Watson ready for bigger role

Cricket IPL: With RCB hit by injuries to key players, Aussie will have more responsibilities

Watson ready for bigger role
After their talismanic skipper Virat Kohli was declared unavailable for the first two weeks of the tournament, the injury scare for key batsman AB de Villiers has come as another jolt for them.

While RCB will be desperately hoping that the South African batsman regains fitness in time, the absence of Kohli and in-form KL Rahul (also out due to injury) puts the onus on all-rounder Shane Watson to use his wealth of experience to inspire the young side.

The unavailability of two of their key batsmen at the top could result in a change in role for Watson, who held together RCB’s middle-order last season.

“I think my role probably will change a little bit, which is great. I have got more chances of batting up the order which is what I have done in the majority of my career. I am ready to bat anywhere but if I get a role to bat up the order, I will certainly enjoy doing that as well,” said Watson during his team’s practice session here at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Saturday.

With 973 runs under his belt, Kohli was undoubtedly the best batsman for RCB last season. The consistent Rahul, with four half-centuries, also played a part in taking RCB to the title clash where they finished second best to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Admitting that it’s a challenge to fill the void left by the duo, Watson said the team is banking on its batting depth. “Of course its not ideal to have Rahul and Kohli out. They are two great players and its going to be challenging for us. But one thing we have at RCB is a lot of batting depth. We have Sarfaraz (Khan), Mandeep (Singh), Kedar (Jadhav) and Sachin Baby. So very fortunate to have such a quality depth,” noted the Australian.

While his role as a batsman could change, Watson added that he will also try and be a good leader in the unit. “I am always there to help anyone I can whenever possible. Its not going to change because I am doing it every single time. Whoever is leading, I am there to help, especially the bowlers,” Watson offered.

Watson said he is banking on his team’s bowlers to make a mark this season. “Bowling was something which really turned around in the back half last season. We have got similar bowlers and have added Tymal Mills. So I am confident and excited about what we are going to do this year,” he said.

‘Hodge realised mistake’
Responding to Brad Hodge’s controversial comment on Virat Kohli, Watson said that his former Australian team-mate realised that he was wrong. “I think in the end Brad Hodge realised his mistake. Particularly against a character like Virat. If anyone knows him well, he is doing everything he can to be able to play every single game. Whether its for India or RCB, he just loves playing. I guess Hodge realised that after the feedback he got for his comments and he duly apologised.”

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