KNOW YOUR LIONS
“It is going to be a real honour to play for such a great franchise with the history that the Chennai Super Kings have, and the thought of playing under the great Mahendra Singh Dhoni excites me a lot,” Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has said.
Watto, as he is fondly known in cricket circles, has turned out in the Indian Premier League since the inaugural edition – for Rajasthan Royals between 2008 and 2015 and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last two seasons.
“It is going to be a little strange initially as CSK were one of Rajasthan’s big rivals which started way back in the first year of the IPL. But it won’t take that long to subside,” said Watson, who was on fire in the recent Big Bash League for Sydney Thunder.
“I still absolutely love playing the game which is an easy motivation in itself. I still love the thrill of the unknown of every game and I am extremely competitive and so I have no problem with motivation at all for each game,” added the 36-year-old, who played his last international match in the World T20 in March 2016 but is a regular in T20 leagues across the globe.
Watson has played 102 games in the IPL, scoring 2622 runs at a strike rate of 138.65 and claimed 86 wickets at 21.63.
“Any CSK squad with Dhoni, (Suresh) Raina and (Ravindra) Jadeja as a starting point is going to be incredibly good and is always going to compare really well to the previous years,” the Queensland-born concluded.
The Lions won the IPL twice, finished runners-up on four occasions and qualified to the Playoffs in every season between 2008 and 2015 to emerge as one of the most successful franchises in the opening decade of the competition.
“Watson is a proven performer on the T20 circuit. He is in good touch as well. He is someone who can bat at the top of the order, come in late in the innings and also bowl a few overs at the death,” CSK Head Coach Stephen Fleming told reporters after the 2018 IPL Player auction in Bengaluru late last month.
“When we combine what Watto offers with that of the likes of Raina, Jadeja, (Kedar) Jadhav and Harbhajan (Singh), we have a multi-skilled team in our ranks. That, to us, is very important and it gives us options throughout the course of the season,” added Fleming.