Australian all-rounder Shane Watson said that the ability to trust players and keep faith in them is what sets Chennai Super Kings apart from other franchises. Watson had won the Indian Premier League title in the inaugural season with the Rajasthan Royals and a decade later, he won it again with CSK in 2018.
"You can go for 10 games not scoring runs and still get picked. Last season, thank you to M.S. Dhoni and Stephen Fleming for keeping the faith," he said in an Instagram live session on CSK's handle.
"Every other franchise would have been 'You are gone. Thank you for coming, but you are sitting and you are running the drinks'," he said.
He smashed 117 off 57 balls in an innings that included 11 fours and eight sixes in the 2018 final against Sunrisers Hyderabad to almost single-handedly take CSK to victory. He almost repeated the heroics the next year against Mumbai Indians, scoring 80 off 59 but CSK fell incredibly short of MI's total of 149.
Watson had experienced a lean run in the early part of that season but started firing towards the latter stages.
"Through that period, unfortunately I felt like I was batting well but I was just not scoring runs and that kept going on and on. At some stage I was feeling after a couple of games that they are going to have to move me on, but they didn't," said Watson.
"And then when things turned around, which I knew it would at some stage, I thanked MS and Fleming for keeping the faith, and they said there was never any doubt," he said.
"And that's phenomenal. That made me feel 10-foot tall. That's the power of amazing leadership. To know when to stick with people you believe in, and that's amazing for me. And I am forever indebted to those guys."
38-year-old Watson was expected to turn up in CSK colours once again in the season opener for IPL 2020 against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on March 29. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced the start of the season to be postponed to April 15, which itself is now uncertain due to the ongoing lockdown in India and rapidly rising cases of infection.