Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder Shane Watson said that the 2017 season was the worst he has experienced in his Indian Premier League career. He also commended the RCB fans for the support they have shown. “The one thing I’ve realised playing for Royal Challengers the last two years is how incredibly loyal the fans are,” said Watson, “Whether that was doing incredibly well last year or this year when we weren’t doing well, but everywhere we went, obviously here at Chinnaswamy, and other parts around India, the support Royal Challengers get is nothing compared to what I’ve experienced before.” (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
Watson also said that RCB’s poor performance was not down to the expectations that may have come out of their dominant form last season that saw them reach the final. Instead, the former Australia all-rounder said he was used to playing under this sort of pressure. “Playing county cricket as well, which I did in 2004-05, there’s a lot of pressure on you to perform,” he said, “You’re not getting paid more, but you’re actually getting paid to help the team win and then in the IPL, having been exposed to it since 2008, and being someone who the team relies on, you have to perform and it doesn’t always work out that you perform; certainly don’t perform every game.”
Shane Watson had called time on his international and first-class career in March 2016. He has since been active only in international T20 leagues. “The biggest challenge for me has been not coming off playing international cricket after which you just go into the flow of the IPL, which is obviously an incredibly strong tournament,” he said, “And it’s been a big learning experience for me, how it hasn’t worked this year for me or this season and how I can actually learn from this experience so that the next tournament I’m playing, the Caribbean Premier League, I’m going to be better prepared.”
Coming into the tournament as the runners-up of the 2016 season, Royal Challengers Bangalore were beset by injuries. Despite the return of many of the injured stars, RCB could not pick up their form, even being dismissed for a paltry total of 49 by Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens. They have lost 10 matches and won two and remain at the bottom of the table.