Shane Watson has told the Chennai Super Kings team that he would retire from all forms of cricket, according to a report in Times of India. Watson, 39, reportedly made the announcement after CSK beat Kings XI Punjab in their last league game of IPL 2020.
“Watson was very emotional when he told the CSK dressing room after the last game that he would retire. He said that it was a great privilege for him to play for the franchise," TOI quoted a source as saying.
Watson, from Australia, had already retired from international cricket in 2016. He has been a part of CSK from 2018, playing a huge part in their title victory that year. He was the Man of the Final in the 2018 edition where he smashed an unbeaten century against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He nearly did an encore in the 2019 final against Mumbai Indians, but CSK fell one run short.
Nevertheless, Watson won multiple fans for playing through pain of an injured knee during that game.
Watson made 555 and 398 runs for CSK in 2018 and 2019 season but has not had a good run in 2020, where he made only 299 runs from 11 innings. It included an 83* against KXIP earlier in the tournament that led CSK to victory.
Overall, Watson will be remembered as one of the most successful all-rounders in IPL. He has made 3874 runs and picked up 92 wickets from 145 matches, having played for Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and CSK. He was also the Man of the Tournament during RR’s victory in the inaugural IPL in 2008.
Watson’s struggled in IPL 2020 and the arrival of young Ruturaj Gaikwad, coupled with Watson’s age, meant it was clear that he wouldn’t be a part of CSK’s plans going forward.
CSK coach Stephen Fleming had spoken about the need to rebuild, saying they’ll look at a fresh core group for the next decade.
“It’s a great challenge," Fleming said at the post-match press conference. “It’s great fun and there’s responsibility around it, but when you get the likes of Ruturaj (Gaikwad) come through and some of the players getting the mix of youth and old.
We go back to the same team which Mr. Srinivasan and CSK picked and how right they got it. We’re looking to do the same if we can get a decade of consistent cricket from a side, you’re doing something right. So, we’re tapping into that and yeah there’s big responsibility. Teams now and squads are a lot smarter and they really want what they want, so talent is at a premium. But, it’s one of the challenges, good and exciting challenges of being involved with an IPL side."