Home > News >

IPL 2014: Shane Watson excited with Rajasthan Royals squad-depth

Shane Watson is upbeat about Rajastan Royals squad depth in IPL 2014 © IANS
Shane Watson is upbeat about Rajastan Royals prospects in IPL 2014 © IANS

By S S Ramaswamy

 

Mumbai: Apr 15, 2014

Having been part of Rajasthan Royals‘ (RR) campaign in all six previous editions, including the triumphant one in the inaugural year 2008, star Australia all-rounder Shane Watson feels the Jaipur franchise has its strongest-ever team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season.

“I’ve got no prediction; apart from (that) we’re certainly going to be extremely competitive. We’ve got, in my thoughts, the strongest squad we’ve ever had for the Rajasthan Royals.

“We’ve got really hard quality options and back-up for every position in our team which we haven’t exactly had every year in the past,” said Watson in an email about his team’s chances in the T20 event starting in the UAE.

However, the 32-year-old Queensland-born stalwart, who will captain the Royals this season, pointed out that with one team less following the exit of Pune Warriors this season, it’s going to be an open and exciting tournament.

“But that doesn’t certainly guarantee success or any more success than we’ve had previously because the opposition have got the same thing as well with one less team this year (which) means that they’re more hard quality players that are around to better be in every list as well.

“So I think it’s going to be the most toughly fought and evenly fought IPL that’s been so far because the quality of players that are in every single squad is pretty amazing,” he said.

Watson — who has played 52 Tests, 173 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 45 T20 Internationals (T20Is) for Australia  said the Royals had some very good players in their ranks with last year’s core group having been retained, besides augmenting the side.

“So there’s no doubt we will be doing everything we can, like we have in the past, but we certainly got some pretty incredible players as well. We’ve been able to keep our core group that we had last year which was very important as part of our strategy for this year and then we’ve also been able to complement what we’ve had last year as well.

“But that certainly doesn’t guarantee the success we had last year because the opposition is going to be even stronger than last year, but we’re certainly giving ourselves a good chance for things to go right anyway,” Watson said.

Watson said the franchise had put behind the controversies involving a few players, who were accused of spot-fixing last year and called the tainted trio’s action as “betrayal”.

“Absolutely. We put controversies that happened for those three guys, we put that behind us within a week and it was incredible to be able to experience the lows that we did.

“I’ve never been involved in an environment where we have felt so betrayed about what happened because we really thought and believed that we are a tight family and to be able to see, I suppose the betrayal of those three guys from what they did,” he said.

“But then for us to be able to turn it around like we did within that week, and really galvanised us, it certainly made us an even stronger group than we were previously. So we certainly put that behind us and it’s only made us a stronger team.”

He was referring to S Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila, who were arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing, and suspended immediately by the Cricket Board which later banned the first two after a disciplinary hearing.

Chandila’s case is still pending before the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Asked whether the Royals will be at an advantage or disadvantage with the initial phase being held in UAE because of the general elections that are on in India, Watson said all the teams were faced with the same conditions and the key is to quickly adapt to them.

“Honestly, I don’t think that it’s going to benefit or hinder our team at all. Everyone’s going to be in a similar boat playing in the UAE.

“Some individuals that played in the UAE are little bit more (used to them) than others, but we’re going to have to adapt to the conditions that we see from the start of the two weeks that we tour in the UAE. So I think that every team’s going to be just about pretty much in a similar boat,” Watson said.

“It’s more so how we’re able to adapt to the conditions that are there and make up the team, our plans and how we are going to go about it. So I think the team that adapts to those conditions that are there, the quickest will have more success.”

Talking about the other teams’ strengths, Watson was of the opinion that while two-time champions Chennai Super Kings still looked well-balanced, Sunrisers Hyderabad had picked players in a smart manner in the auction.

“There’s no question that Chennai have and will always have a really well-balanced squad. They’ve got a lot of great Indian players, so that’s a brilliant starting point and then they can just complement their overseas players around that as well. They’ve kept [Dwayne] Bravo as well, so he’s done a great job for them,” he said.

“But probably, the one whose team has done the best IPL auction would be the Sunrisers Hyderabad. They were very smart in who they picked up and who they kept as well in the auction.

“But like I said with the Rajasthan Royals, it doesn’t guarantee you success at all. It all depends on how they’re all going to bring their group together, how well they are led on and off the field. But they’ve certainly got a really high quality squad, there’s no question about that.”

Watson is unsure whether to open the innings with India batsman Ajinkya Rahane, a player he praised sky high and expected to play a key role in the team’s success.

“Still not sure whether I’m going to be opening. It just depends on the best make up of our team against different teams as well, what’s going to be the best match up so certainly nothing is in concrete at all where anyone in particular is going to bat,” he said.

“Ajinkya Rahane is someone who I saw in my touring, I think it was in 2010 where the Australian team played against an Indian ‘A’ team and from then on I loved exactly what I saw with Ajinkya.

“He’s an incredible player, he plays all around the wicket and since he’s come to the Rajasthan Royals as well, it’s been good to get to know him as a person. He’s a beautiful young guy, he’s extremely grounded,” Watson said.

“He just loves nothing more than to get out in the middle and bat for long periods of time and the contribution that he’s really made to the Rajasthan Royals has been immense.

“It’s great to have him around and continue having him around at the Rajasthan Royals, because he’s going to play an integral part again to our success this year.”

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

Dolphins vs Perth Scorchers CLT20 2014 Match 4: Highlights

Don Bradman plays his final innings in England

Pananmal Punjabi: A nonagenarian Test opener

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights

Shahid Afridi to quit other formats to focus on T20s

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi says his team are not afraid of Mitchell Johnson

CLT20 2014: KXIP skipper George Bailey praises Akshar Patel

CLT20 2014: Glenn Maxwell thrilled with two close games at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: David Miller helps KXIP register 4-wicket victory

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 Key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

Nip Pellew — one of the greatest fielders of all time

James Franklin: Barbados Tridents have youngsters who can win games

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

Latest Cancer Research: Biosensors to detect risk of developing cancer

Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 7 winner Ashish Sharma: I have had thoughts of quitting the show several times

Wickedleak Wammy Desire 3 tablet with 7-inch display and Android KitKat launched for Rs 5,999

World Alzheimer’s Day 2014: Book to spread awareness about dementia

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: Jitu Rai qualifies for 10m Air Pistol Finals, shuttlers assure Asian Games medal after 28-year

From Coke Zero to Mahindra Scorpio, the changing face of Indian e-commerce

Cape Cobras (COB) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HBH) Preview: Group B Match 6 of Champions League T20 2014 (CLT20)

Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate to air on October 5

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here