Watson: 'India tour cannot get worse than in 2013'

According to Shane Watson, Australia's upcoming tour of India cannot be worse than in 2013, when disciplinary action taken against four Australians had them being suspended for a Test.

Shane Watson was suspended for the Mohali Test in 2013 alongside James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Former all-rounder Shane Watson feels that Australia’s upcoming tour of India cannot go worse than the 2013 series when he and three other cricketers were suspended for disciplinary breaches. “It really can’t get any worse than what it was in 2013,” Watson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“So that’s a good starting point because that’s as bad as it can get, players getting suspended from a Test match. I’m sure that won’t happen this time.”

Australia was whitewashed 4-0 by India in 2013 and Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were handed a one-Test ban for homework-gate. Last Sunday, Australia named a spin-heavy 16-man squad with four specialist slow bowlers, including uncapped leg-spinner Mitch Swepson, all-rounders Ashton Agar and Glenn Maxwell, for its four-Test tour of India in February-March.

'Playing to your strengths'

However, Watson recalled how Australia won in 2004-05 with the pace trio of Glenn McGrath, Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie working with spin king Shane Warne. “Obviously the way that you win over there is through spin bowling, but not necessarily just only spin bowling,” Watson said.

“The time the Aussie team won in 2004, they only had Shane Warne and three quick bowlers. It’s more so just playing to your absolute strengths, playing your best players, who’ve got the best chance of being able to play in those extreme conditions than what we’re used to.”

The 35-year-old also heaped praise on young opener Matt Renshaw, who faces a tough competition from Shaun Marsh for the opening Test in Pune on February 23. “He knows his game incredibly well and I’m sure he’ll just stick to his game plan like he did in the Test matches he’s played. I’m sure he’ll have a lot of success,” Watson said.

“For a young guy to be able to have so much control over what he’s doing, shows he’s got what it takes to be successful in any conditions.”