Bowling standard stands out in PSL from other events: Shane Watson
KARACHI – Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson believes bowling standard in the Pakistan Super League makes the tournament stand out from other events around the world, hoping the quality of matches will be raised when the event resumes in Karachi from Saturday.
The 37-year-old will be a star attraction for Quetta Gladiators in the final-leg after agreeing to visit Karachi after expressing regrets in the previous editions.
But Watson, whose absence badly hurt the Gladiators in matches held in Pakistan for the last two years, will be up for competition this time around.
“I think PSL is a great tournament that I am playing. The thing that stands out for me is the bowling compared to all other tournaments I have played in. The challenge will be more when the matches are played in Karachi,” said Watson, who became the second batsmen to score 1,000 runs in PSL.
He has so far scored 1,016 in 34 matches as compared to Kamran Akmal’s 1,083 in 43 matches.
Watson, who played 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is, praised bowlers who are hitting 150kph mark.
“There are, at least, one or two fast bowlers in every team who are bowling close to 150kph, which only happens in one or two teams in other leagues. So, that for me is a huge stand-out and signs of strength of Pakistan cricket. They have always produced some high quality fast bowlers,” said Watson.
Watson hopes people will come in great numbers to make the last leg successful. “I am sure that everyone will turn out in their droves to support, not just the Quetta Gladiators but also the PSL. It’s a great tournament and I can’t wait to get there,” said Watson.
Watson recalls his only tour to Pakistan with Australia ‘A’ in 2005.
“I have been to Pakistan for Australia ‘A’ in 2005. I had a great time and it was a high quality Pakistan ‘A’ team that we played against. We played in Islamabad and Lahore, so it was a great tour. They are a cricket loving public and I am looking forward to tour again.”
Watson singled-out Rumman Raees and Mohammad Hasnain as real talents emerging from the HBL PSL.
“One person that stands-out for me in the Islamabad team is Rumman Raees,” said Watson of the left-arm paceman, who graduated from the first edition of the HBL PSL to play for Pakistan.
“Rumman is a young fast bowler who can swing the ball both ways. He can change his pace well. This year we have Mohammad Hasnain (Quetta) who is someone who is incredibly fast and is raw, but has incredible skills for a young man. We are going to see a lot of him in the next few years to come.”
Watson said he has always enjoyed the HBL PSL, having played for Islamabad United and now for Quetta Gladiators.
“For me, the experience is amazing. Even the opening ceremony of the first edition was excellent. The quality of cricket is very good and the overseas players make it a high quality event. The conditions in UAE are great, so it’s always been high quality cricket and is a great tournament.”
Watson reckons T20 leagues around the world are helping youngsters groom.
“Twenty leagues are definitely helping and getting out to the younger generations of the game,” said Watson, who has also featured in Indian Premier League and Big Bash in Australia.
“The Big Bash league in Australia has attracted so many young families who usually don’t come to international cricket. It is an opportunity for young players to be able to play and make a career, which is a great thing.
“With leagues around the world, they have more opportunities and that is the beauty. Players hope to play international cricket and only a few select get the opportunity. But we must make sure to make a balance between these leagues and international cricket.”