o conquer international cricket, Shane Watson first had to beat his fragile body. Despite boasting an athletic figure made for photo shoots, Watson’s frame was so brittle it threatened to break him. He refused to give up. Not through recurrences of back stress fractures, hamstring strains, calf problems, hip complaints, a dislocated shoulder or a suspected heart attack that turned out to be food poisoning. He changed his training, preferring pilates to weights, gave up alcohol, but not his dream. It finally paid off in 2009, when he was chosen as a Test opener in the middle of the Ashes series. Many batsmen would have been uncomfortable with the promotion from the middle order, especially after failing when given the job with Queensland, but Watson had become used to re-inventing himself. With a history of setbacks, it was not a surprise that his first Test century became such a drama, but after two scores in the 90s and an 89, he finally brought it up at the MCG against Pakistan – thanks to a single from a dropped catch. He had earned some luck. A productive few years as a Test opener led to back-to-back Allan Border Medals but by 2011-12, injury had again interceded. He returned to the Test team in 2012 but spent the rest of his career floating up and down the order in search of a place to call his own.
In 2013, Watson became Australia’s 44th Test captain when he led the team to a three-day loss in Delhi in place of the injured Michael Clarke. It completed a hectic couple of weeks for Watson, who had been suspended from the previous Test in the homework saga and had also flown home for the birth of his child. He gave up the vice-captaincy after that tour and played for another two years before being dropped during the 2015 Ashes, after which he announced his retirement from Tests. As a bowler, Watson developed into one of Australia’s best exponents of reverse swing, and if he was not claiming wickets himself he was often building pressure at one end. At times his bowling saved his place in the Test team, for four centuries from 59 Tests and an average of 35.19 was a little less than he desired as a batsman. At the crease he is an aggressive brute with a broad chest, a right-handed disciple of Matthew Hayden, and someone who often doesn’t need to follow-through to gain a boundary. However, his drives and pulls are delivered in a much smoother style. Always a dangerous striker in the shorter formats, Watson clubbed Bangladesh for 185 in a 50-over contest in April 2011, the highest score ever by an Australian batsman in ODI cricket. The Player of the Tournament at the 2012 World T20, Watson retired from all international cricket at the end of the 2016 tournament.
|Season||Team||Match||Inn||Balls||Runs||Wkts||Bowl Ave||Eco||BBM||Strike Rate||4w||5w|