Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has named the West Indies as the team to beat at the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012.
Speaking to ICC Cricket 360°™, the ICC’s new weekly multi-platform show, produced by IMG, part of IMG Worldwide, Watson believes Darren Sammy’s side’s all-round strength makes it the favourite for the event in Sri Lanka in September.
“I actually think the West Indies are going to be the team to beat. They have got a really well balanced team that has played a lot of high quality Twenty20 cricket around the world and they certainly know how to perform under pressure. I think they have got the firepower to give a lot of teams a big surprise,” says Watson.
However, Watson thinks the experience gained by Australia’s players in domestic Twenty20 competitions across the globe, means his side may be able to go one better than its runners-up spot at the 2010 event in the Caribbean.
“It is a format in which we still haven’t been able to play well consistently against other countries in the world. We made the final in the last ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies and in the end we were pipped by England but since then we haven’t played consistently well, so we are really going to have to step up our Twenty20 game. With a change in players and the experience of playing in different Twenty20 leagues, it means hopefully we can step up when we really need to,” he says.
Watson, who provides viewers with a tour of the Sydney Cricket Ground in the latest edition of the ICC Cricket 360°™ show, admits his excitement about the upcoming ODI series against England that begins on Friday.
“It is going to be a huge series. It is a great lead-in to next year’s Ashes and there is no doubt we have to be at our absolute best for that one-day series so our preparation is going to be very important, as is the way we perform. It is the first time for us with a slightly newer group of cricketers, a new coach Mickey Arthur and a new structure around us,” says Watson.
Watson, who missed much of the Australian summer through injury, is hopeful that he is now over the string of injury problems that have afflicted his career.
“I’ve learnt a lot about the way I am going to get the best out of myself as an all-rounder, about my bowling workload and what my body can do. I am trying to find the best ways to give myself the best chance of not getting injured” says Watson.
“In the three months during the summer when I was injured, I learnt a lot and I have put a few things in place again to make sure that I am doing everything I can to give myself the best chance I can of staying fit.”
Watson also speaks about his passion for reading, which has inspired him to becoming an ambassador for the ICC’s partnership with Room to Read.
“Reading has become such a big part of my life,” said Watson. “Autobiographies are something I love reading the most because you get to learn from other people’s experiences and it has been a big part of my development as a person.
“Room to Read has been able to make a big headway to get reading and education into areas that never would have those opportunities and that has been a big reason why I have got involved.”
Also featuring in the second edition of ICC Cricket 360°™ is a piece on how England’s four captains combined to support a charitable initiative in Nottingham, a feature on the historic Singapore Cricket Club and a profile on how cricket is being used to address health issues in Vanuatu. The show also looks at some of the technological innovations being used to aid player development at the ICC Global Cricket Academy.