IPL 2020: Watson lauds ‘exceptional leaders’ Dhoni and Fleming for backing him through lean phase

Tags: Indian T20 League 2020, Chennai XI, Shane Robert Watson

Published on: Sep 10, 2020

Senior Chennai Super Kings batsman Shane Watson has heaped praise on captain MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming for their leadership skills, and backing him even when he wasn’t doing well last season.

"Last year, certainly CSK stuck with me through thick and thin. In every other team that I've been in, I may have been dropped a couple of games before I got the runs against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Just them backing me, knowing my next few good innings were around the corner. Only world-class leaders will really stick by and have the confidence to do that, given the calibre of the players we've got," Watson admitted on Nabeel Hashmi's YouTube show.

Watson had a torrid time in IPL 2019 until he smashed 96 from 53 balls in the 11th match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Even when he wasn’t scoring runs, CSK kept backing him. The former Aussie all-rounder almost led Chennai to a fourth title triumph. His 59-ball 80 took CSK to the doorsteps of victory against Mumbai, but they eventually ended up losing by a solitary run.

"That was a great learning for me as well, to be honest, to show that if you believe in someone, you believe in their ability, because you've seen what they've been able to do time and time again and that they will come good at some stage. It worked out well as I was able to contribute, not in the final, I got run out in the last over, but up until then, I got as close."

Watson further stated that he had an admiration for Dhoni and Fleming even when he was in the opposition camp. “When I played for Royals against Chennai, I always admired Stephen Fleming, and MS as well, the way he carried himself on and off the field. To be able to play at CSK and experience the way the franchise is run incredibly well from top-down was a very special experience. I do feel fortunate to have this part of my career of the IPL in the last few years, to play for a franchise that looks after everyone so unbelievably well."

CSK have not had the best build-up to IPL 2020. After 13 from the contingent tested positive for COVID-19, Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh pulled out of the event for personal reasons. All the CSK members recently tested negative, in some relief for CSK.

--Renin Wilben

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