Dhoni’s intuition is right up there: Watson
Shane Watson was one of several acquisitions by Chennai Super Kings at the January auction for IPL 2018 that was seriously questioned. The Australian allrounder, 36 and retired from international cricket for more than two years, seemed past his sell-by date, but has stacked up impressive numbers and established himself as a key member of the high-flying franchise.
Watson has amassed 438 runs in 13 innings, with one of only four hundreds this season apart from two half-centuries, and a strike-rate of 147.47 at the top of the order. His bowling has been less effective, though he does have six wickets and an economy of 8.96.
Ahead of Tuesday’s (May 22) Qualifier 1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Watson has held Mahendra Singh Dhoni responsible for his batting riches as well as his contributions with the ball. A former champion with Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition in 2008, Watson was quoted as saying, “I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity at CSK like I have, to be able to open the batting throughout the tournament, to be able to bowl certain overs whenever MS needs me.
“To be there for MS but also for my selfish point of view to be able to see how his mind works and how incredibly he reads the game, to be able to ask those questions has been great as well.”
Watson has missed only one game this season – Sunday’s last league fixture against Kings XI Punjab – but is almost certain to reclaim his place at the top of the order, alongside Ambati Rayudu. He made his admiration for Dhoni all too clear, offering further insights into what has made the Jharkhandi one of India’s most successful captains ever.
“Just his feel and intuition for the game, I’ve experienced that with a few incredible players I’ve played with, MS is certainly right up there,” he said.
“The feel that he has for the game, what a batsman is going to do, what a bowler should do, as you can see when he bats as well, nine times out of 10 he chases the runs down as well. There’s no doubt that experience in T20 tournaments and cricket in general can really come through especially in pressure situations.”