All-rounder Shane Watson has credited coach Darren Lehmann for bringing the fun factor back to the Australian dressing room and allowing the team to enjoy playing cricket once more in the 5-0 Ashes series thrashing of England. Watson’s credentials as a cricketer have never been in doubt but his ability to gel with his teammates has come under regular scrutiny in the past.
Persistent reports of friction with captain Michael Clarke pre-empted a full-blown crisis on Australia’s tour of India last year, a situation not helped when the tourists were thrashed 4-0.
“It’s a game that if you take too seriously — and I do at times — that you can really get too internal and the game gets too much for you,” Watson said on Monday. “I knew that’s what was happening within the Australian team and like I say, Darren Lehmann comes in and within one day turns that all around.”
Mickey Arthur was replaced by Lehmann just days before the last Ashes series in England and although the burly former batsman’s no-nonsense approach failed to prevent a series defeat then, Australia emerged as a dominant force back on home soil. Lehmann had also made the team environment “special”, according to Watson.
“This is the time of my life. I know how lucky I am to be involved in such a special environment because it doesn’t always come along,” he said.