Shane Watson's bowling has taken a backseat in his international career of late, but if all goes according to plan, Watson could turn his arm over for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. Rahul Dravid, the Royals' captain, was confident Watson would bowl at some point in the tournament, and said the allrounder brought a fine balance to the team.
"For a team like ours, where we have to mix and match a little bit, having someone of his qualities as an allrounder is a huge boost," said Dravid to NDTV. "He's a match-winner on his own, he can single-handedly lead with the bat. We're happy to have that at the start of the season. Watto will bowl at some stage during the competition. As to when that is, will be decided by him and his physios."
Watson has made only intermittent appearances for the Royals after his trail-blazing inaugural season when he led the team to the title with 472 runs and 17 wickets, but is likely to be available from the second game onwards this year.
The Royals will also look to Dravid as one of the pillars of the team, and the veteran batsman confessed that he hadn't expected to play six seasons of the IPL.
"I've really enjoyed the IPL and I'm lucky – it's my sixth IPL and I never believed when the IPL came around that I'd actually play six of them. I thought maybe I could get through three of them, that'd be good enough. But it's nice to be here six years later, still able to play and adding value to side and competing. I'm looking forward to playing well this year," he said.
Rajasthan played good cricket last year, but ended up on the wrong side of a few close games and lost out on a place in the last four, an aspect that Dravid was looking to change in this season. "I think last year we played some pretty good cricket till the end, but unfortunately we couldn't win the last couple of games. Had we won those games, we would have had a pretty good chance of getting into the top four. Once you do that, then anything can happen."
Apart from Watson's fitness, Rajasthan also face some uncertainty over the status of S Sreesanth, who had missed the 2012 season completely. "With Sree, I think we have to be a bit patient and understanding of him and his body, where he is at and how to manage him," said Dravid. "Look, he is a great asset. When he is bowling well, he is a wicket-taker and is someone we missed last year. Hopefully we'll have him right from the beginning of the tournament, but if not we'll have to wait for a few games before we can have him fully fit and raring to go. I think he should be able to play most of the games this season. From his point of view, if he does well, he's got the skills and the ability to be an asset to the Indian side, especially with a lot of overseas tours coming up in the near future."