‘I really felt like I belonged at the international level’

The 2009 ICC Champions Trophy was a breakthrough tournament for Shane Watson. He scored two remarkable hundreds in the semifinal and the final, and made significant contributions with the ball through the competition, as Australia defended its title. 

"To be involved in such a great win is definitely one of the better feelings I've had in my career," said Shane Watson.   -  Reuters

The 2009 Champions Trophy was, in many ways, Shane Watson’s breakthrough tournament. He scored two remarkable hundreds in the semifinal and final, and made significant contributions with the ball through the competition, as Australia defended its title. 

“The 2009 edition of the Champions Trophy in South Africa was the first time that I really felt like I belonged at the international level. Our team was significantly different to the team that won in 2006, which made this win even more special. We just scraped through in the round stages against Pakistan, but then we really turned it on in the semi-final against England and then in the final against New Zealand,” he said in his column for the ICC website.

Watson began the tournament with a pair of ducks against West Indies and India. He made only 24 against Pakistan but claimed two important wickets. His bowling had kept his confidence up when it could otherwise have taken a beating, he would note later. Watson sprang to life in the semifinal, though, battering England with an unbeaten 132-ball 136. He followed that up with another undefeated century (105) in the final, anchoring Australia's run chase against New Zealand.

“These last two games in particular, really were the making of me as an international all-rounder,” he said. “I only ever dreamed of being able to perform like I did in those last two games, so for that dream to become a reality, instilled an incredible confidence and belief in my cricketing abilities. My lasting image of the 2009 Champions Trophy win was our team standing on the podium wearing our beautiful new white jackets and revelling in what we had just achieved.”

After the victory in Centurion that night, Watson had spoken of his new-found maturity. “The thing that I've learnt about playing in bigger games throughout my career is that it is in the end another game of cricket," he had said. “Previously, I've taken it as more than a game. The thing that stands out for me was the semifinal of the World Cup in 2007. I was so pumped up to do well that I ended up being overawed by the situation. Today, to be involved in such a great win is definitely one of the better feelings I've had in my career."

Shreedutta Chidananda

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