Dubai: Shane Watson, former Australian allrounder, spoke his heart out during a one-to-one chat while on a visit to my home. He was very, very happy that Australia won their first World T20 title in the seventh edition of the event in Dubai and feels the template has now been set by the team for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The 2022 edition, incidentally, will be hosted by Australia and they will surely start as favourites as they know the conditions well and will be ready for it.
He credited the turnaround to David Warner’s coming into form at the right time after the initial loss to England - scoring 289 runs at a whopping strike rate of 147 which set the platform for the other players to follow. He was also very happy for Mitchell Marsh, who batted at number three, to score 185 at a strike rate of 147.
Watson was highly impressed with Adam Zampa, who picked up 13 wickets and bowled at an economy rate of less than six, taking key wickets and also with the form of Josh Hazlelwood who picked up 11 wickets.
When I asked him what separated this team from the other World Cup sides in the past who failed to win, Watson said it was about peaking at the right time, playing as one unit and most importantly - Aaron Finch winning important tosses. Watson believed this would be beginning of many more titles in the shorter format for team Australia.
Watson then spoke about his first stint in live commentary which he enjoyed thoroughly. He believed since he had played more than 300 games in the T20 format, it was easy for him to analyse the game as he could put himself in the match situation and give his opinion. He got to learn a lot from Ian Bishop as a commentator, the energy that has rubbed off on him too.
Most importantly, when I asked him if he would take up the role of a coach now that he has retired as a player, Watson said it would be challenging as coaching is a different cup of tea and he would first like to start as an assistant to learn the tricks of the trade and then take the plunge. His idol in this field is Stephen Fleming, under whom he played the IPL for Chennai Super Kings and says that the secret of being a good coach is to keep your emotions in check and the New Zealander is a master at it.
Lastly when I asked him how would the Ashes series go for Australia, he was confident they would win the series 3-1 against an England team which has not got enough experience and will find it tough against the Aussies. He was wary of Ben Stokes being back in the England side and the impact he would add to the team, but felt Australia had enough experience and firepower to beat England in their home conditions.
I had seen Watson on the field as a fighter - who gave his all when playing for Australia - but meeting him in person and sharing anecdotes was a dream-come -true for me.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice-Chairman of Danube Group