Shane Watson debuted for the Australian cricket team in 2002, playing his first one-day international against South Africa.
Shane started his first-class cricketing career for Tasmanian Tigers after leaving his home state of Queensland, but returned to play for his native Queensland Bulls as his international career was beginning. He has also played for Hampshire in the English County Championship. He regards Terry Alderman as one of his mentors.
He was selected for his first Australian team in early 2002, being selected to tour South Africa with the Test team after topping the Pura Cup wicket-taking charts for Tasmania, as well as steady middle-order batting performances. Shane scored an unbeaten century on his debut in a tour match, but did not play in the Tests as the selectors retained the same XI that had swept South Africa 3-0 in the Australian season. He did make his ODI debut on tour and continued as a regular member of the ODI team until he became injured at the start of 2003, missing the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Shane’s injury sidelined him until the 2003/04 Australian season, and during his rehabilitation he played most of the season as a batsman, allowing himself to improve his batting skills while his back was still healing. During this time he smashed an unbeaten 300* for his club side, Lindisfarne.
He returned to regular ODI duty in the 2004/05 season, as a bowling all rounder. He also played in the Third Test against Pakistan as the fifth bowler, in order to allow Australia to play two spinners and three pace bowlers on a dry Sydney Cricket Ground pitch.
Following England’s Ashes victory over Australia in 2005 with a five bowler strategy, Australia responded by including Shane as the fifth bowler and all rounder in all Test matches. He played against the ICC World XI in the role, but he dislocated his shoulder in just his second Test in that designated role against the West Indies, after diving to field a ball.
Shane opened the batting for Australia at the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, alongside wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist. In the competition he impressed with both the ball and bat, as Australia moved to their first Champions Trophy victory.
After failing in the first two matches against the West Indies and England, Watson made a 50 in Australia’s victory over India, which sealed their place in the semi-finals.
Shane was named in the squad for the Ashes series against England in 2006/07. However, he came off the ground in a one-day domestic game the week before the first Test with a suspected hamstring tear, which ruled him out for the first three Tests.
He returned in the February to the ODI side, replacing Cameron White in the all rounder position, However he again broke down with injury during the 2007 Cricket World Cup and missed most of the Super 8’s before returning in fine style smashing an unbeaten 65 of 32 balls against New Zealand. Injury again struck Watson prior to the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 as he missed most of the tournament due to hamstring strain.
Shane played in the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals team. Signed up for US $125,000, he performed magnificently well with both the bat and the ball scoring four half-centuries to anchor his team to victory in three matches of the tournament and in the semifinals. He also picked up 17 wickets, won four man of the match awards in his first twelve games and also won the Man of the Series award. His performance in the tournament lead to his inclusion in the Australian Test cricket team.
Shane has been an integral part of the team over the past few years, and he was appointed the vice-captain in all formats of the game for Australia. He replaced the former dynamic all-rounder, Andrew Symonds, in the national team and has excelled in both departments of the game. Along with his blistering batting antics, he remains a very useful bowler – capable enough to dismantle any batting attack.
This is the third time Shane has won the award at the prestigious ceremony. Prior to this, he scooped up three honours last year which included a second successive Allan Border Medal, along with being named as the best Australian Test and ODI player.
With the retirement of Jacques Kallis, Shane is now probably the worlds greatest Cricket all rounder.
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