Words like luck and chance hardly make it to an all-rounder’s list of favourite words.
But Shane Watson is different. It is because his career, plagued by injuries, has not been smooth. He uses the word “lucky” in every other sentence and it is hard to say if he crosses his fingers under the table as he talks about his injuries and good form.
Currently, Watson is on a high. “I was lucky to be involved in a few good games,” he begins. “I batted well up the order during the Ashes. I knew my game was progressing well and it really came together in the semi final and final (of the Champions Trophy).
“It’s certainly what I was working hard for and Ricky (Ponting) helped me a lot.”
The 28-year-old was always a good batsman. But even he wouldn’t have dreamt of opening for Australia.
He will, in all probability, open the batting with Tim Paine during the seven match series against India.
“It’s (opening partnership) developed well. Unfortunately, we have not really put on a big partnership,” he says. “Hopefully, we can forge a good partnership at the top of the order and set a big platform.”
Birth of all-rounder
Somewhere in Adelaide about 10 years ago, a 19-year-old decided to chance his arm and work on his bowling skills. He knew he could bat but he wanted to be an all-rounder.
“It has taken me nine years to reach the stage where I am comfortable,” Watson says.
“That was the time I worked hard on my strength and developed as a bowler, because my batting was always good.”
Watson wants to end his career as an all-rounder. “I love being an all-rounder. It keeps you involved with the game. If you miss out on scoring runs, you can come back and make it up with your bowling.”
Watson could soon replace Brett Lee as an India admirer. He likes the fact that Indians share his passion for cricket.
He loves the food and has not come with cans of baked beans. “My girlfriend picked up a couple of saris when we were here last time,” he smiles.
“I’ve got an understanding of Indian food and when I go back I look for Indian restaurants,” says the man who loves to surf and play the guitar.
Watson has played fewer games compared to an average Aussie who has been around for eight years. But Watson says this is part of his growing up.
“I would probably not be the kind of person I am now. The injuries have really tested me as a person. I wouldn’t trade the journey I have had for anything because it really turned me into the person and the cricketer I am now.”