Rajasthan v Chennai, IPL 2013, Jaipur May 13, 2013

'Instinctively knew' we'd have to score off Ashwin - Watson

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Shane Watson, who slammed 70 off 34 balls on a pitch that aided the seam bowlers to help Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings, said he had "instinctively known" that offspinner R Ashwin was the one to go after during the chase.

After the match had gone three-fourths of its way without a single six being hit, and Super Kings' pace bowlers had Royals in a tight corner needing 93 off 60 balls in a chase of 142, Ashwin came on only to be dispatched for 23 runs in one over by Watson and Stuart Binny. That over turned the match, and Royals eventually breezed home with 17 balls to spare.

"We knew instinctively that Ashwin was going to be someone we have to really try and score runs off," Watson told the IPL site after the match. "We had to get a big over through that period of time. We were struggling to find the boundary. It just worked out nicely that Ashwin came on and bowled a couple of balls that we were looking for. In the end I suppose it was about batting on instinct like myself and Stuey were doing, with the hope he bowls in the areas that were in our favour."

Batting earlier on was tough in the seamer-friendly conditions, Watson said, but when he went after the bowling everything just fell into place: "It took me a little while to get going. There was a little bit in the wicket early so initially I was a little bit hesitant to try and take any risk but in the end I knew I needed to as the run rate was getting up high. I knew we had to start to take a few risks and when I did, it started to come off nicely, so it was just one of those days you dream of when everything you try, every shot that you are hoping for, comes off."

Royals had crawled along in the first 10 overs of the chase, shackled by excellent pace bowling from Jason Holder, Mohit Sharma and Chris Morris. In that difficult period, they had promoted James Faulkner and Sanju Samson ahead of Watson, leaving the experts questioning their think-tank. The decision to play bowling allrounder Faulkner up the order, Watson said, was influenced by his being used to batting in such feisty conditions in Australia. "The thought was that there was going to be a bit of pace and bounce in the wicket and also maybe a little bit of seam with the new ball. Jimmy Faulkner certainly knows how to bat in those sort of conditions, batting where he does back in Australia. So we thought, that would have been a good option.

"It didn't work out but that's okay, we knew the reason why we were doing it and what it could have provide for the team. But on other days it has worked, like having Sanju up at No. 3 has paid off. So we just wanted to give it a try and hope that it comes off, but unfortunately it didn't."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaggy076 on May 15, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    screamingeagle; How do you explain his successes in the T20 world cup - nothing to do with the environment he has long demonstrated he is the worlds best at this format.

  • Shaggy076 on May 15, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Too many people reading way too much into. Its pretty obvious to see that the BCCI arent going to allow rank turners in the IPL as it produces unattractive cricket and dont want to kill there cash cow. Without the help of hte wicket Ashwin has had to try and use some of his skills (which we also saw in AUstralia) and Watson clearly liked those skills. Indian spinners have worked hard on fast over spin to get the pitches to spit the ball out - now when the pitch bounce is true they become impotent. Also must be said ie World T20 tournament, IPL etc some batsman that arent up to test level can thrive in the T20 game and when it comes to T20 Watson is the best in the world. Nothing to do with the environment of the team as he demonstrated that in T20 for AUstralia.

  • Apocalypse_EX on May 14, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    @Meety I agree and I know Watson has the ability. But he has already reached his prime and if he cannot string together a couple of solid performances then his test career is pretty much over. A couple of years ago critics were hounding him for making lots of fifties without scoring big hundreds; most would be happy to see him atleast in that form.

  • Yasin123Patel on May 14, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Watson has a big chance to prove himself at test level. His bowling suited well in english condition. And he has a good bowling record there too. So obviously he gets confident while he 'll batting. He need just to improve temperament and concentration. He is a good allround batsman. BTW anyone remember when ashwin tour to australia he was miserably fail. Same australian unit who fail in india thrashed ashwin there. It is because condition didn't suit him. Y'day, samething happen with him. Pitch doesn't offer to him.

  • Meety on May 14, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    @Apocalypse_EX on (May 13, 2013, 8:44 GMT) - IMO, Wato is good enuff to be a quality Test batsmen (theoretical ave of mid40s). He can play quality innings against quality pace or spin. The previous Test tour of India, against arguably better bowlers, he scored a test ton & played well. Watto's problem is, that he does not play enuff FC cricket to maintain the levels of concentration required for Tests. Also - his decline in Test output coincided with his elevation to the Vice Captaincy role. He is arguably the best short form opening bat/allrounder in the world. Just because his stats are better in short forms does not mean he can't improve in Tests. Take a look at the recent Oz summer. He gets injured in the Shield & misses the first 2 Tests v SA, gets jettisoned in with hardly any practise & fails in the 3rd Test. He is shoddy in the 1st Test v SL, & finally comes good in the 2nd Test & gets injured. Plays ODIs & goes to India for Tests - another inappropriate re-boot!

