IPL 2014: Shane Watson has big shoes to fill

By Suyash Srivastava | Updated: Apr 15, 2014, 16:58 PM IST

Suyash Srivastava

Rajasthan Royals have become a force to reckon with in the Indian Premier League. They are probably the most balanced squad in the tournament, a side which comprises of youngsters as well as veterans. While the side has somebody like Sanju Samson – who is doing wonders as an 19-year-old, it also has someone like Pravin Tambe – the 42-year-old who bamboozled everybody with his unplayable deliveries in the 2013 edition of the tournament. With these stars, until the last season, the Royals had the privilege of having Rahul Dravid as their skipper, and ‘The Wall’ did an incredible job by keeping the team together, despite all the controversies. But now that Dravid has retired, the captaincy has been handed over to Shane Watson.

Following the norms for IPL 7, the Royals retained their five key players – Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, James Faulkner, Stuart Binny and Sanju Samson. While Ajinkya Rahane has done a wonderful job for Rajasthan in the last couple of years, considering his experience and the all-round show for the Royals in the past, Shane Watson is someone who was probably the right man to be Dravid’s successor.

The only factor which goes against Shane Watson, is his temper. While Rahul Dravid was the one who kept the team united, and inspired them to play clean cricket, he was also the first one to interfere, the moment an on field controversy triggered. But Watson is someone who can be provoked within the blink of an eye. His brawl with Mumbai Indians’ star Kieron Pollard, is known to all, and it would become very easy for the opponents to disrupt the momentum of the Royals’ squad, by instigating their skipper. Such incidents will not only affect the Royals as a team, but will probably hamper Watson’s form as well.

The Australian has been a part of the Royals squad ever since the tournament started in 2008, and being a senior member of the team, there would be a lot of responsibility on his shoulders now that Dravid would play the role of a mentor. In IPL, Watson has been a key member of the team, and while he has often opened the innings, the team management also used him lower down the order in 2013, where his late onslaught won several matches for the Dravid-led side. Thus he has the potential to lead the squad.

The Royals have had the pleasure of having some fantastic skippers in the past, as first Shane Warne led them to their maiden title in the inaugural season. Many doubted the capabilities of Dravid when he was handed over the captaincy, but the Indian veteran did extremely well by encouraging youngsters as well as ageing stars to do well for the side.

Considering all the aspects, Shane Watson was the favourite to lead the squad. While it could do wonders to Watson’s personal form, the move could also backfire for the Royals. After all, Dravid’s shoes are too big to fill for anybody.