Former Australia captain and all-rounder Shane Watson has turned T20 mercenary after his retirement from international cricket. Currently, a part of Quetta Gladiators, Watson will be seen playing in the IPL shortly for Chennai Super Kings under MS Dhoni’s captaincy.
Talking to Saj Sadiq of pakpassion.net, Watson revealed the secret of his longevity of his game and playing in PSL.
He was asked about the recent incident between Quinton de Kock and David Warner and Watson said, “It was an unfortunate incident. There was obviously something going on between the players on the field from both sides which manifested itself in the over-reaction that happened later. I am sure despite what happened in Durban, both sides will continue to compete hard on the field for the rest of the series and to do as well as they can. Regardless of whose fault it is, it's never good when such feelings spill over between players off the field.”
Talking about the challenges of playing in PSL, Watson revealed, “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the PSL is a very tough tournament and the quality of the players involved in the tournament is brilliant too. There is incredible talent on show from the local Pakistani players. As we have seen, every team has high-quality fast-bowlers with some brilliant spin options which have always been a feature of Pakistan cricket as well. Then there is amazing firepower among some very talented Pakistan batters as well. We also have some outstanding foreign players in the PSL who really need to be on top of their game if they wish to perform in this tournament which in itself is a great challenge for them.”
“I have no doubt that the PSL is already one of the best leagues in the world. We are in the third year of the tournament and you can also tell how much it is appreciated by simply looking at the calibre and quality of the overseas players who are playing in it. If the quality of the tournament was suspect, then the quality of players we have here would not have come over from overseas and played in it,” said Watson.
Watson also praised Sarfraz Ahmed’s leadership, saying, “Sarfaraz Ahmed has been excellent in the way he is leading Quetta. I feel that he does have a great feel for the game and that is what he does very well. He has great energy for the game and projects that enthusiasm on the team, regardless of whether he is coming into bat or when he is in the field. He is always moving forward and doesn't delve into what's already happened and quite honestly, it's been a great experience playing under his captaincy.”
Talking about the recent migration of players from red ball cricket to white ball cricket all over the world, Watson seemed concerned and said, “There is no doubt that playing just the Twenty20 cricket format is definitely a big draw for the young players at the moment. However, my recommendation and advice to them is that they have plenty of time to play in this type of cricket during their careers. The ultimate form of the game for cricketers in my view is Test cricket and to perform at the Test level is the truest test of a cricketer's skill and ability.”
He continued, “Playing Test cricket will help a player judge his skills against the very best players from around the world. Having said that, there is no doubt that there is an option and an opportunity nowadays to play just league based Twenty20 cricket for many players. If you have been lucky enough to play Test cricket then that is excellent, but there is now a chance to play world-class Twenty20 cricket all over the world, albeit without having to play for your country.”
“Well, if the truth be told, I am very fortunate that I am still playing the game! I love this game and my passion for this game has not waned whatsoever even though I am not a young kid these days. I feel that I am incredibly fortunate that I am playing cricket professionally. I am lucky to be getting the opportunity to play franchise-based Twenty20 cricket in some top-quality tournament such as the PSL. Also having the chance to spend quality time with my family on the side of such tournaments makes me feel that I am getting the best of both worlds which is brilliant for me,” Watson talked about the secret of him playing at the age of 36.
In end, Watson talked about how senior players help in T20 cricket, saying, “Having senior players in the team always helps the younger cricketers learn and come through as better players as well. Yes, the younger players do provide incredible energy to the game which the spectators also note but the experience of the older players should not be underestimated and is vital in my opinion.”