Shane Watson began his IPL journey with a bang in the year 2008. He played a pivotal role in Rajasthan Royals‘ victory that season. The Australian cricketer was terrific with both bat and bowl. For a number of years after that, he stayed in the RR camp.
But the franchise got suspended for a couple of years. Meanwhile, Watson had retired from international cricket. There were questions whether he still possesses the skills years after hanging up the boots for Australia. When he came into the auction last year, it was uncertain whether he would attract a huge bid.
Surprisingly, Chennai Super Kings, who were returning to the league after 2 years, roped Watson in. He was 36-year-old last year and it was unknown what he could offer at that stage. But Watson, against all odds, repaid the faith of CSK by coming up with one good performance after the other. There were some crucial knocks throughout IPL 2018 but none bigger than the century in the final that enabled CSK winning its third title.
Watson in the side as a specialist batsman
Just like last year, he is in the squad as a specialist batsman at the top of the order. Watson hasn’t been seen bowling at all for the franchise. Stephen Fleming, the coach of CSK, highlighted that the Australian hasn’t bowled in the recent leagues and is in the side primarily as a batsman. The team has ample bowling options and there is no need to take a risk with Watson.
“Watson hasn’t bowled for quite a while. He hasn’t bowled in the Big Bash League through. He’s pretty much playing for us as a specialist batsman. His body is such that it would be a risk to bowl him.
“We think he’s valuable at the top. He was the top run-scorer in Pakistan [Super League]. I think he bowled only one over because he had to. So, he hasn’t bowled for some time. And we don’t want to risk him through this tournament, especially when we’ve got six good bowling options anyway,” Fleming was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.