Australias premier all-rounder Shane Watson decides to retire from all forms of international cricket. The adept Aussie announced that he would retire after this World T20 championship. Having already quit Test cricket following his dropping out during last years Ashes series and not featured for Australia in one-day cricket in the summer, Watsons time was probably almost up anyway, with selectors beginning the task of assembling the makings of a team for future major events such as the next World Cup in 2019.
To conquer international cricket, Shane Watson first had to beat his fragile body. Despite boasting an athletic figure made for photo shoots, Watsons frame was so brittle it threatened to break him. He refused to give up. Not through recurrences of back stress fractures, hamstring strains, calf problems, hip complaints, a dislocated shoulder or a suspected heart attack that turned out to be food poisoning. He changed his training, preferring Pilates to weights, gave up alcohol, but not his dream. It finally paid off in 2009, when he was chosen as a Test opener in the middle of the Ashes series. Many batsmen would have been uncomfortable with the promotion from the middle order, especially after failing when given the job with Queensland, but Watson had become used to re-inventing himself. With a history of setbacks, it was not a surprise that his first Test century became such a drama, but after two scores in the 90s and an 89, he finally brought it up at the MCG against Pakistan – thanks to a single from a dropped catch. He had earned some luck. A productive few years as a Test opener led to back-to-back Allan Border Medals but by 2011-12, injury had again interceded. He returned to the Test team in 2012 but spent the rest of his career floating up and down the order in search of a place to call his own.
However, Watson will finish as Australias most successful T20 star, having twice been crowned player of the series at the IPL and won the player of the tournament at the 2012 World Twenty20. Watson retired from Test cricket last year in England, bowing out alongside Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers. Mitchell Johnson decided to fight on after the failed the Ashes campaign but only played two more Tests. Watson was the only remaining link to an era that predated even Ricky Pontings captaincy.
“None of the guys that I played with growing up are here anymore and it really just feels like its time to let the younger group continue to grow.” said Watson.
Watson hopes he still has four games remaining for Australia – group matches against Pakistan here on Friday and against India on Sunday and then a World T20 semi-final and final – but he will continue to play in T20 leagues such as Big Bash and the Indian Premier League, where he remains a superstar. He was sold for a staggering $2 million in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.
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