Shane Watson hails Kohli's captaincy, India's team depth

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has hailed Chennai Super Kings teammate M.S. Dhoni's abilities and said that the decision to retire is entirely his own.

Shane Watson was full of praise for Virat Kohli's abilities as a captain.   -  AP

Explosive on the arena, Shane Watson is charming off it. The man who can strike the ball into stratosphere also has a hundred-watt smile.

Cheered on by students of Velammal Vidyalaya as he inaugurated a cricket pitch at the school premises here on Monday, the 38-year-old former Australian all-rounder seemed delighted to be among such a young crowd.

His international career behind him, Watson has made a habit of hunting down bowlers in the IPL finals for CSK. Man for the big occasion, he certainly is.

And the Aussie speaks his mind. Queried when M.S. Dhoni should call it quits from the international stage, Watson replied the answer lay with his “cool, calm, and incredible” CSK captain only. 

Watson said, “M.S. Dhoni can do whatever he wants. He’s still playing incredibly well. He is still very fast between wickets, moves well, has beautiful hands.”

READ | Only Dhoni knows what lies ahead, says CSK teammate Watson

Talking about Virat Kohli and his captaincy, Watson noted, “It is so hard to get him out. And Virat has done a great job leading the Indian team in all formats.”

Watson felt India had a winning team at the moment. “India has great depth in batting, pace and spin bowling, is doing very well at home and abroad. Rohit Sharma coming out to open the batting and scoring runs has made the team stronger.”

Watson, however, felt it would be difficult for the current Indian team to replicate the successes of the two illustrious teams from the modern era, under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. “That would be very hard, but there is no reason why the Indians should not do very well.”

The big-built all-rounder, who revealed his two years with CSK were most enjoyable, said he would not be short of practise for the next IPL edition. “I have a lot of cricket coming up. The Pakistan Super League, T10, and club cricket. My form is a bit up and down but I will be there.”

Watson, who called Ponting his role model and mentor, remembered travelling to Chennai as a 19-year-old to hone his skills and appreciated the “passion” the city had for the game.

Turning his attention to Australian cricket, Watson did not appear too concerned about the lack of runs from David Warner. “He’s a world class player. He won’t be facing Stuart Broad [smiles] for quite a while. Of course, Australia will persist with him.”

And ‘Destroyer’ Watson will continue to do the damage for CSK up the order - in hot pursuit of the bowlers!