Shane Watson's well-built body, reminiscent of a wrestler or perhaps a boxer is just the tip of the iceberg when he meets one's eye on a cricket field. As intimidating as his presence or fitness may be, Watson is probably one of the most injury-prone cricketers going around but at the same time he has transpired into one of the leading all-rounders of his era.
Born in Queensland, 'Watto' first started playing for Tasmania at the age of 20. Topping the bowling charts in the Pura Cup and good middle-order performances led to his selection for Australia's tour of South Africa in early 2002. Though he did not live up to the expectations then, Ponting and the selectors opined that he was on a learning curve and it would only be a matter of time before he came good. He continued to be a regular member of the ODI team before injury caused him to miss the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. He made a comeback a year later and started playing as a bowling all-rounder. Watson made his Test debut against Pakistan in 2005, scoring 31 in the first innings and taking a wicket. A dislocated shoulder while fielding in a Test against the West Indies caused him to miss the remainder of the season.
Later, in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, Watson was given the chance to open the batting with Adam Gilchrist. The move paid rich dividends as he performed quite well with both bat and ball in the tournament. In 2007, another injury blighted his progress and questions were raised about his ability to handle the workload expected of an all-rounder. The 2008 edition of the Indian T20 League proved to be a crucial turning point in his career. The able stewardship of Shane Warne brought the best out of him and he was instrumental in Rajasthan's win in the inaugural season. Since then, he has regularly featured in Australia's Test, ODI and T20I squads and has been a consistent performer. His much improved bowling has eased the pressure on the four frontline bowlers and he is also an added asset at the top of the order. Watson was named the deputy of Michael Clarke in Tests and ODIs, post the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, along with the vice-captaincy of the T20I team all of which he gave up after Australia's disastrous Test tour to India in 2013.The following year, he was signed by the Sydney Sixers ahead of the first-ever Big Bash League and the Champions League T20. Watson then moved from the Sydney franchise to represent Brisbane Heat from the 2012 season.
The 2014 season of the Indian T20 League saw Shane Watson retained by his franchise, Rajasthan. Later he was announced as the captain of the team as Rahul Dravid retired after the 2013 season. It was the best replacement, as Watson is an established player himself and one who enjoys leadership. Expectations are always from the crowd when the Aussie plays and he loves not to disappoint the fans.
One of his most memorable ODI innings would be an unbeaten 185* against Bangladesh in 2011, which included 15 fours and 15 sixes - a record of its own until Rohit Sharma of India hit 16 in 2013.