Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson was one of the marquee players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since its inception and called time on his illustrious career after IPL 2020. He played his final three seasons in the IPL for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) led by MS Dhoni.
He further mentioned that he had a special emotional connection with the CSK franchise, which was totally different from his experience of playing for Rajasthan Royals (RR) or Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Watson, 39, had called time on his international career way back in 2016 but elongated his career by playing franchise-based T20 leagues, including the Indian Premier League, the Pakistan Super League, and similar tournaments. He was the first-ever Most Valuable Player in IPL, back in 2008, when he scored 472 runs and picked up 17 wickets for Rajasthan Royals.
RCB Was More Like A Corporate Run Team, Playing For It Was A Great Experience: Shane Watson
Shane Watson was signed up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2016 after Rajasthan Royals was suspended for two years following the spot-fixing scandal. He even captained the team in IPL 2017 in absence of Virat Kohli.
“RCB was a great experience because of the calibre of players I played with. It was run by Diageo which is sort of a Johnny Walker company, so it was more corporately sort of run, which is different. There’s no real emotional connection with the owners who put in their heart and soul into it,” Watson talked about his time in RCB on the Grade Cricketer podcast.
However, his run with the RCB was a forgettable one where he made 250 runs in 24 matches in IPL 2016 and IPL 2017.
There Was A Cool Connection With MS Dhoni In CSK: Shane Watson
After two unproductive years with RCB, Shane Watson was brought by the Chennai Super Kings, which returned to the IPL fold in 2018 and Watson made an immediate impact, leading them to the IPL 2018 title, scoring a century in the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He almost repeated the feat in IPL 2019 final as well, scoring a valiant half-century as CSK fell one run short and lost to Mumbai Indians.
“But CSK was an incredible experience to be with a team that was ageing, because of the experience we had, to be led by MS Dhoni, to be coached by Stephen Fleming, who is the best coach I’ve ever worked with. Fleming’s man-management skills, understanding of individuals and team environment, and also his cricket knowledge is ultimate. And of course the connection he had with MS Dhoni. That was a super cool experience,” Watson spoke of his CSK experience.
After CSK failed to make it into the playoffs of the IPL 2020, for the first time in their IPL history, Shane Watson retired from all formats of the game, including IPL. Overall, in 145 matches, Watson made 3874 runs with 4 centuries, including the best score of 117* at a strike rate of 137.91. He also picked 92 wickets.