Australia’s injury-troubled all-rounder Shane Watson may have walked away from the international circuit in 2016, but he’s far from done as far as T20 leagues are concerned.
Eyebrows were raised when Chennai Super Kings raised the baton for the Aussie and snapped him up ahead of their anticipated return from a two-year spot-fixing ban this year. Particularly so after he’d struggled for form for the Royal Challengers Bangalore the previous year.
But the senior pro, who has played all seasons but the 2009 one, turned in his best performance with 555 runs – beating his previous best shows in 2008 (472) and 2013 (543). Watson also saved his most devastating act for the final, and pummelled one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament – the Sunrisers Hyderabad – as CSK marked their return with a title triumph.
Watson also hit form in last year’s BBL with 331 runs at 36.77, and has featured in the Caribbean Premier League, Pakistan Super League as well as the T10 league in UAE since retirement.
“My mind’s open. To be able to play in some of these tournaments around the world, it’s so much fun. Also I’ve experienced life outside of cricket. Cricket is what I know better than everything. While I can really contribute on the field from a skills point of view, as a senior player and I’m still loving it, my mind’s open to continue to play,” Watson told AAP.
“But if there comes a point where that real enjoyment is starting to wane and I’m not able to contribute like I know I can, then that’ll definitely be the day.”
Though Watson has endured his time at the top riddled with constant frustrations of injury setbacks, he has now come to terms with the physical challenges he faces. The 37-year-old went to talk up his mindset in current times when he has had to concentrate on just training himself for the shortest format of the game.
“Physically it’s always been a challenge anyway, so that hasn’t changed,” Watson said. “From a mindset point of view, I’m on top of my game more than I ever have. From a technical point of view, I’ve been able to play Twenty20 cricket for the last three years which means that’s the only skill-set I’ve been working on.
“In theory, cricket is a skill-based game, your skills should only get better the older you get. In theory you should get better until the physical component comes in and your skills start to go down.”
Watson’s next assignment is with the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League, starting December 19.