Shane Watson bids adieu to international cricket with his head held high
India stormed into the semi-finals of ICC World Twenty20 2016 by beating Australia with 5 balls to spare. The whole nation erupted in joy after seeing Kohli’s magnificence against Aussies to take India a notch closer to the trophy. Amidst all this euphoria, a modern-day great or arguably the World’s greatest all-rounder in all three formats of cricket, Shane Watson bid adieu to international cricket last night.
In yesterday’s match as well, the sturdy-built Queenslander gave his all for his side in a must-win encounter against India, but his contribution was not backed by his other teammates that resulted in Australia’s defeat. While coming in to bat at No. 6, Watson scored a crucial 18 off 16 balls to take the Australian total to 160 in 20 overs. However, his best came with the ball when he gave Australia a glimpse of hope by picking up wickets of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. He ended his spell with brilliant figures of 4 overs – 23 runs – 2 wickets. Also, his one-hand diving catch to dismiss Yuvraj Singh sent some jitters in Indian batting line-up during a tentative chase.
But Watson’s contribution to Australian cricket is far more immense than any of his one-off performance. Over the years, he has played the role of an all-rounder with supreme effect guiding his team to numerous victories with his bat or at times with the bowl as well. Though, his aggressive style of batting always overshadowed his smart reverse-swing bowling which was rarely taken into account but was equally effective. He is often regarded as Australia’s best exponent of reverse swing, his change of pace and good use of the slower ball helped Australia many times in building pressure from one end by choking up the run flow. His ability to bat at any position in the batting line-up provided Australia an edge over others to use this dynamic player efficiently. Many would agree on this fact that his best came out as an opener, his devastating skills with the willow was a sight to behold in world cricket. What gives Watson an edge over his contemporaries was his knack to decimate the opposition attacks with ease and conviction.
‘Watto’, as he’s fondly known as among his teammates and in world cricket, Australia always weighed his importance in gold especially in the shorter format of the game. Bringing him back in the World T20 squad after his good show in the Big Bash League earlier this year was a mere testimony to his greatness. Many critics term him as a great in limited overs cricket, as his test career was mostly hampered by many injuries that cut short his span on the cricket field. Keeping numbers aside, Shane Watson was one such rare gem in world cricket who will be hard to be replaced and cannot be forgotten. It will be a challenge for any youngster to step into those really large boots!
Some highlights of his career:-
• In his 190 one-day international caps, Watson scored 5757 runs at an average of 40.54 and grabbed 168 wickets at an impressive economy of 4.95.
• Watson wore baggy green in 59 tests and scored 3731 runs at an average of 35.19. He notched up 75 wickets in 93 innings.
• Shane Watson is the second Australian after Steve Waugh, who has achieved the double of 5000 runs and 150 wickets in ODIs.
• Watson is the only player to won Man of the Match award in two finals of Champions Trophy (2006 and 2009).
• He holds the record for a highest individual score of 185 for Australia in ODIs. Also, his 185 is the highest score in chases in One-day internationals.
• His 1462 runs in 58 T20 internationals at an imposing strike rate of 145.32 is the second highest for Australia after David Warner. Also, with a tally of 48 wickets, Watson is Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the shorter format.
• Shane Watson has won four consecutive Man of the Match awards in the ICC World Twenty20 2012 – the most in a row by any player T20I’s.
• Watto is the first and the only Australian player to score hundreds in all the three formats of cricket (Tests, ODI, and T20’s).
• Along with Warner, Watson has put together 1154 runs in 37 international T20 innings. They are the only pair in world cricket with 1000 plus partnership runs in T20 format.
• He’s the only player to win two ICC World Cups (2007 and 2009) and two ICC Champions Trophy (2006 and 2009).
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