23th April 2014
Intro: Shane Watson has taken over the mantle at Rajasthan Royals in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League. He feels captaincy is a superb opportunity for him to grow as a player.
You were the Player of the Tournament in RR's victorious 2008 IPL campaign under Shane Warne's leadership. Do you fear that the captaincy factor may affect your performance as a player?
I don't think so! I'm extremely excited at the opportunity to captaining Rajasthan Royals. I know how lucky I am to be a part of such an incredible franchise and am honoured to be able to lead it. It will only help me continue to grow as a cricketer. Whether it's individual performances or not, it's more so for me as a cricketer and my ability to help continue to grow cricketers and individuals around me. I feel now that being the captain of RR is more important than the runs and wickets that I individually take. It's more so what I am able to contribute to the collective performance of our group, individual performances will be there and will be quite strong, but my focus will be on collective team performance.
On one hand, where RR has successfully groomed youngsters like Sanju Samson, on the other, a veteran like Pravin Tambe has excelled too. Could you let us in on how your franchise is so successful in extracting the best from a player?
We can't reveal our strategy of how we do that (smiles). RR has always been led by high quality leaders - from Shane Warne to Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton as well last year. The working relationship that they brought together, is something I have never experienced in a team. The way they galvanise a team and get the best out of everyone is amazing. Rahul is certainly one of the most impressive people I've ever met. And to have him then complemented by somebody like (coach) Paddy Upton as well, is something that everyone was able to see with what happened to Sanju - to have the opportunity to come out and play the way he did was simply beautiful. Then the other story - to be able to see what Pravin Tambe was able to do, especially in the Champions League, is equally inspiring. That's what we pride ourselves on here at RR. Hopefully, if everything works out well, we'll be able to discover a couple of more players hereon.
You have Rahul Dravid as the team's chief strategist or mentor. Does that ease the pressure off you a bit?
He's certainly going to help us and given his cricket abilities and expertise, it's going to help every single person in our group. He'll definitely take the pressure off me. With Rahul there, I always have someone I can talk to. This is the first time I've got the opportunity to captain a team full time and he will take a bit of the burden and pressure off me at times and make my job much easier.
What's your assessment of the IPL-7 auction? Which team do you think handled the auction well?
There's no question that Chennai have and will always have a very well balanced squad. They've got a lot of great Indian players, so that's a brilliant starting point and then they can just complement their overseas players around that. They've kept (Dwayne) Bravo as well so he's done a great job for them. But probably, the one team that has done the best in the IPL auction would be Sunrisers Hyderabad. They were very smart in who they picked and who they retained in the auction. But that doesn't guarantee you success. It all depends on how they're all going to bring their group together, and how well they're led on and off the field. But Sunrisers have a really high quality squad.
What's your assessment of the IPL-7 teams? Which team do you think is the favourite?
Sunrisers Hyderabad did the best in the auction and undoubtedly Chennai is always going to be extremely strong as is the case in every IPL. But if Sunrisers can pool all their talent together, they are going to be a difficult team to beat.
With excerpts from:http://sports.ndtv.com/indian-premier-league-2014/news/223128-ipl-7-couple-of-bad-apples-in-team-are-gone-now-says-shane-watson
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