Shane Watson: Australia’s Limited Overs Superstar

Shane Watson bats at the 2015 ICC World Cup Semi Final vs India

Shane Watson – Australia’s Greatest

Shane Watson has divided opinion like few other cricketers.

Many think he is a leg-before wicket candidate each time he strides to the crease. Some think his bowling is not rapid enough to challenge top batsman. Others have questioned his fitness at times.

But what is clear, is that he has been instrumental to Australia’s success in limited-overs cricket.

So, Shane Watson. Is he Australia’s best ODI all-rounder of all-time?


Shane Watson ODI and T20I Statistics 

Shane Watson bats for Australia against India in 2015
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 18: Shane Watson of Australia hits a boundary during the One Day International match between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 18, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Shane Watson has played 190 One-Day Internationals and has scored 5757 runs at an average of 40.54. He has a strike rate of 90.44. In addition to this, he has scored 9 centuries and 33 half-centuries for Australia and the World XI.

He has also taken 168 One-Day International wickets in 190 matches at a bowling average of 31.79. His economy rate was a low 4.95. In this time he has taken 3 four-wicket hauls but no five-wicket hauls.

He made his ODI debut against South Africa at Centurion in 2002 and played his last ODI against England at Lords in 2015.

Watson has played 58 T20Is for Australia and scored 1462 runs at an average of 29.24. He has scored those runs at a strike rate of 145.32. He has one century and 10 half-centuries in the format.

Watson has also taken 48 wickets at a bowling average of 24.72 and an economy rate of a lowly 7.65.

Shane Watson’s Champions Trophy Heroics

Watson celebrates with Damien Martyn after winning the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy
MUMBAI (BOMBAY), INDIA – NOVEMBER 05: Not out batsmen Shane Watson (R) and Damien Martyn of Australia celebrate their win after the final of the ICC Champions Trophy between Australia and the West Indies at The Brabourne Stadium on November 5, 2006, in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

Watson the Winner

Shane Watson took 8 wickets in 5 matches at the 2006 Champions Trophy. He capped this off with a fantastic final. In the final, he took 2-11 of 3 overs and scored 57 not out to help see Australia to their first Champions Trophy title win. He was the player of the match in the final.

The 2009 Champions Trophy again saw Shane Watson help Australia to another triumph. He scored a fantastic 105 not out in the final to see Australia home by six wickets. In the semi-final, he had already taken 2 wickets and scored a century against England.

He was player of the match in both the semi-final and final. Watson was and still is truly a big-match player. He scored 265 runs in that tournament at a batting average of 88.33 and also picked up 6 wickets.

Watson helped Australia to both of their Champions Trophy triumphs and Australia have yet to win another Champions Trophy since.

Also, Read – Picking Australia’s Greatest ODI XI

World T20 Lone Ranger

Watson bowls during the World T20 in 2012.
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – OCTOBER 02: Shane Watson of Australia bowls during the ICC World Twenty20 2012 Super Eights Group 2 match between Australia and Pakistan at R. Premadasa Stadium on October 2, 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Pal Pillai/Getty Images)

The 2012 World T20 was perhaps the making of Watson as a T20 superstar. Having already won the IPL in 2008 with the Rajasthan Royals, he took T20 Cricket to a new level at this tournament.

Unbelievably, he was the highest run-scorer in the tournament and also the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. An all-round feat if ever there was one. Shane Watson scored 249 runs at an average of 49.80 and with a superb strike rate of 150. He also took 11 wickets an average of 16 and economy of 7.33.

At the 2016 World T20, Shane Watson played four games and scored 96 runs at an average of 48. Again, his strike rate was 150. He also picked up 5 wickets at an average of 20.60 and an economy rate of 7.35.

He was excellent for Australia in both World T20’s that he played. However, he could not inspire Australia to a World Cup win in T20 as teams such as India and West Indies proved to be far stronger. Despite this, he will remain one of Australia’s greatest ever T20 players.

World Cup Winner

He and Steve Smith celebrate winning the 2015 World Cup for Australia
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 29: Steve Smith and Shane Watson of Australia celebrate victory during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final match between Australia and New Zealand at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

At the 2015 Cricket World Cup Shane Watson scored 208 runs at 41.60. His strike rate was a fantastic 106.12. Despite playing a lesser role for Australia than in previous triumphs, he had little to do.

In the final, New Zealand was bundled over cheaply and by the time he came into bat, there were not many runs required. He scored a 28 ball 30 against India in the semi-finals.

He scored a solid 67 against Sri Lanka of just 41 balls, which helped propel Australia to an above-par total. This ultimately helped them win the game by 64 runs.

He also scored a fighting half-century against Pakistan in the quarter-finals, after being dropped by Rahat Ali during a fierce Wahab Riaz spell in Adelaide. His 64 not out helped guide Australia to the World Cup Semi-Finals against India.

Shane Watson the IPL Superstar

Batting for CSK against DC in the 2019 IPL Qualifier 2
VISAKHAPATNAM, INDIA – MAY 10: Shane Watson of the Chennai Super Kings bats during the Indian Premier League IPL Qualifier Final match between the Delhi Capitals and the Chennai Super Kings at ACA-VDCA Stadium on May 10, 2019 in Visakhapatnam, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Shane Watson is arguably the greatest all-rounder in the history of the IPL. He almost certainly ranks within the top 3. His Indian Premier League statistics are very strong.

He has played 134 games and has scored 3575 runs at an average of 31.08 and a strike rate of 139.53. Plus, he has taken 92 wickets at an average of 29.15 and an economy rate of 7.93.

His two title wins were both with different franchises. He won the inaugural IPL with the Rajasthan Royals in 2008. In that particular season, he scored 472 runs at an average of 47.20 and a strike rate of 151.76. Watson also picked up 17 wickets at an average of 22.52 and an economy rate of 7.07. He was named player of the tournament in this edition of the IPL.

He was also named the player of the tournament with RR in 2013 – having had another stellar all-round season. Watson had a fantastic IPL in 2016 with the Royal Challengers Bangalore – helping them reach the final. He took 20 wickets in this particular edition and scored 179 runs.

My favourite franchise – The Chennai Super Kings than swooped him up in the 2018 IPL mega-auction. Here, he reinvigorated his career. The 2018 IPL was Shane Watson’s best-ever season with the bat. He scored 555 runs for CSK at a brilliant average of 39.64 and strike rate of 154.59.

He saved his best performance for the final – scoring a blistering 117 of just 57 balls – despite playing the first 10 balls as dots. Watson tore the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling attack apart and helped CSK win their third IPL title.

Undoubtedly, Shane Watson is Australia’s best ODI and T20 all-rounder of all-time.



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