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Shane Watson plays Sherlock Holmes

Aussie old hand gives inexperienced team clues to crack India code.

Written by Mihir Vasavda | Mumbai | Published: October 9, 2013 1:23:42 am

Hands folded and sunglasses resting on the cap,Shane Watson took his place behind the nets as Mitchell Johnson came in to bowl. Back from Champions League T20 duties,the two old-hands,Watson and Johnson,were the focus of attention at the Australian net session. Also Read: We would prefer that bat and ball do the talking,says Bailey

Under Watson’s watch,Johnson’s first ball,a full-length delivery,ended up in the stands. The next one was short but the result was exactly the same. These hits resulted in the left-handed paceman getting involved in a long,animated conversation with Watson.

It is no secret that the two share a special bond,one that is cemented by the mutual respect they have for each other. The fact that both were pulled for insubordination during the Test tour earlier this year proving how the two stick together both in thick and thin. The Watson talk had an instant impact. Twice in the following three balls,Johnson hit the stumps.

Watson then moved on to the adjoining nets,passing tips to Callum Ferguson and then Adam Voges. Perhaps jaded by the extensive travel during the CLT20 tournament,the all-rounder didn’t bat or bowl much but he did share his vast experience of playing in India with his team mates. Also Read: India-Aus series meaningless,says Ian Chappell

Not just that he also took the lead in organising the nets. As stand-in coach Steve Rixon assisted Matthew Wade go through the wicket-keeping drills near the boundary lines,Watson marshaled the rest of the squad.

With Michael Clarke not traveling to India because of injury; Watson,though he doesn’t wear the captain’s armband,was willingly playing the mentor. It’s a role he is used to playing while turning up for Rajasthan Royals. After being roped in by Shane Warne in the inaugural season,the Royals’s captain-in-waiting has evolved from being just an all-rounder to being the backbone of the team.

Coach Paddy Upton described him as someone who places the team’s needs ahead of his own. “He is incredibly good with the younger players and is someone who bridges all the gaps in terms of the diversity of players we have … he is also someone who contributes and adds value on and off the field,” Upton had said after Sunday’s final against Mumbai Indians.

After spending a fortnight guiding and leading the Royals to a runners-up finish in the CLT20,Watson seems to have made a seamless transition into the Australian dressing room. And in Clarke’s absence,he seems to be relishing the added responsibility that comes with being one of the few seniors in the squad.

There have been indications that Watson’s relations in the squad have improved significantly since Darren Lehman took over as the coach. “Shane brings a wealth of experience,particularly here in India. He has played a lot of cricket here and any tips that he can give to any of our guys,I am sure we all will be listening,” said Voges.

In battle for No. 1,key is to start well,says Voges

Mumbai: Ahead of a tough limited-overs tour of India,Australian batsman Adam Voges said the key to beating the defending world champions was to make a good start to the seven-match ODI rubber. While he was aware of the challenge of playing spin in Indian conditions,Voges said that doing well was a matter of executing plans against the entire Indian team and not just Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

On No. 1 battle

India are No 1 at the moment and if we can have a good win in this series,we’ve got an opportunity to overtake them,so there’s no bigger incentive than that. Obviously,we’re gonna have to play extremely well for that like last time I was here. If we can play some good cricket,start well — I think that will be important — there’s a big incentive.

On Aussie batting

I think our one-day batting has been okay. We played pretty well against England in their conditions. The Champions Trophy didn’t go as we would have liked but I thought the way we bounced back against England in England was pretty good. We’ll take a lot of confidence out of that as a batting group and we’ve got some continuity I guess with our batters. We know our role and like I said,a good start to our batting role will be crucial. On conditions

We understand the conditions. The dew will play part as well with day-night games. We’ve played a lot of cricket over here. Most of the guys now have played and adapted to the conditions. It’s great to have played here at the CCI and adapt to the conditions with some really good facilities. So we jump on the plane this afternoon and will be ready to go.

On facing spin

We need to have our plans against Jadeja,Ashwin and all the Indian bowlers. it’s gonne be tough work against spinners in their conditions. But look,as long as we have got some clear game plans about how we’re gonna tackle them,it’s about executing them. Look,it’s gonna be a big challenge but I am certainly looking forward to it. Not just him. Well look,all of their bowlers. You don’t become No 1 team without being a very good all-round team. We’ll be well prepared and we’ll certainly look into their whole team and we’ll be ready to go.

On the team’s spirit

We’re a pretty close-knit team now. We’ve got some guys who played in the series in 2009,I think we’ve got four or five guys from that trip who had success back then. We know how to win here and that’s something that’s important.


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