Shane Watson © Getty Images
Shane Watson said the Australian team needed time together after the Hughes tragedy © Getty Images

Dec 7, 2014

Australia are keen to inflict pain on India with their aggressive brand of cricket in the series opening Test in Adelaide, senior batsman Shane Watson said on Sunday. Watson, who said it had been a mentally challenging time getting back to cricket after the tragic death of team-mate Phillip Hughes, warned the tourists to expect a fired-up Australian team in Tuesday’s first Test.

He said the Australians were still bristling from their 4-0 series hammering in India last year and were keen for revenge in the four-match series at home. “We’ve played our best cricket when we are aggressive with bat and ball and that’s been ever since I’ve been around the Australian cricket team,” Watson told reporters at Adelaide Oval.

“Especially like we were with the ball in the last Ashes series (against England). There’s no doubt that’s not going to change because that’s when we’re at our absolute best. They hammered us in their conditions last year so we certainly have a lot to give back to them in our conditions. They certainly let us know that they were on top of us in that series and we need to start off very well and stay strong through the series to make sure they feel a similar pain to what we felt over in India,” said the Australian all-rounder.

The Adelaide Test is being played against the backdrop of the heart-wrenching death of Hughes, who never regained consciousness after being struck by a bouncer during a domestic game in Sydney last month. Watson, who had been in the field at the time, described the period since as the most challenging of his career.

“Physically, I feel ready to go, [but] mentally has been the biggest challenge over the last couple of days. It’s been the most challenging few days that I’ve had to go through in my career after seeing what happened over the last week and trying to process everything that happened and being at the Sydney Cricket Ground that day as well. But… there’s no doubt I’ll be ready to go on Tuesday. Everyone’s progressing well. Some guys are a bit more affected than others and every session we’re out there you can see everyone is gradually starting to find their feet and get back to what we love doing,” he said.

Watson, 33, a veteran of 52 Tests since his debut in 2005, said the Australian team needed time together after the Hughes tragedy. “This has been as important four-day lead-up to a Test that I’ve ever been involved in. There have been a lot of inner demons that we’ve had to sort our way through, but from the Test perspective once we get out there in front of a great crowd on such a great ground as Adelaide Oval everyone’s competitive juices will be up and running.”