‘Selection security’ helps Watson roar back to form

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener Shane Watson was slow off the blocks in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, scoring a paltry 52 runs in the first four matches with an unimpressive average of 13.
‘Selection security’ helps Watson roar back to form


Since Super Kings as a whole also struggled to find form early in the competition, calls were made to drop the Australian from the playing eleven. But, the team management – led by head coach Stephen Fleming – stuck to its tried and tested formula of backing the experienced players to the hilt during lows. And, Watson repaid the faith as he smashed an unbeaten 83 in CSK’s 10-wicket demolition of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Dubai on Sunday. The 39-year-old was just poetry in motion during the 53-ball knock, which was studded with 11 fours and three maximums.
Unsurprisingly, Watson wore a beaming smile while having a post-match chat with opening partner Faf du Plessis. “It was nice to spend some time in the middle. It is amazing how changes in mindset and technical aspect of the game help things move better,” he said. “Fleming and captain MS Dhoni trust the quality of the players. They know that if they keep the faith, things will turn around. It certainly did against Punjab,” added Watson.
South African du Plessis, highest scorer for Super Kings in IPL 2020 with 282 runs, chipped in, saying: “Our management was calm in the lead-up to the match. We haven’t played as well as we would have liked. As players, you feel the pressure a little bit because CSK is a big franchise. The decision of keeping the same team came good.”
In the virtual press conference after the one-sided fixture, Fleming reiterated that the three-time title-winner would continue to give opportunities if players do the right things. “We provide selection security to the guys. We just ask them to be confident and positive. But, if we see an area which we are not happy with, we will look to improve,” said the Kiwi.
In Watson’s case, Fleming stressed that the T20 freelancer never looked out of touch. “If he had been struggling in the nets, it would have been a selection issue. But, he has been solid. It was just a matter of time and fortune as well as some good positive thoughts from him. If he gets on a roll, Watson will be very important for us,” stated Fleming.
Over the last few years, CSK has tasted success by getting behind the old horses. In all likelihood, it will repeat the same throughout the ongoing season despite finding itself in uncommon territory – bottom half of the table with four points after five matches.

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