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10 December 2023

IPL veteran Watson breaks down due to intensity of Pakistan Super League

By Reuters

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson is confident he will be fit for the World Twenty20 in India despite an abdominal strain cutting short his campaign in the Pakistan Super League.

The 34-year-old suffered the injury bowling for Islamabad in the T20 tournament in the United Arab Emirates and immediately withdrew to fly home to Sydney for scans and an assessment.

"It's going to take me a couple of weeks to get back into batting and bowling," Watson told The Australian newspaper, adding that the injury was "not major".

"We got it before it did too much damage.

"I'm very confident I'll be right for the World Cup. That's still three or four weeks away ... It's not like a side strain or anything like that. If everything goes to plan, I'll be right."

Watson's fitness has been under the microscope throughout his 14-year international career, with a succession of soft tissue injuries robbing him of time in the middle in recent seasons.

Watson put his latest injury down to a vigorous delivery and playing three matches in successive days in the Pakistan Super League's compressed three-week schedule.

"I tried to bowl a slower ball but put too many revs on it and it twinged a bit," said Watson, who drew the highest bid of 95 million rupees ($1.39 million) at the Indian Premier League (IPL) player auctions earlier this month.

Injury aside, Watson's selection in the World T20 squad seemed improbable only a few weeks ago.

Having retired from test cricket after being dropped following the Ashes series-opener in England, Watson was overlooked for the one-day international series against India last month and had a poor start in the domestic Big Bash T20 tournament for Sydney Thunder.

However, he found form at the right time to be picked for the home T20 series against India and blasted a century in defeat when leading the side in place of injured former skipper Aaron Finch during the third and final match in Sydney.

He was subsequently picked in Steve Smith's squad for the World T20 and brings vital experience of conditions in the subcontinent as an enthusiastic IPL veteran.

"The T20 selection felt like the added bonus on top of what had happened for the previous six weeks," said Watson.

The World T20 starts on March 8.