Melbourne: Australian all-rounder Shane Watson on Friday rued the failure of his side to negotiate Indian spinners when the ball was not turning much and attributed it as the reason of their 27-run loss in the second T20 International here. (All-Round India Win Maiden Twenty20 Series Versus Australia in Melbourne)
“There’s no excuses or reasons why we aren’t able to expose the Indian spinners when the ball was not turning that much. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do it,” Watson said.
“In India, the ball spins more, but grounds are smaller. In Adelaide, the straights are very big. In MCG, the square is challenging so you can’t just stand there and feel if you get it out of middle it’s going to go for six. That does provide more challenges, but we’ve played in these conditions so much, we know the conditions better than anyone.”
He conceded that Australia have been outplayed by India in the last two matches and it has been a real challenge to play against Indian spinners.
“We know how important their spinners are for India to perform well. Obviously, Dhoni knows how to get the best out of those spinners especially, not just here but in IPL as well. He’s very comfortable with them and he knows what he’s going to get,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the last two games we haven’t executed well at all, and it means we’ve fallen in the hole through the middle order. And I certainly put my hand up especially because batting at nos. 5/6, that’s my specific role. Unfortunately I haven’t been doing my job,” said Watson who could score just 15 runs today.
Watson had come to the press conference in place of skipper Aaron Finch who injured his hamstring during the match, effectively ruling him out of the third T20I on Sunday.
He said his side will have to learn quickly if they think of doing well in the World T20 to be held in India in March-April.
“Certainly, we’ve got to learn very quickly, because when we go to India, the ball’s going to turn a lot more and we’ve got to be a lot better,” he said.
The all-rounder was full of praise for Virat Kohli and Indian fielding.
“The way Virat comes out, the way he’s hitting the ball, it’s incredible. We certainly had specific plans for him. We did not bowl too badly to him at all. It’s just how well he’s hitting the ball. Shikhar Dhawan batted beautifully to get through the first few overs when the ball was doing a little bit and a bit of tennis-ball bounce. These guys are world class players, and once they get in even your best bowling can go to boundary or over it,” said Watson.
“And there’s no doubt they’ve got some great athletes. Ravindra Jadeja is an incredible athlete, he’s very quick to the ball and has a great arm. Virat is fielding incredibly well at the moment as well. So, those two guys, let alone the rest of the group, do a great job on the field. It’s certainly changed a bit from the days when they had Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman running around there,” he said.
It was surprising to see Australia making six changes to their playing eleven despite trailing in the series, in a bid to prepare for the upcoming New Zealand tour.
“Six changes provides more challenges, and selectors are trying to find what their best fifteen are and the best team is for World Cup. This means there are plenty of opportunities for the boys to put their hands up. It does provide challenges, no secrets about that,” said the all-rounder.
“The roles are changing from one game to the next, but that’s part of adapting and trying to make the most of the opportunities that you get. Because everyone wants to be able to play for Australia, and everyone wants to be able to play in World Cup. You certainly cannot use it as an excuse; you’ve just got to fulfill your role as well as you can and hope that it works out,” he added.
Asked if World T20 presents a tough challenge given how their preparation has been going, Watson did not hold back regarding the magnitude of the task ahead for his side.
“No doubt. It always has been the biggest challenge for any Australian side I have been part of. Until the World T20, the priorities of the best players playing all the time is not there, because there is so much more international cricket all through the summer that’s on. So you just have to manage your best players as best as you possibly can, which means that there’s no continuity with the T20 teams up until a game or two before the World T20,” he signed off.