NEW DELHI: Dressed in a blue tee and black shorts, as Shane Watson reached the Wonder Cricket Academy in Udaipur on Sunday evening, the fifty odd youngsters training at the nets thought the former Australia captain was in the academy just for a normal visit.
But, they were left surprised the very next moment as the 34-year-old brought out his kit, and took a small run-up in the bowling area. He exchanged quick smiles with the youngsters, and asked them whether they were following the World T20, and then started jogging.
For Watson, that was a ‘break’ from a week-long holiday at the Lake City. After an illustrious international career, Watson played his last match in the World T20 against India in Mohali. After the defeat, he travelled straight to Udaipur to enjoy a holiday with his family. Even as his posts on social media have revealed as to how much he was enjoying his time off, the Australian also made it a point to visit the cricket academy a couple of times to give tips to the youngsters there.
So, when he arrived at the academy again, not many thought he would actually start practising. But, that was not something that was going on in Watson’s mind.
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) a few days away, the Australian is out to attain complete fitness. “We have various types of wickets, and that’s why he (Watson) decided to train here. After a workout, he hit the nets and bowled for an hour,” Manoj Chaudhary, chief coach of the academy, told Express.
Ever since the inaugural edition of the IPL, Watson has played for the now-disbanded Rajasthan Royals. This time, Royal Challengers Bangalore got him for a whopping `9.5 crore.
After retiring from international cricket, Watson wants to make this outing with RCB one to remember. “I am looking forward to a good season. I will be playing with Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle for the first time, and that’s exciting. The target will be to give my 100 per cent,” he said.
And, it’s this urge to perform that has forced him to hit the ground. “Even after retiring from international arena, he is determined to perform well in IPL. It is surprising to see someone like him hitting the nets in the middle of a holiday. This shows his dedication,” Chaudhary said, adding that Watson will start his batting practice on Tuesday morning.
“He will be batting along with some Ranji cricketers. He wants to be fit before joining the camp,” the senior coach stated.
Apart from visiting tourist attractions in the state, Watson has also met with former Rajasthan Royals teammates Dishant Yagnik and Ashok Menaria, and has even discussed the nitty-gritty of the game with the local cricketers.
“He conducted a clinic for the youngsters, and gave them suggestions on how to improve the game. The tips will definitely help them,” Chaudhary said.
After all, it’s not easy to take cricket out of a cricketer’s life!