Watto 'still good enough to play for Australia'
Retired veteran praised after match-winning century in Indian Premier League final for Chennai
28 May 2018, 12:57 PM AEST
Allrounder Marcus Stoinis believes retired veteran Shane Watson is "still good enough to play for Australia" should he have the desire to make an international comeback.
Watson overcame a sluggish start and a hamstring problem to hammer an unbeaten 117 from just 57 balls in the IPL final on Monday morning (AEST), his second century of the tournament spurring Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL crown.
Watson, who turns 37 next month, retired from the international game in 2016 but continues to be a valuable asset in domestic T20 tournaments around the world.
Stoinis believes Watson was underappreciated by the Australian public during his 14-year international career and says the veteran could still be a force at the top level - if he was willing to make a comeback.
"He's still good enough to play for Australia, for sure," Stoinis told RSN on Monday.
"(But) I think he enjoys having family time. He played a lot of cricket for Australia in a demanding time, so I think he's just enjoying playing the odd tournament and then going back (to his family).
"We sat down over there (in India) and he's mentored me for a couple of years now. His hunger to keep getting better at the end of his career, it's no coincidence why he's so good.
"I don't think the Australian public realised how good he was when he was playing for Australia."
Watson has spoken about enjoying more family time since his international retirement and has not shown any intention to return to Australian colours.
He also conceded on Sunday he was "just hanging on for dear life" towards the end of the tournament as he battled his ageing body, and praised Chennai captain MS Dhoni for managing his workload during the tournament.
"The good thing is I don't have to play for another three or four months ... I've got plenty of time to recover," he said with a laugh.
"The support I've got from (physio) Tommy Simsek, (coach) Stephen Fleming and also MS to be able to look after me towards the back end of the tournament, I was just hanging on for dear life.
"So I was glad I was able to contribute like I did tonight."
Aaron Finch will captain a new-look Australian T20 side on tours of the UK and Zimbabwe over the winter as they look to build on their unbeaten tri-series campaign earlier this year.
With suspended duo David Warner and Steve Smith unavailable and Chris Lynn not considered fit enough to play, Finch could return to the opening spot in Warner's place after he batted in the middle order during the tri-series.
D'Arcy Short, Nic Maddinson, Travis Head and even Glenn Maxwell could all be given a chance in the top three over the winter as the Aussies look to settle on their best XI ahead of a World T20 on home soil in two years.
Watson, after a disappointing IPL campaign for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, praised Chennai for putting faith in him to bat in his favoured opening slot this season after they bought him for $775,000 at the player auction.
"It's been a special season," he said.
"For CSK to pick me up and give me an opportunity to bat at the top of the order, the support that I've got has been incredible.
"To be able to do something like I have tonight ... in such a big game that means so much to the franchise is very special."
Chasing 179 to win in Sunday's final, Watson failed to score from his first 10 deliveries but remained calm and finished with a strike rate of 205.26, his innings including 11 fours and eight sixes.
He's just the second player to score a hundred in an IPL final and the first to do so in a winning team.
Qantas tours of England and Zimbabwe
ODI squad: Tim Paine (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye
T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth
Qantas Tour of England
June 7: Warm-up v Sussex, Hove (D/N)
June 9: Warm-up v Middlesex, Lord's
June 13: First ODI, The Oval (D/N)
June 16: Second ODI, Cardiff
June 19: Third ODI, Trent Bridge (D/N)
June 21: Fourth ODI, Durham (D/N)
June 24: Fifth ODI, Old Trafford
June 27: Only T20, Edgbaston (D/N)
Qantas T20I tri-series Tour of Zimbabwe
Sunday, July 1: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
Monday, July 2: Pakistan vs Australia
Tuesday, July 3: Australia vs Zimbabwe
Wednesday, July 4: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
Thursday, July 5: Pakistan vs Australia
Friday, July 6: Australia vs Zimbabwe
Sunday, July 8: Final