Shane Watson has given a ringing endorsement to uncapped Pakistan quick Rumman Raees, the left-armer who was a surprise selection in their squad for the upcoming ICC World T20 in India.
Raees, currently playing alongside Watson for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, has impressed the Australian allrounder in the tournament being played in Dubai and Sharjah.
Watch: Watto launches one onto the road in the PSL
Australia are pooled with Pakistan in Group 2 for the World T20 and as the only member of the Aussie squad playing in the PSL, Watson has gained some invaluable insight into some of the players Steve Smith’s side will come up against in their third group match on March 25.
And he’s identified the 24-year-old Raees, who is yet to make his international debut, as the most impressive local player he’d played with or against in the PSL.
“Our left-arm quick Rumman has been incredible in the couple of games we’ve played,” Watson told cricket.com.au.
“He’s been very skilful and for a young man, he knows his game very well.
Quick Single: Watson among Aussies picked up in CPL draft
“He understands the game, understands Twenty20 cricket and knows how to get himself out of trouble in an over.
“He’s the one who’s really stood out to me, he’s been incredibly impressive in the games he’s played.”
Raees, who has already notched up 40 first-class games, has been miserly for Islamabad in the tournament so far, registering the superb economy rate of 5.88.
His hero – former left-arm quick Wasim Akram – is the Director of Cricket at the Islamabad franchise and Watson commended the influence of the Pakistan legend on himself and the likes of Raees.
Watch: A young Wasim Akram in action against Australia
“To be able to get to know Wasim Akram (has been great),” Watson said.
“I played against him really early in my career in one day cricket, so to be able to spend more time with him, get to know him and talk to him about and cricket and about life, I’ve been very fortunate.
“The PSL is an awesome thing for Pakistan cricket. To be able to get an exposure for younger cricketers playing against world-class players is an awesome thing for Pakistan cricket’s development.”
Watch: Akram terrorising Australian batsmen
Watson continued his excellent form in the PSL on Thursday night, smashing 40 runs off 28 balls in his side’s seven-wicket loss to Quetta.
He hit three fours and three sixes in his innings, backing up from the 79 he struck off 47 balls against Lahore on Wednesday.
Raees took 0-19 from his three overs as Quetta chased down United’s 117 with 3.5 overs to spare.
- with Louis Cameron