Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will be featuring alongside Steve Smith as the country's best batsman gears up for a return to the domestic Grade level game for Sutherland.
Smith, having been banned for one year by Cricket Australia for his involvement in the ugly ball-tampering incident earlier this year, will look get some quality game time in the middle before making a comeback to the International fold next year.
Smith will be happy to have Watson as a teammate for Sutherland, as the club looks to come out triumphant in the New South Wales Premier Cricket season, which starts on Saturday, September 22. The duo last played together in the 2016 World T20 in India.
Having met him after a long while, Watson spoke about Smith's ban as well the opportunity to partner him in the same cause again and said, "As I’ve said from the start for the bans to be as harsh as they were was way, way over the top, We’ve seen what’s happened at other times during international cricket when people have got done for ball-tampering, it hasn’t been a 12-month ban. So it’s way over the top and unfortunately, these guys have to accept the consequences of making a big mistake."
He further reiterated, “And unfortunately that’s going to last for 12 months from an international cricket point of view. But you know what, everything happens for a reason in your life and setbacks only make you a stronger human being. Not everything always goes perfectly well in your life." adding, “Steve has had an incredible journey in his life so far to the heights and unfortunately this has been a setback for him. But he’s only going to be a better whole person, whether that’s as a cricketer or away from cricket. That’s all that matters.”
Speaking on how important the occasion and Smith's presence is for the club and the historic Sydney Grade Cricket, Watson said, “It’s a great thing for the club. There’s no doubt, to be able to get so many people coming along to the game. Just to be able to have the chance to play with him again from my very selfish point of view is going to be a lot of fun,”
“There’s no doubt it’s a great time for the club to put the great things they’ve done over a long period of time on display to some different parts of the world." he added, "Everyone is excited to have one of the best batsmen in the world playing for Sutherland. Reconnecting with the legacy he left when he was playing here more often when he was younger is a great thing for the club."
(Inputs from The Leader)