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Shane Watson, the man who threatened greatness but never achieved it

Shane Watson, Australia, World T20
The pinnacle of his T20I career came during the 2012 World T20 when he finished as the highest run-scorer and second highest wicket-taker and was named player of the tournament.

As Shane Watson announced his retirement during the on-going World T20 tournament, there was a smattering of applause and a tinge of sadness as the cricketing world reflected on a man who should have amounted to so much more.

Watson’s exit effectively severs ties for Australia with their greatest-ever cricketing era and it is amazing to now think that Watson debuted before the inception of international T20 cricket.

While Watson had his shortcomings in the Test arena, he did show glimpses of greatness in the limited overs format. Watson holds the record for Australia’s highest score in ODIs – 185 vs Bangladesh in 2011 – and was also ranked No.1 all-rounder in the world in the same year. The pinnacle of his T20I career came during the 2012 World T20 when he finished as the highest run-scorer and second highest wicket-taker and was named player of the tournament.

Throughout is career Watson has always been compared to Jacques Kallis, rather unfairly. Watson has never reached close to Kallis’ level but without a doubt he has been Australia’s greatest all-rounder in the modern era. His greatest achievement is being one of only seven men to achieve the double of 10000 runs and 250 wickets in international cricket, across formats. Others on the list include Kallis, Steve Waugh, Carl Hooper, Sanath Jayasuirya, Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle.

Watson though faced more tribulations than triumphs in the Test arena. His faults ranged from not doing his ‘homework’ and referring obvious decisions to numerous injuries and not knowing where to plant his front foot against the red ball.

With Watson exiting the international stage Australia have a ready-made replacement in Mitchell March, whose recent form has jettisoned Watson’s exit across formats. They’re both in the Aussie squad for the on-going World T20. Watson’s career was filled with glimpses of talent and sporadic highlights. Maybe there is one more to come.

 

 

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