'Bad apples gone, we are focused now' - Shane Watson
Shane Watson, the new Rajasthan captain, believes the spot-fixing controversy last year was a case of a "couple of bad apples", and has spoken of the betrayal the team felt when the scandal came to light. Three Rajasthan players were caught in the alleged spot-fixing scandal last year. Two of them - Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan - have been banned for life. Ajit Chandila continues to be under investigation.
"When those three players came out involved in spot-fixing, I and everyone associated with the team certainly felt betrayed," Watson told Mid-Day. "We were doing everything we possibly could to give ourselves the best chance of winning games, and to feel like a couple of people in our team were doing things to make winning those games more difficult was something that I had not experienced in my playing days.
"There's no doubt that this horrendous situation has brought us as a team closer than what we were before. With every bad experience, one learns from such challenging situations and gathers a lot of strength from them, and we certainly did."
Watson admitted there will be extra heat on his team, but said the malaise didn't run deeper. "There's obviously a bit more spotlight on us because of the spot-fixing situation last year," Watson said, "but as a franchise, we feel that a couple of bad apples are gone now, so we are wholly and solely focusing on the people we've got around us. We are going to do everything to give ourselves the best chance to perform well on the big stage."
Watson said they had got over the distraction, and that they were not worrying too much about how to clear their image. Performance, he said, should take care of that. "It's not on our mind whatsoever to try and get other people to forget what happened. It's more about us coming together and providing the entertainment that we did even in the Champions League to show people what a quality team we are, and that's all we care about. In the end, that's what the owners and management care about too."