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Playing against my old team Rajasthan Royals motivated me: Shane Watson

Shane Watson said that his century for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday was motivated by the fact that he was playing against his old team Rajasthan Royals

cricket Updated: Apr 21, 2018 08:48 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Pune
IPL 2018,Shane Watson,Rajasthan Royals
Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson plays a shot during their 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Rajasthan Royals at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Friday.(AFP)

When Robin van Persie signed for Manchester United from Arsenal in 2012, there was a lot of flak that the talismanic forward received from fans of his former club. He scored twice against the Gunners in the first season but followed the goals up with subdued celebrations. Nonetheless, he was booed. Next year, his headed goal proved to be the difference between the sides on the night and he ran with his arms stretched before sliding on the pitch in an ecstatic manner. (CSK v RR HIGHLIGHTS)

T20 leagues across the world, including the Indian Premier League, perhaps don’t have that amount of fanaticism for top players being loyal to their franchises. But the feeling of performing against your old club, one that rejected you or didn’t feel you would fit well in the squad, is perhaps always special. (CSK v RR SCORECARD)

Shane Watson was the highest-scorer for Rajasthan Royals when they won the inaugural edition of the IPL. Ten years down the line he was as jubilant as ever after slamming a 51-ball ton en route to his 106 that paved the path for his side’s third victory this season. Having got a life in the first over itself, Watson’s knock was extremely classy, studded with nine boundaries and six sixes.

Rajasthan Royals made a comeback to the IPL-fold this season but hadn’t picked Watson in the auction. “My real motivation was that I was playing my old team Rajasthan, and I am happy it worked tonight,” he said. “I understand the reality of franchise cricket, whether it’s Rajasthan picking me up or not, obviously they had their reasons why they didn’t pick me up, I fully understand that. In the end for these franchises, it’s business. I’ve been incredibly fortunate through my career to first get an opportunity at Rajasthan in 2008 at a stage where (from an) international point of view I was struggling to make my team, more so because of my injuries. So I’m incredibly grateful to Rajasthan,” he said.

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Watson is, however, enjoying his role in CSK colours. Besides being the highest run-getter (175) with the bat, he is also the most successful bowler (six wickets) for his side. “Look, in the end, to get an opportunity to open the batting, I’m incredibly fortunate. First of all, to get picked up in the auction at this stage of my career and then to have had the opportunity to open the batting and to bowl the overs I’ve bowled as well is what I’ve always loved doing,” he added. “To bat at the top of the order and also to try and contribute with the ball in the first six overs, through the middle or wherever the captain needs me, that skillset I’ve been able to develop and will continue to do.”

Having quit international cricket for a couple of years ago, Watson stated that he had been dreaming for such a day. “Honestly, I’ve been dreaming of a day like this for the last couple of years to play an innings like this. It sort of reminds me of the time when I was at my best consistently. Hopefully, I’ve got a few more in me,” he said.

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 08:45 IST