Shane Watson hopes Australia can make it to the last four of the T20 World Cup. Image Credit: AFP

On a one to one zoom chat with Australia’s Shane Watson, he spoke about why they have never won the T20 World Cup and said they have not consistently nailed the T20 format.

They made it to the finals of 2010 but came across a strong England team. In 2014 they came across a rampaging West Indies team who found holes in their team and in 2016 he felt Australia changed a lot of players and did not stick to a consistent squad whereas other teams kept to one squad which gave the players the confidence and they were beaten by India in the quarterfinals who stuck to one side.

Make it to the semis

He felt Australia going in to this World Cup still are not sure whether what side they are going to play and who will bat at what position and who will be the bowlers and he hopes that if they get the combination right, Australia might make it to the semis.

He spoke about the concern about David Warner’s form but he is a quality player, he is just rusty but once he gets in to his own, he is a big tournament player and he will step it up in a team environment like Australia is. He also mentioned Pat Cummins since he has not had enough cricket leading in to the World Cup but he is confident he will get in to his groove.

The next team he spoke about was the defending champions West Indies, he said they are a dangerous team and that’s why they have won the World Cup twice, they have got power, and experience in players like Pollard, Bravo, Russel, Gayle, and they know how to win. There are few question marks about their spinners, and will miss Samuel Badree and he was surprised Sunil Narine was not picked inspire of having a good IPL season.

I then asked him about Australia’s rivals England who were the runners up to West Indies, he said two big players are missing in Jofra Archer who is a great fast bowler and Ben Stokes and these are big holes to fill but they have match winners in Jos Butler and Johnny Bairstow who are dangerous. Eoin Morgan’s form is a concern but he is a good captain and will come good in this World Cup.

Big mistake

When I asked him about South Africa, he felt not picking Faf du Plessis in the squad is a big mistake and they will miss him dearly. They have a good fast bowling attack in Nortje and Rabbada and in Shamsi they are have a good spinner, a lot depends on Quinton de Kock and he will have to carry the burden of the team.

He talked about Sri Lanka and said they were so dominant but after Jayawardene and Sangarkara retired, they have gone off the boil, also players like Dilshan, Mathews and Mendis no more playing they do not have enough match winners in the team and will find it tough.

About Bangladesh, he said they are a good team, and was surprised to see them losing to Scotland, they have come back on series win against Australia and New Zealand albeit in spinning conditions and he feels they will miss Tamim Iqbal who was a pillar for them and is a match winner and they will miss his experience. They have Shakib Ul Hassan and Mustafizur Rehman but they have too many holes in the batting to fill and will find it difficult to beat the big teams.

When I asked him about New Zealand, he said they are a good team, they always find a way to get in to the knockouts, they have a well-balanced team and if they all get together they will again make it to the knockouts. They have a captain in Williamson who is a great leader, they have got Guptill’s experience, they have wicket takers in Southee, Boult and Jamieson, they are consistent in ICC events and have beaten big teams and will give all the teams a run for their money.

About Afghanistan, he is concerned about their batting, but he finds Mohammed Nabi a great leader, and says his skills are absolutely phenomenal, he loves to see him bowl. Rashid khan takes wickets for fun, while his favorite cricketer in their team is Mohammed Shezad who is dangerous and can challenge big teams and can’t be taken lightly.

Great players

About Pakistan, he said they have a world class team, the only question mark is their boundary hitting ability in the middle overs, they have the bowling in Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hassan Ali and Harris Rauf, Imad Wasim is great in the power play overs and in Babar Azam they have a great player but Mohammed Rizwan is the player to watch. The experience of Shohaib Malik and Mohammed Hafiz will help while Fakhar Zaman is dangerous. Overall, they are a well-balanced team.

When I asked him about team India, he said they have many match winners and the IPL has given all their players a lot of experience. They have so many players that even Chahal could not get a chance. Question marks surround the middle order if Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant can give them that push then they are the team to beat and are the favourites. Their death bowling also will be tested, Bumrah needs to be supported well at the death. When I asked him about Dhoni, he says it’s a master stroke by the team management to get him as a mentor and he will be a great help for Virat Kohli and the rest of the team in this tournament.

Lastly when I asked him the four teams which will make it to the semifinals, he said it would be India, Pakistan, Australia and West indies.