IPL 2017 May 10, 2017

This year has been my worst IPL - Watson

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Not coming off playing international cricket has been a big challenge - Watson

Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Shane Watson admitted that 2017 was the "worst IPL" that he has ever had but is committed to doing everything possible to ensure the team wins their final game against Delhi Daredevils on Sunday.

Royal Challengers have only two wins in the season so far, and if they finish with that count, they will equal the worst performance by a team in IPL history. They recorded the lowest total in the tournament - 49 all out chasing only 132 - lost five out of six home games - one of which was despite Samuel Badree taking a hat-trick - and their batting has underwhelmed so much that they have the worst average (17.67) and strike-rate (117.03) among the eight teams. Watson's personal figures were similarly sombre - 67 runs in seven innings with the bat and an economy rate of 10.02 with the ball - but he wants to wrap things up a little better, if only to give some joy to the supporters for keeping the faith.

"The one thing I've realised playing for Royal Challengers the last two years is how incredibly loyal the fans are. Whether that was doing incredibly well last year or this year when we weren't doing well, but everywhere we went, obviously here at Chinnaswamy, and other parts around India, the support Royal Challengers get is nothing compared to what I've experienced before.

Even playing for Rajasthan [Royals], outside of playing in Jaipur, there was certainly no real support, they support the opposition as it should be. Whereas in Royal Challengers, you go to Kolkata, even though it's a horrendous day for us, there's still RCB chants going around at Eden Gardens, which was just mind-blowing."

But why was a side that made the final last year caught up in a scuffle not to finish last? Were the players bogged down? Did Watson think he was battling undue expectation?

"It's not difficult playing under this sort of pressure in franchise cricket because it's what I've been used to. Playing county cricket as well, which I did in 2004-05, there's a lot of pressure on you to perform. You're not getting paid more, but you're actually getting paid to help the team win and then in the IPL, having been exposed to it since 2008, and being someone who the team relies on, you have to perform and it doesn't always work out that you perform; certainly don't perform every game."

Did not playing enough cricket in the lead-up to the tournament affect him? Watson had called time on his international and first-class career in March 2016 and has since only been active in various T20 leagues around the world. Prior to his arrival in India, he had spent one month without match practice, although he had played the Big Bash League and the Pakistan Super League. That, he said, played a part in his poor form.

"The biggest challenge for me has been not coming off playing international cricket after which you just go into the flow of the IPL, which is obviously an incredibly strong tournament. And it's been a big learning experience for me, how it hasn't worked this year for me or this season and how I can actually learn from this experience so that the next tournament I'm playing, the Caribbean Premier League, I'm going to be better prepared.

"I'm going to be able to hit the ground running more than what I was here this year, even though I did everything I possibly could to give myself the best chance for performing well for Royal Challengers this year, just it didn't work. I'm always trying to get better. There's been a bit of soul searching this IPL over how things have panned out for me personally and about how I make sure I do it better in the next tournaments that I play to be able to contribute a lot better than I have this year to Royal Challengers because I know I've been incredibly fortunate to be able to play for another great franchise and last year was obviously an incredible year. But this year, for me personally, it hasn't been good at all but also for the franchise - things haven't gone exactly to plan at all and it's been very disappointing for everyone."

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • __PK on May 11, 2017, 23:16 GMT

    BANG_LA has still not forgiven Watson for humiliating Bangladesh with the greatest ever ODI innings in 2011.

  • Chandru267 on May 11, 2017, 12:07 GMT

    As already pointed by other friends, it is good that some of the old blokes quit playing IPL in the best interest of the competition and contribute as support staff or get into commentary box. Malinga, Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Watson, McCullum are on the verge of completion of their IPL career and better they take the decision themseleves gracefully rather than not getting picked by any franchises in the auction. This edition of IPL has certainly proved that this is going to be a tournament of youth and exuberance going forward. For others like Finch, Dhoni, Yuvraj , Raina it may be a matter of another year or so once they stop playing competitive cricket.

  • VRDBB on May 11, 2017, 11:04 GMT

    Shane Watson, sorry man, I did not really notice that you were playing in IPL 2017.....

  • haiderinho on May 11, 2017, 10:51 GMT

    He also didn't really have a good PSL 2nd edition too

  • munnambabar on May 11, 2017, 10:28 GMT

    Really a Great Player & a heavy opener

  • JohannK on May 11, 2017, 8:31 GMT

    Your time is up, mate. You had a good run, but you are no longer up to the job. Given your experience and past success, if you cannot find form in 14 matches in short succession, then it is time to find something else to do for a living.

  • Hrolf on May 11, 2017, 5:46 GMT

    @Bang_LA - Watson is the only person to be twice named player of the IPL series. Internationally I think he remains the only player to have a better batting average than bowling average and a better batting SR than bowling economy rate in all three formats.

  • kemukundarajanmukundarajan on May 11, 2017, 5:30 GMT

    RCB's Intl players like Gayle, Watson, Devilliers and Kohli looked like spent force. Their current form has influenced domestic players and RCB has too many dead weights like Arvind, Binny,jadhv etc. The pity is that no single player has risen to the occasion unlike DD, GL,KXI batters and unless the entire team is revamped there is no future for RCB. In fact they should be relegated if CSK and RR are to be brought in.

  • Comment123 on May 11, 2017, 4:30 GMT

    Sorry to see even after playing for so many years and leaving cricket, even today people criticize Tendulkar. What more do you want from Tendulkar. He has entertained the crowd. It was a great sight watching him bat.

    Tests 200 tests 15921 runs 248 highest 53.78 average ODIs 463 tests 18426 runs 200 highest 44.83 average

    Watson has been hit by injuries or else he has done a decent job for his country. He has been a good allrounder for Australia.

    Tests 59 tests 3731 runs 176 highest 35.19 average and 75 wickets ODIs 190 matches 5757 runs 185 highest 40.54 average 168 wickets T20Is 58 matches 1462 runs 124 highest 29.24 average 48 wickets

    Remember, Tendulkar and Gavaskar faced much better bowlers during their time. Facts speak more than anything!!!

    So Watson too has performed for Australia and it happens. May be this will be Watson's last IPL

  • engrahmad on May 11, 2017, 3:19 GMT

    Watson just like Tendulkar hugely talented but ended up being huge under achievers because they r terrible decision makers but have false perception they r smart.

    Under their captaincy their teams always lost but when others took charge of their teams, the same teams rose to glory.

    Watson doesn't realize that since his true strength is straight slog sweep vs spin, he should bat in the middle order. In T20 SR matters more than avg so value players who have high SR & avg like Gayle. Since Gayle also kills spinners he too should bat in middle order.

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