  • Meety on May 14, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    @vishnuas on (May 13, 2013, 10:59 GMT) - I am not one to mercilessly bag a bloke, & I have at times defended Wato, but you said "...he will stand in front of a train, if the Australian captain asks him to..." - yet that obviously doesn't apply to "homework". My bemusement about Watto was along the lines of the article (March 11, 2013 Australia's batsmen must 'go against instincts') - where it discussed how Watto's shot selection was poor in the Tests. Watto is (IMO) not very bright when it comes to cricket instincts, - the numerous run outs he has been involved in, bear testimony. He has been given every opportunity to succeed, & apart from geneuine injury disruption - he has failed for several years. I wish he'd perform to the level of his talent, but WATTO needs to take responsibility for it, not the captain, not the coach not the NSP!

  • on May 13, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    I would say unucky for Ashwin, he almost had Binny. Ashwin is still te best indian spinner by far. We dont have best of spinners in here. Watson had no choice other than to go after Ashwin, he himsely admitted that he was lucky to get going. Bravo was the one who opened the gate for RR. Whatever MI vs CSK would be a exiting final.

  • on May 13, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    this is a reflection of whats going to happen in england.the pitches there wont be assisting the spinners so the opposition will attack the spinners.get ready for thrashing.

  • cricketanand12 on May 13, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Again,this is a good wake up call to CSK.They should play with their full strength squad agaisnt DD to consolidate their position on table.They should try to use their bench strength of young fast bowlers.I wonder where ben hilfenhaus is? My CSK squad:Murali Vijay,Miachel hussey,suresh Raina,MSD,Bravo,Jadeja,Albie Morkel,Chris Morris,Ravi Ashwin,Mohit Sharma,Imtiaz Ahmed/Ronit More. I think,baba aparjith can also be used instead of another indian fast bowler on delhi slow track.

  • on May 13, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Guys though I am not a big fan of Ashwin, hammering Ashwin in an IPL match doesnt make him a smaller bowler nor does it make Watson a great player of spin. We saw the Australians including Watson struggle against Indias spin attack a month back.

  • Shaggy076 on May 15, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    screamingeagle; How do you explain his successes in the T20 world cup - nothing to do with the environment he has long demonstrated he is the worlds best at this format.

  • Shaggy076 on May 15, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Too many people reading way too much into. Its pretty obvious to see that the BCCI arent going to allow rank turners in the IPL as it produces unattractive cricket and dont want to kill there cash cow. Without the help of hte wicket Ashwin has had to try and use some of his skills (which we also saw in AUstralia) and Watson clearly liked those skills. Indian spinners have worked hard on fast over spin to get the pitches to spit the ball out - now when the pitch bounce is true they become impotent. Also must be said ie World T20 tournament, IPL etc some batsman that arent up to test level can thrive in the T20 game and when it comes to T20 Watson is the best in the world. Nothing to do with the environment of the team as he demonstrated that in T20 for AUstralia.

  • Apocalypse_EX on May 14, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    @Meety I agree and I know Watson has the ability. But he has already reached his prime and if he cannot string together a couple of solid performances then his test career is pretty much over. A couple of years ago critics were hounding him for making lots of fifties without scoring big hundreds; most would be happy to see him atleast in that form.

  • Yasin123Patel on May 14, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Watson has a big chance to prove himself at test level. His bowling suited well in english condition. And he has a good bowling record there too. So obviously he gets confident while he 'll batting. He need just to improve temperament and concentration. He is a good allround batsman. BTW anyone remember when ashwin tour to australia he was miserably fail. Same australian unit who fail in india thrashed ashwin there. It is because condition didn't suit him. Y'day, samething happen with him. Pitch doesn't offer to him.

  • Meety on May 14, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    @Apocalypse_EX on (May 13, 2013, 8:44 GMT) - IMO, Wato is good enuff to be a quality Test batsmen (theoretical ave of mid40s). He can play quality innings against quality pace or spin. The previous Test tour of India, against arguably better bowlers, he scored a test ton & played well. Watto's problem is, that he does not play enuff FC cricket to maintain the levels of concentration required for Tests. Also - his decline in Test output coincided with his elevation to the Vice Captaincy role. He is arguably the best short form opening bat/allrounder in the world. Just because his stats are better in short forms does not mean he can't improve in Tests. Take a look at the recent Oz summer. He gets injured in the Shield & misses the first 2 Tests v SA, gets jettisoned in with hardly any practise & fails in the 3rd Test. He is shoddy in the 1st Test v SL, & finally comes good in the 2nd Test & gets injured. Plays ODIs & goes to India for Tests - another inappropriate re-boot!

