australia's extensive practice session.

Almost everyone returning from his stint in the nets was seen seeking tips from Watson. And it was perfectly understandable since Watson's wealth of experience of playing in India dates back to Australia's triumphant Champions Trophy campaign in 2006. Adam Voges, who was among those who sought Watson's advice, admitted the latter would indeed wear the mentor's hat along with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin during the series.

"Shane is a senior player along with Brad Haddin and these guys bring a wealth of experience, particularly here in India," Voges said. "Shane has played a lot of cricket here and any tips that he can give to any of our guys, I am sure we all will be listening."

Having been on the road for a fortnight during Royals' dream run in the CLT20, Watson expectedly took it easy, only doing fielding drills early on. Once he was done with that, the most experienced international cricketer in the Australia squad of 14 switched to the mentoring role for the rest of the session.

First, he stood close to the fast bowlers' nets and was seen constantly passing on tips. He had a prolonged discussion with Mitchell Johnson, the only other squad member besides Watson with more than a 100 ODI caps, who is looking to cement his place in the Australia side. The duo appeared to be discussing gripping the ball and wrist positions.

Watson then walked across the outfield and stood behind the batsmen, observing whether his tips had had an impact on Johnson's bowling. Soon, he was joined by his Royals teammate James Faulkner and the duo was involved in yet another extended chat. After finishing the discussion, Watson sat down on a chair. For the next half hour or so, it became a free-for-all information session for all his team-mates.

If they follow Watson's words of wisdom and he repeats his heroics in the last ODI against England, Australia may well pose a serious threat to India's top ranking by the end of the series.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    @Swaroop Bhg.....ur 100% correct...i readed all of ur comments.....ur absolutely correct....watson is best allrounder in world in odis or t20' tests he will pick by any team 4 sure......watson can singlehandly win match's.....he dont fear spin n every1 knows how much he is good againest fast bowling...moreover indian fast bowlers are worest then any team....india dont hav any misterous spiner quality spiner lik sunil narayan or ajmal....aftr gayle....watson is best hitter in addition his an indian n im saying he is best player in world in odi's.....

  • subhasish on October 9, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    my 1st odi team is .1.finch.2.madison.3.watson.4.berly.5.voges.6.fargusion.7.haddin.8.countanal.9.duherty.10.makey.11.jhonson.

  • subhasish on October 9, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    i agree with u karnawat33 this series will be very close i think aus have vrey gud bowling attack at the moment but they need batsman like watson.berly two key players need to click and pick madison for odis he is a great talent and need to be back by the selector and clarke

  • Saransh on October 9, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    India are undoubtedly the World Champions at home. Australia, on the other hand are depleted, to top it off they are without Clarke. Barring the 3 match bilateral series Australia played out of which 2 games were washed out and India Won 1, India have never beaten Australia in a BILATERAL ODI SERIES since almost 30 years. The last time Australia came, they were injury plagued; but were with Ponting and Hussey. Over 7 matches they lost 8 key players to injury but went on to win the series 4-2 (One ODI was washed out). This is going to be a Thrilling Series and anyone who thinks India are going to outplay Australia will be proven wrong. It is advantage India BUT you can never rule out a side who play with the NEVER GIVE UP ATTITUDE and the FLARE OF CHAMPIONS, although it has been missing, but it is still in their blood. A green top means game over for India, so the Indian fans should hope that the board presents surfaces like "Motera" in every game for this series to be a contest.

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    It is going to be a whitewash. India are a much better side, well equipped to beat amateur aussie side. i dont see them penetrating the india batting line up n more than anything they will struggle to cope the middle overs of jadus n ash spin.

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    @MinusZero. Watsons last test match was a career best 170 odd. Thankyou.

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    @ dorothydix, correct.. for the past few years, australian cricket is only good at loosing matches n their immature journalists r good at making negative statements at their only man(watson) in the team. although he's is the best performer by far in the team when compared to the kids(warner, hughes, clarke, cowan, wade, etc) in the team. watson is world no.8 allrounder in tests, no.3 allrounder in odis, no.10 batsman in odis, no.1 allrounder in t20, no.3 batsmen in t20. he's the only australian in all those above mentioned icc world rankings. no other australian made it in the list. its just statistics. but everybody knows he's the best destructive batsman n allrounder in the world. this was shown in world t20 2012 when he single-handedly took aus to semis by winning all man of the matches awards.

  • Dummy4 on October 9, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    Don't underestimate Watto in his right mood, Aaron Finch , Glenn 'Big Match' Maxwell et al. And the solidity of Bailey. Also, don't underestimate the fact, most of the current OZ bowlers did well in Indian conditions -- both in IPL & CLT-20.

    If our current Indian team still do well, it is only the impact of blooding in the new breed of young fearless (no fear to lose) cricketers, in place of the old logs who started rolling down the greens, so slowly. So lethargically. With slow reactions and responses. They were still getting selected ( by the previous selectors) just for their batting or bowling alone; without realising that cricket has changed, and also demand better skills in the field.

  • John on October 9, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    @cricketsubh: it took me a while, but I finally worked it out: 'countanal' = Coulter-Nile. For a moment I thought I'd stumbled into another type of website altogether!

  • Michael on October 9, 2013, 1:25 GMT

    Imsrk: Despite your 3 consecutive comments, you lost all credibility when you said that 'Aus has no chance against zim or bd'. Australia is the number 2 ranked ODI side in the world (and 4 ranks higher than either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe in Twenty20). Sure, India will probably win the series and may do so comfortably, but saying they have 'no chance' against sides who they have performed substantially better than is just silly. You're also forgetting/ignoring that Australia beat India in the World Twenty20 last year, and beat England in the ODI series in September, so using your logic those teams are worse than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe?