The hero of Chennai Super Kings’ thrilling victory in the IPL Final, former Australian Test star Shane Watson, has emphatically ruled himself out of a return to international cricket.
The call for Watson to come out of international retirement, which he took in 2016, has been growing in strength since his IPL heroics with current Australian T20 star Marcus Stoinis saying “he’s still good enough to play for Australia, for sure.”
In Dubai yesterday as he was announced as the Icon player for new T10 franchise Karachians, Watson was asked if after his match-winning 117 not out against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mumbai on Sunday night he would consider a return to the international scene.
“No! No,” said the 36-year-old, cutting the question short. “I’ve been very fortunate to have a good and long Australian career but my time’s done.”
“I know Australian cricket is missing two of its best batsman (the suspended Steve Smith and David Warner) for another probably ten months, but look in the end it’s the next generation coming through.
“That’s how you develop your young cricketers, giving them an opportunity to see (how they do). It’s really sink or swim for some of the younger guys coming in. But it’s the best way to learn very quickly.”
Watson did however say he was happy to mentor younger players and would even consider a coaching role in the future.
“I am around playing these tournaments,” the veteran of 59 Tests said, “even during the Big Bash, to be able to mentor these players. I’m happy to mentor, not actually play because it’s up to the next generation.
“I’m very, very grateful to be able to play in the T20 tournaments and incredibly fortunate for an opportunity to play in a T10 tournament and for a franchise like Karachians.
“To be involved in a new wave of a new concept of T10 cricket. The ten overs definitely suits my body (these days) more than test cricket or four day cricket.”
“Like it was when I first started playing Twenty20 cricket in 2004-05 – it’s a different dynamic to what you think it’s going to be.”
Watson has not yet spoken to the disgraced Australian captain Steve Smith about the incident in South Africa but he will be linking up with him to play grade cricket for Sutherland in Sydney at the start of the Australian summer in September and is looking forward to spending time with him then.
“I haven’t connected with him yet but I’m going to have a chance to play with him in club cricket,” said Watson.
“He (Smith) needs his space as well to be able to work through it but once he gets back in the cricket side of things and finds his feet again it will all get closer to getting back into it.”
Speaking further about the ball-tampering incident Watson said nothing like that happened during his tenure as Australian Test cricket, “or I would have got more wickets” he quipped.