  • Meety on May 14, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    @vishnuas on (May 13, 2013, 10:59 GMT) - I am not one to mercilessly bag a bloke, & I have at times defended Wato, but you said "...he will stand in front of a train, if the Australian captain asks him to..." - yet that obviously doesn't apply to "homework". My bemusement about Watto was along the lines of the article (March 11, 2013 Australia's batsmen must 'go against instincts') - where it discussed how Watto's shot selection was poor in the Tests. Watto is (IMO) not very bright when it comes to cricket instincts, - the numerous run outs he has been involved in, bear testimony. He has been given every opportunity to succeed, & apart from geneuine injury disruption - he has failed for several years. I wish he'd perform to the level of his talent, but WATTO needs to take responsibility for it, not the captain, not the coach not the NSP!

  • on May 13, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    I would say unucky for Ashwin, he almost had Binny. Ashwin is still te best indian spinner by far. We dont have best of spinners in here. Watson had no choice other than to go after Ashwin, he himsely admitted that he was lucky to get going. Bravo was the one who opened the gate for RR. Whatever MI vs CSK would be a exiting final.

  • on May 13, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    this is a reflection of whats going to happen in england.the pitches there wont be assisting the spinners so the opposition will attack the spinners.get ready for thrashing.

  • cricketanand12 on May 13, 2013, 15:02 GMT

    Again,this is a good wake up call to CSK.They should play with their full strength squad agaisnt DD to consolidate their position on table.They should try to use their bench strength of young fast bowlers.I wonder where ben hilfenhaus is? My CSK squad:Murali Vijay,Miachel hussey,suresh Raina,MSD,Bravo,Jadeja,Albie Morkel,Chris Morris,Ravi Ashwin,Mohit Sharma,Imtiaz Ahmed/Ronit More. I think,baba aparjith can also be used instead of another indian fast bowler on delhi slow track.

  • on May 13, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Guys though I am not a big fan of Ashwin, hammering Ashwin in an IPL match doesnt make him a smaller bowler nor does it make Watson a great player of spin. We saw the Australians including Watson struggle against Indias spin attack a month back.

  • screamingeagle on May 13, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    Maybe it is just the freedom he has with Dravid being the leader that translates into Watson doing well, Same was when Warne was heading things. Maybe something for CA to think about.

  • MaruthuDelft on May 13, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Instinctively? Yes. When you see or bat Ashwin bowl surely you would feel that way. Watto just said what occurred to him when batting. Stats and some opinions say otherwise but Ashwin's bowling looks so easy.

  • on May 13, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    It is just that it was the day of RR and the calculated risks taken by both Watson and Binny paid off . In fact ,had Jadeja been vigilant , Binny would have got out to Ashwin the first time he tried to hit him for a six . Similarly , many of Watson's heaves did not go where the batsman desired . Anyway , the play offs will be different and I have the feeling that Dhoni is preserving Hilfenhaus for the play offs. Best of luck to the opponents .

  • on May 13, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    @Mitty2, Shane Watson is a highly committed, hard working individual and Gods will not fail such a personality. He is just not handled properly by Cricket Australia.

  • vishnuas on May 13, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    @Meety if you remember, Watson was the only Australian to have properly batted in the WorldT20s in Srilanka. He is just very good in this format. And he will stand in front of a train, if the Australian captain asks him to. That is his commitment. He definitely has not been given the respect and space he deserves in the Australian dressing room. I really hope that changes. Try making Warney the coach, you will see the change.

  • on May 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    "Watson"- whenever in doubt or ur position in Australia XI is in danger, just come & play in IPL....everything will fall in places then on. :)

  • Sukruti on May 13, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Now this makes really interesting the rest of the IPL, i.e., play-offs. Is it going to be a repeat of 2008, CSK Vs RR in the finals and ..............let us wait and see. I canot resist the enthusiasm of waiting until 26-May'13. From now on each match is like a knock-out game. Some teams really fare well in adversity and some others crumble. Overall, there is no other cricket tournament in my opinion that rakes as much interest (including financial!!!) as this would do.

  • Mitty2 on May 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    I don't think I've ever despised a man in australian cricket more than Shane Watson. If what he says here isn't a reflection of his priorities than I dont know what is. I just hope, to all the gods out there, that he isn't selected for the first test and (in the miracle event) that every batsman performs, he won't be seen again!!

