After Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli thanked the fans for their constant support, Shane Watson has also praised the loyal fans for their unwavering support throughout this dismal season.
The Royal Challengers, last year’s finalists and boasting a batting line-up that includes the likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers, were the first team in this year’s IPL to fall out of playoff contention.With just five points, the star-studded team is set to end up with the wooden spoon for the first time in the history of the tournament. They also set a new IPL record for the lowest innings total when they were bowled out for a paltry 49 by Kolkata Knight Riders.
In fact, they have also struggled to perform at the M Chinnaswamy stadium which used to be the fortress for them in the past seasons. They have managed to register just a solitary win this season at home but despite the poor performance from their team, the fans supported them wholeheartedly throughout the season. And Watson not only praised the Chinnaswamy faithful but also the Royal Challengers supporters around the country for their support.
“The one thing I’ve realised playing for Royal Challengers the last two years is how incredibly loyal the fans are,” said Watson. “Whether that was doing incredibly well last year or this year when we weren’t doing well, but everywhere we went, obviously here at Chinnaswamy, and other parts around India, the support Royal Challengers get is nothing compared to what I’ve experienced before.”
The season is also forgettable for Watson as a player. The former Australia all-rounder, who led the side in first two matches in the absence of Virat Kohli, has played only seven matches this season, scoring just 67 runs in addition to taking 4 wickets.
“Playing county cricket as well, which I did in 2004-05, there’s a lot of pressure on you to perform,” he said. You’re not getting paid more, but you’re actually getting paid to help the team win and then in the IPL, having been exposed to it since 2008, and being someone who the team relies on, you have to perform and it doesn’t always work out that you perform; certainly don’t perform every game.”
Watson further said that it was a big challenge for him to play in the IPL with no more involvement in international cricket.
“The biggest challenge for me has been not coming off playing international cricket after which you just go into the flow of the IPL, which is obviously an incredibly strong tournament,” he said. And it’s been a big learning experience for me, how it hasn’t worked this year for me or this season and how I can actually learn from this experience so that the next tournament I’m playing, the Caribbean Premier League, I’m going to be better prepared.”