Shane Watson is thinking about quitting. That’d be a real shame. Australia haven’t had a number 4 score the occasional 20-30 since Dirk Whellham.
I’ve long thought of Watson as being a mythical creature. Good judges of cricket fawned over his potential. His technique was near flawless with the bat, and he could bowl quickly. He worked hard in the gym, and most importantly of all, he used the appropriate amount of blonde hair dye to fit seamlessly into any Australian cricket team.
Jeff Thomson also went on record as saying that he thought Watson was ‘shit. He bowls pies and plays blokes in for mine’. Having grown up with the fairly safe assumption to believe the opposite of what Thommo says, those who were on the fence that jumped on to the Watto-Wagon
The fact is, though, his figures have never added up. His batting never quite dominant enough, his bowling too hit and miss. His figures, whilst respectable, were never in line with his own opinion of himself, nor his paypacket. An Australian team that’s been deathriding him since before the South Africa series, and have since described him as ‘sometimes’ being a team player. His long, slow, disbelieving walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed gave an air of feeling cheated by bowlers who weren’t good enough to get him out, rather than disappointment at playing yet another Hollywood shot and getting caught.
The individual reactions to these (admittedly draconian and harsh) suspensions have been telling. Johnson has grinned and looked bewildered, Khawaja has had his manager speak for him, Pattinson has fronted the media and apologised, and Watson changed into a fashionable suit and headed for the airport, only stopping to do some shopping in Singapore and address the media (once in each location). His Sydney press conference is still to happen.
I can only imagine he expects the team management to come back on hands and knees. It would seem that the vice-captain refusing to perform a simple task set out by the coach would mean that there’s a massive misalignment in both of their trains of thought, and that Watson will spend the next few years joining Chris Gayle on the T20 jamboree.
Which would be a shame. Because, who else would we have to swear at opposition batsmen? Oh, David Warner.