    Or even better, if (again by some miracle) we win the ashes and Watson played terribly in every single test and the media force him to retire from tests. That'd be gold!

  • himanshu.team on May 13, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Just proves that an all-rounder is good only if he is performing both functions. Same Watson had no clue about how to face indian bowlers in the test series. Now he decides to take on Ashwin and takes him to cleaners with his hitting. It truly is down to the fact that he bowled his full quota of overs petty well earlier. Now, he should only get better if he stays fit.

  • Apocalypse_EX on May 13, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    @Meety Watson has played Ashwin comfortably in limited overs internationals. You only need to go as far back as the match against India in the World T20. The fact that he struggles against good pace and spin bowling in tests just means he is'nt good in the format. I'm pretty sure Watto is giving every ounce of his ability to play for Australia, but it' just that he is'nt good enough for tests. One look at the differece in his stats b/w limited overs and tests tells you what formats he succeeds in.

  • on May 13, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    how quickly things can change.! just a couple of months ago watson would rather face all the pace in the world than the Indian spinners. :D

  • Meety on May 13, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    As an Ozzy, I'm a bit bemused about the comment "... knew instinctively that Ashwin was going to be someone we have to really try and score runs off" - nice to know those instincts are working for Watto in the IPL. Also bemused by "...Batting earlier on was tough in the seamer-friendly conditions..." - hmmmm?

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  • Meety on May 13, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    As an Ozzy, I'm a bit bemused about the comment "... knew instinctively that Ashwin was going to be someone we have to really try and score runs off" - nice to know those instincts are working for Watto in the IPL. Also bemused by "...Batting earlier on was tough in the seamer-friendly conditions..." - hmmmm?

  • on May 13, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    how quickly things can change.! just a couple of months ago watson would rather face all the pace in the world than the Indian spinners. :D

  • Apocalypse_EX on May 13, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    @Meety Watson has played Ashwin comfortably in limited overs internationals. You only need to go as far back as the match against India in the World T20. The fact that he struggles against good pace and spin bowling in tests just means he is'nt good in the format. I'm pretty sure Watto is giving every ounce of his ability to play for Australia, but it' just that he is'nt good enough for tests. One look at the differece in his stats b/w limited overs and tests tells you what formats he succeeds in.

  • himanshu.team on May 13, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Just proves that an all-rounder is good only if he is performing both functions. Same Watson had no clue about how to face indian bowlers in the test series. Now he decides to take on Ashwin and takes him to cleaners with his hitting. It truly is down to the fact that he bowled his full quota of overs petty well earlier. Now, he should only get better if he stays fit.

  • Mitty2 on May 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    I don't think I've ever despised a man in australian cricket more than Shane Watson. If what he says here isn't a reflection of his priorities than I dont know what is. I just hope, to all the gods out there, that he isn't selected for the first test and (in the miracle event) that every batsman performs, he won't be seen again!!

    Or even better, if (again by some miracle) we win the ashes and Watson played terribly in every single test and the media force him to retire from tests. That'd be gold!

  • Sukruti on May 13, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Now this makes really interesting the rest of the IPL, i.e., play-offs. Is it going to be a repeat of 2008, CSK Vs RR in the finals and ..............let us wait and see. I canot resist the enthusiasm of waiting until 26-May'13. From now on each match is like a knock-out game. Some teams really fare well in adversity and some others crumble. Overall, there is no other cricket tournament in my opinion that rakes as much interest (including financial!!!) as this would do.

  • on May 13, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    "Watson"- whenever in doubt or ur position in Australia XI is in danger, just come & play in IPL....everything will fall in places then on. :)

  • vishnuas on May 13, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    @Meety if you remember, Watson was the only Australian to have properly batted in the WorldT20s in Srilanka. He is just very good in this format. And he will stand in front of a train, if the Australian captain asks him to. That is his commitment. He definitely has not been given the respect and space he deserves in the Australian dressing room. I really hope that changes. Try making Warney the coach, you will see the change.

  • on May 13, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    @Mitty2, Shane Watson is a highly committed, hard working individual and Gods will not fail such a personality. He is just not handled properly by Cricket Australia.

  • on May 13, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    It is just that it was the day of RR and the calculated risks taken by both Watson and Binny paid off . In fact ,had Jadeja been vigilant , Binny would have got out to Ashwin the first time he tried to hit him for a six . Similarly , many of Watson's heaves did not go where the batsman desired . Anyway , the play offs will be different and I have the feeling that Dhoni is preserving Hilfenhaus for the play offs. Best of luck to the opponents .