Former India opener Gautam Gambhir was all of praise for Chennai Super Kings all-rouner Shane Watson as he hailed him as the best player owing to his contributions towards Indian Premier League trophy victories of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. Watson was part of the Royals dug-out in 2008, the year they won their only IPL trophy. And has been part of CSK since 2018, the season the franchise won their third IPL trophy.
"If we talk about the past 12 years, for me Shane Watson is the best player because he has done magic with Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. No doubt, his bowling was on a decline in the latter half of his career, but he had an overall impact on the game. He was an excellent player when he used to play for Rajasthan Royals. He not only used to bowl with the new ball but also batted in the middle-order. If you ask me the same question two to three years down the line, Andre Russell will win, hands down. But right now, I will go with Watson," said Gambhir in awe of the Aussie who was recently selected as one of the most decorated all-rounders and was nominated as the G.O.A.T all-rounder.
Watson topped an elite nominee list that included Andre Russel, Dwayne Bravo, Jacques Kallis, Kieron Pollard, Yusuf Pathan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Irfan Pathan. He, in fact, is the first cricketer to win the Man of the Tournament award in the IPL, twice.
Having featured in 134 IPL games so far, the 38-year-old batting all-rounder has amassed 3575 runs at an excellent strike-rate of 139.53. Despite having to overcome a string of fitness issues, Watson has punched above his weight to take the Yellow Army to many a famous win. In the 2019 final, he nearly carried CSK to another title, despite a bloodied knee.
Speaking about Watson's greatness, Kevin Pietersen said: "He has been such a player that if his bowling has gone off, his batting has become a lot better. I have played with him for a couple of years. He would have bowled so much faster had he not had so many back issues as a youngster. When he was younger, he used to bowl really fast."
(With IANS inputs)