Captaincy will motivate me more, says Watson

Captaincy will motivate me more, says Watson

Shane Watson is no stranger to pressure. Since his international debut for Australia in 2002, Wa­tson had to battle press­ures of enormous expectations and a brittle frame that made him highly injury prone. But every single time he found a way to comeback.

But as the full-time captain of the Rajasthan Royals in IPL VII, Watson had to tame a different beast. A franchise embroiled in controversy, Royals will require a strong leader to guide them and despite being a hard-nosed pro, captaincy is totally strange waters for him. The 32-year-old Queenslander touched base with Deccan Herald to talk about his leadership role, team combination among other things. Excerpts:

How do you view your role as the full-time skipper of Royals?

Being the captain of the Rajasthan Royals is a huge privilege and honour for me. And that role will certainly motivate me more. But it will also take the focus off my individual performance, which is only a great thing. The game can really engulf you at times as an individual player if things aren’t going exactly right. You can really immerse yourself and try and put that extra pressure on yourself to perform, but as a leader and as a captain especially, my focus will be to get the best out of everyone around me, on and off the field.

Are you happy with the composition of the squad especially because you have retained some core players from last season?

We’ve got, in my thoughts, the strongest squad we’ve ever had for the Royals.

We’ve got really hard quality options and back-up for every position in our team that we haven’t exactly had every year in the past. But that doesn’t guarantee success because the opposition has got the same thing as well. But 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.

Now that Rahul Dravid has retired, how helpful his presence is to you as a mentor of the side?

It’s always going to be extremely difficult to fill that void but we have focused during the auction to pick up the players to ensure that we don’t let the loss of Rahul affect us much. We still have Rahul to contribute off the field. With his experience, I got someone I can talk to. This is the first time I have got the opportunity to captain a team full time. Certainly he will be able to take a bit of the burden and pressure off me and will make my job much easier.

In the recently concluded World T20, your performance was below expectations, (3 wickets from 4 matches and 7 runs from 3 innings). Have do you put behind that modest run?

My performance in the World Twenty20 was unbelievably disappointing. I don’t like performing poorly. I’ve continued to strive to get the best out of myself, so I’m certainly doing everything I can to put that behind me and contribute a lot more than what I did in the World T20. I’ve got a lot of faith in my ability and what I am able to contribute. Hopefully, over the next six weeks, things will turn around for me.

You will also be donning the bowler's role for RR, besides being the captain and No 1 batsman -- how will you handle that three-pronged duty?

I know I’ve got a realistic point of view of what I can contribute to a team and I’ve seen how captains have used me, especially for the Royals. It will be more about moving myself into that space that previous captains have used me.

This time IPL is happening in two countries. In that context is there any apprehensions of losing the rhythm considering the shift of venues? Also there is no match in Jaipur this year, your fortress in the past seasons, is that a setback?

Honestly, I don’t think that it’s (shift of venues) going to affect the rhythm of our team at all. We’re going to have to adapt to the conditions, and make up our team combinations in UAE. It is extremely disappointing that we are not playing in Jaipur. I think it is one of the best wickets in India. It’s an incredible place to play as a batsmen and a bowler. But in the end we have to adapt to different conditions we will get in Ahmedabad (RR’s home venue). Hopefully, we can create that to be our fortress as well.

There has been an unfortunate sequence of events surrounding RR leading up to the IPL VII, and in that context, how important is your role within the team set-up?

We all in the team know what is expected of us, everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out. Not just in our team, in every team that you are playing, everyone knows what the rules are.

Everyone knows where the lines are and we certainly have to make sure that we never cross it.

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