Chennai v Rajasthan, IPL 2013, Chennai April 22, 2013

'I was half-capacity without my bowling' - Watson

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shane Watson's hundred, the first of IPL 2013, might have gone in vain as Chennai Super Kings chased down Rajasthan Royals' target of 186, but the Australian allrounder was relieved to be back among the runs and bowling once again.

"It's nice to finally score some runs. I felt that I have been hitting the ball really well," he told the IPL site after the game. "In T20 you need a little luck as well to get your innings going. Unfortunately we weren't able to finish well.

"I'm very excited to get back to bowling. It's certainly something that I've missed in the last three months. It will probably take me another two games to fully find my feet and bowl exactly how I want to."

Watson's bowling return is neatly timed, coming only two days before Australia's selectors are expected to announce their Test squad for the Ashes series in England this summer. Although he has recently relinquished the vice captaincy, he remains a strong contender to make the squad.

He bowled for the first time this year in Royals' previous game, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, following a series of injuries, the most recent of which was a calf issue. In the match against Super Kings, the final over of the game was his second.

Watson said he is almost close to full bowling fitness, but not quite there just yet. "I'm getting closer to being 100%. A couple of more training sessions and games, and my body will be absolutely ready to handle the rigours of bowling. It is holding up well generally but now it's just the matter of it getting used to bowling again.

"On the whole I feel as good as I ever have. I've put in a lot of hard work during this period and hopefully, will reap the rewards for the coming 10 months or so. I was half-capacity without my bowling. It feels great to be bowling once again."

Though they could not pull off the win, Royals did well to get to 185 in Chennai, he said: "I think 185 is a lot of runs on any ground. At the beginning of the match our mindset was probably 160-170 and we ended up with an above-par score. We batted really well as a unit."

Speaking about Watson's innings off 101 off 61 balls, Chennai spinner R Ashwin said the great start he gave Royals forced Super Kings to shuffle their bowling options, resulting in him coming on within the Powerplay: "This year I have bowled quite a few death overs as I have come into the attack pretty late. I have bowled a lot of 13th, 15th and 17th overs this season. We have a couple of overseas seamers and an Indian seamer, which gives the captain many options to exploit in the Powerplay," Ashwin said. "[Today though] Watson was going great guns and the captain probably wanted to shut down [Royals' scoring] and look to get a breakthrough. Shane Watson made sure that I had to come early into the attack."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on April 23, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    @Meety. I don't know whether I would take him for the tests. He hasn't the form, we should be looking for the future & I am afraid I don't see him in it. MoHen offers a vastly better base to build on. I am starting to get an uneasy feeling about the upcoming selections.

  • Fazal on April 23, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    If the Australian cricket selectors pick the team for the ashes strictly on merit rather than players with good looks and abandon those agendas against certain players then I reckon that we can win the ashes. There is enough talent out there in Australian cricket but our selectors keep making the same mistakes over and over again as a result Australia has been humiliated in recent time. Only very recently the Australian A team whitewashed the strong England Lions 4-0 which speaks volumes about the young talent we posses. My team for the ashes strictly on merit reads as follows. Watson, Warner, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Haddin, O'Keefe, Pattinson, Harris, Siddle/Starc, Lyon, Cowan/Rogers,Wade and Bird/Faulkner.

  • Dummy4 on April 23, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Not that Mr. Watson's batting half worked well; it is always a team effort.

  • Fazal on April 23, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    It's high time that Watson starts scoring some runs. I mean convert those forties and fifties into hundreds. He and Mitchell Johnson who are two of our most senior players in the Australian cricket team have consistently failed to fire and have been very disappointing and irresponsible to say the least and are now on the verge of being dropped from the team for the ashes. I reckon this could be their last opportunity to prove that they are good enough to continue playing for Australia for years to come.It's a shame that having played for so long that they have still not sealed their places in the team and have to still fight for an ashes berth. Watson's main problem is that he is injury prone and has to start over and over again while Mitchell Johnson is going from bad to worst with his line and length however much he is being coached by Dennis Lillie a million times. If only Watson and Johnson could contribute to the team anytime we could be victorious seventy five per cent.

  • gurinder on April 23, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    backing australia for 5-0 whitewash of poms. go watson go/ u r in form and can blast any opposition apart along with dynamo warner. blast the english attack into oblivion

  • senthil on April 23, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    For all you Australian supporters, did nobody else thought, Australia needs Michael Hussey back in their team, ask him to reconsider and play for the team. He will prove to be a better asset than Watson. Hussey is playing better than any other Australian players currently in the team.

  • stuart on April 23, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    amazing that IPL starts and he can bowl again. His IPL form has no relevance at all to test cricket.

  • Andrew on April 23, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    @Chris_P on (April 23, 2013, 8:56 GMT) - I agree, but I would take him on tour. I would consider Champ Trophy form for the Ashes as stupid as it sounds. With 2 new balls, this Champ Trophy COULD be a good sighter for the Ashes, if of course you are prepared to overlook coloured balls & clothing!! (ps: NSP don't seem to mind)!

  • vithur on April 23, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Watson wasnt known as a Queensland state player or NSW player; infact he got into IPL as an Australian team performer. If making money was his prime motive, he could have easily done that playing in many leagues(though his Aussie contract is somewhere around million, he could have earn that in doing commercials). Every cricketer knows that IPL hardly lasts between 16-19 games(provided they are an automatic selection in the team), if they werent going to perform for their countries on a consistent basis, year they will be replaced by some other set of players. When pup or watt were in their mid or early 20's, they had the likes of Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Lehman,Warne, McGrath..... to lead them, now watson and pup had to do all the mentorship roles to an inconsistent aussie lineup. Their roles have become tougher and performing under the pressure and taking the pressure off the youngsters is not a walk in the park.

  • Varnendra on April 23, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    Australia is going to bring Ashes home this year. Pup is not going to be the main cause. It will be Watson. He will take at least 6 wickets and 80 runs per test match in this ashes.