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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Shane Watson proved in IPL final that age doesn’t kill cricket passion

This year Chennai Super Kings’ average age was around 34 and they were called Dad’s Army. However on Sunday, it was one dad in Shane Watson who showed how to win a final, writes Gautam Gambhir.

cricket Updated: May 29, 2018 08:19 IST
Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir
Hindustan Times
Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson bats against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the IPL 2018 final in Mumbai, India, on May 27, 2018.
Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson bats against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the IPL 2018 final in Mumbai, India, on May 27, 2018. (AP)

I have been in a lot of conversations where the topic has been the success rate of Chennai Super Kings. Well, the reasons offered have been from sublime to ridiculous. For me, the reasons are right there in big and bold: CSK does well because the team is allowed to do well. ‘Allowed’ is the operative word here. Let me explain…

A lot goes on into the world of franchisee cricket. It is an expensive business -- franchisee fees, salaries of players and support staff, travel, stay etc. There is one more head that no balance sheet shows: EGO.

Most owners are successful outside the business of IPL. Just like us cricketers, they hate to lose. But while cricketers can accept defeat against a better team, team owners measure everything against Return on Investment (ROI).

READ | MS Dhoni’s leadership key to Chennai Super Kings’ IPL 2018 success, says Stephen Fleming

Given the circumstances, if the owners interfere in on-field matter can you really blame them? But Chennai Super Kings are different. MS Dhoni is their de-facto cricketing boss.

I have heard from Dhoni that no one from corporate side influences any cricketing calls. You can argue that it cuts both ways that since CSK have played record seven finals there is every reason for Dhoni to be given a free hand.


This year CSK’s average age was around 34. They were called Dad’s Army. If I am CSK I’d embrace that sobriquet. After all on Sunday, one dad showed how to win a final. Shane Watson’s innings typified that age doesn’t kill any passion.

IN PICS | Dads and daughters’ day out as CSK stars celebrate IPL 2018 title with kids

He is 36 and true to his game was still scoring in the V. Out of 117 that he scored, 91 came in front of the wicket. He was smart enough not to let Rashid Khan or Bhuvneshwar Kumar dominate. This ploy gave CSK the crown.

I have also noticed that CSK doesn’t chop and change too much. They were smart to retain their core – Dhoni, Raina, Jadeja, Bravo and Du Plessis.

Even the support staff -- coaches, the physio and the manager – have been there for years. Once again, having a well-planned strategy on the auction table helped cover all bases.

READ | Chennai Super Kings receives heroes’ welcome after IPL 2018 title victory

I am particularly proud of the fact that a batsman in the traditional mound won the Orange Cap. Kane Williamson was just awesome and how well he has adjusted to IPL.

From a team and personal point of view, it was a forgettable IPL season but one that taught me few lessons. More importantly, it proved that age is just a number on your passport.


First Published: May 29, 2018 08:18 IST