Shane Watson set for new IPL innings with RCB

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Old 08-Apr-2016
Shane Watson set for new IPL innings with RCB

Shortly after Australia crashed to a painful defeat to India in the ICC World T20, 2016 in Mohali a couple of Sundays ago, skipper Steve Smith said: 'There are no fairytales in sport.' He was referring to Shane Watson, who had just played his last game in Australian colours.

As the Indian dressing room celebrated Virat Kohli's phenomenal match-winning effort with the bat, the 34-year-old faded into the darkness of the night. He had played his final match just as he had done throughout his injury plagued career - aggressive, skilful, never-say-die, no inch granted and none sought. And yet, he wasn't to finish his career on a winning note.

But there are second chances in sport. On Thursday (April 7), Watson began a new journey as he joined the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore for their Indian Premier League campaign, which begins on Tuesday when they host Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Watson isn't new to IPL, having turned out for the now suspended Rajasthan Royals during the eight previous seasons. He even knows the winning feeling, having been an integral part of the team that won the title in the inaugural season in 2008. The Queenslander is a great value add for the batting-heavy RCB outfit. With his international career behind him, Watson may well come into his own as a player this season. There isn't the pressure to stay fit ahead of national duty.

That Watson means serious business has already been established earlier in the week in Udaipur. Watto, as he is popularly called, headed to the picturesque lake city with his wife Lee Furlong and children Matilda and William for a holiday immediately after Australia's campaign ended in the World T20. While he spent quality time with his family, his cricket kit wasn't far away. He spent time at the nets at the Wonder Cricket Academy in Udaipur on Tuesday to prepare for the new IPL season.

Speaking about Watson, RCB head coach Daniel Vettori said: "We are all very excited to have Shane here. He is a prolific player and going by the conversations I have had with him, he is really excited to be at RCB. He was with Royals for a long time and enjoyed his time there. I think a change could be great for him. He's coming to a new city with his family and from my perspective it makes it easy that they are with him."

Watson, who at Rs 9.5 crore is the costliest buy of the season, featured in 78 matches for Rajasthan Royals. He amassed a total of 2,372 runs and snared 61 wickets at an economy rate of 7.49. He has two IPL centuries to his credit and RCB will hope he can start adding to that tally this year.

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