Watson: Australia will be lucky to have Warner in World Cup

Former Australia all-rounder and two-time World Cup winner Shane Watson calls David Warner a world-class batsman who scores 'hell lot of runs'.

Shane Watson addresses the media after Tuesday's IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.   -  SPORTZPICS

Four years ago, when Australia beat New Zealand in Melbourne to lift its fifth World Cup, Shane Watson was at the non-striker’s end as Steve Smith pulled a Matt Henry delivery to get the winning runs. 

Watson has played a lot of cricket with David Warner as well.

Smith and Warner were not part of Australia’s plans in the last 12 months. They were handed one-year sanctions for their involvement in the ball-tampering incident in Johannesburg in March last year.

But now, the duo have earned a place in Australia’s World Cup squad. 

The former Australia international feels the return of ‘world-class’ player Warner will augur well for Australia in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup starting May 30 in the UK. “He [Warner] is a world-class player. It is sad that someone like him didn’t play 12 months of international cricket but he is back and he has shown his class. 

READ: IPL 2019: Watson shines as CSK beats SRH by six wickets

“Australia will be very lucky to have him back into the team because he is a match-winner and a world-class batsman, one of the best in the world; he has the skills,” said Watson, on the sidelines of Chennai Super Kings’ six-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

Warner has been in terrific form in IPL 2019, smashing seven fifties and a ton, to mark his comeback. Two-time World Cup winner Watson called it normal.

“In most IPLs, he scores a lot of runs. It is not the first time that he is scoring consistently. I don’t remember any tournament in the last four to five years where he hasn’t scored hell lot of runs,” said Watson, who top-scored with a 53-ball 96 against a star-studded Sunrisers bowling attack on a dry wicket on Tuesday.

Quiet season

Though Chennai performed to its potential, Watson has struggled for runs in this edition of the league. Having travelled across time and conditions, the Australian needed time to adjust to the intricacies of the varying pitches. 

“Stephen Fleming and M.S. Dhoni had faith and I knew I had a good innings in me. I lost a bit of rhythm in my batting due to different conditions of travel; playing in the PSL and Big Bash. I am grateful I could repay.

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“The conditions here, compared to last year, has been a bit dry; specially coming from Big Bash where it is not dry. Even the pace as well. The wickets have been very dry. The ball had inconsistent bounce and pace on the wicket. I had to work on a couple of little things technically to get back into the groove. I got my rhythm back in the last game itself but I got out to Dale Steyn. You also need a bit of luck,” he added.

Watson praised India and Chennai paceman Deepak Chahar for containing Sunrisers to 175. “Deepak is bowling incredibly well. He has been bowling well since last year but now, the bowling has gone through the sky. He is bowling with the new ball swinging both ways. He executes incredibly well under pressure. It’s a huge turning point for CSK. Chasing 190 would have been difficult,” said Watson, who now plays only as a batsman. 

And he doesn’t miss bowling as that would mean aggravating injury chances at 37. “I stopped bowling because I kept getting injured. The calf-injury. If I keep pushing my body, the chances to stay fit to play the cricket that I have played in the last five months [may not come by]. It is a different ball-game not being an all-rounder. If I failed with the bat, I could contribute with the ball but this gives me a lot more chance to stay fit.”