It has emerged that CSK captain, MS Dhoni shielded Shane Watson by not making him exert too much on the field in the IPL final so he could be fit to bat in the second innings. This was another tactical move by Dhoni which worked wonders as Watson scored an unbeaten 117 off 57 balls.
Watson strode out to open the innings in the final with Du Plessis but was not looking too comfortable. He failed to get off the mark in the first ten balls that he faced which forced his partner to go for the big shots.
Now it has been revealed that he was not 100% fit as he had been carrying a hamstring niggle for the past four games. This explains why he had not bowled at all during the business-end of the IPL, having originally brought in as an all-rounder.
He had missed the last league game against Kings XI Punjab but returned for the playoffs against Sunrisers. Though his niggle was not serious, he refrained from bowling in the last four matches that he played, in an effort to not aggravate the injury.
Dhoni is a stickler for fitness but he knew that a big-game player like Watson was too good to be left out. He ensured that the burly Australian did not have to run around too much in the field as he always placed him in the 30-yard circle.
CSK CEO, Kashi Vishwanath said, “It’s true that Watson wasn’t 100% fit. He had a niggle but the team kept him in good shape for the big final.” That decision seemed unfruitful as Watson struggled initially in the final before adopting an all-attack approach, sending all the Sunrisers’ bowlers out of the park.
Watson had a phenomenal season as he finished as the team’s second highest run-getter with 555 runs, behind Ambati Rayudu. He also scored two hundreds, the second coming in the final and struck 35 sixes, one ahead of Rayudu who hit 34.