7 September, 2015. 14:56
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE PERENNIAL EXPERIMENT has come to a conclusion – one many Australians knew the answer to years ago. Cricketing journeyman Shane Watson announced his retirement from all forms of Test cricket yesterday morning. He joins a long list of brilliantly talented players of the short game who failed to conquer the Test format. No other Australian cricketer has faced more venemous and personal criticism of his game.
Airing tonight, Channel 9’s Wide World Of Sport will broadcast a touching tribute to the 34-year-old Queenslander at 6:32 pm. Featuring comment and analysis from international cricketing greats, the video special The Shane Watson Story: 15 minutes of Incompetence was said to have been put together as early as 2009, when he was dropped before the tour of South Africa when all-rounder Andrew Symonds returned from injury.
The video is said to be a compilation of Watson being trapped LBW or reviewing the umpire’s decision when he was caught very, very plump. Between the examples of mediocre footwork, other players with a penchant for getting their pads in the way of the ball, such as Mark Waugh and Allan “White Lightning” Donald will provide depth into what Watson must’ve been thinking.
“If I had to sum up Shane’s career in a single word, it’d be ‘pedestrian’. His love of walking across the stumps defined his Test career,” said Donald. “If only I had the chance to bowl to him, I would’ve had a few more clips to add to my highlights reel.”
The fiery South African’s words were echoed by Mark Waugh, who taught Watson “everything he knows about walking across his stumps”. Early in his career, Waugh took the embattled Ipswich-born cricketer under his wing. After that, commentators and fans began to draw similarities between the two as Waugh’s aggressive yet often lacklustre textbook cross bat-style began to show in Watson’s game.
“The goal was to transform him [Watson] from a run-of-the-mill Michael Bevan Test cricketer to a player that still oozed talent and potential, but seldom showed it – something which is especially rare in a decade-long career,” said Waugh. “But after throwing the footwork textbook out the door, we managed to achieve that with Shane.”
Watson retires as a veteran of 59 Tests, with four hundreds and an average of 35.19.