Shane Watson announces end of international cricket career
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has announced the end of his 14-year international cricket career after the World Twenty20 in India.
''It's been over the last week that it's really become clear that now really is the right time to retire from international cricket,'' the 34-year-old Watson told reporters in Mohali on Thursday.
''And I just know it's the right time to be able to right now clear my mind knowing that I've made the decision and be absolutely ready to go for these next two very important games.''
Australia needs to beat Pakistan in a key Group 2 match on Friday to set up a potential quarterfinal against hosts India on Sunday.
Watson made his international debut in 2002 in a one-day international against South Africa.
The all-rounder then had to wait nearly three years before getting his baggy green test cap against Pakistan in Sydney in 2005.
Watson's ability in the longer format often came under criticism as the all-rounder scored 3,731 runs in 59 test matches at an average of 35.19 and took 75 wickets at an average of 33.68.
But Watson was more prolific in the shorter formats, scoring 5,757 runs in 190 ODIs with average of 40.54 and also took 168 wickets at an average of 31.79. He is the only Australian to score a T20 international century when he made 124 not out against India earlier this year.
He scored 1400 runs in 56 T20Is and also took 46 wickets. He is also one of only seven men in history to have scored 10,000 runs and taken 250 wickets in international cricket in all three formats.
Watson also played in three 50-over World Cups and was part of Australia's victories in the 2007 and 2015 editions of the tournament.
''I know how incredibly fortunate I've been . my first tour was with Steve Waugh as the captain of the test squad,'' Watson said.
''That's just one guy, let alone all the other legends I was fortunate enough to play with and it feels like the right time to be able to let the younger group continue to grow and evolve like they have been.''
The World Twenty20 title has so far eluded Watson despite being the player of the tournament in 2012 in Sri Lanka where he made 249 runs at an impressive average of 49.80.
''Hopefully there's still one highlight to come, with us really hitting our straps over the next two games. Then once you get to the semis you never know what will happen.''
Watson has been an integral part of the professional domestic T20 cricket leagues in India, West Indies and even in the inaugural Pakistan Super League which was held in the United Arab Emirates in February.
He now plans to try his hand at coaching.
''It's no secret I do love coaching and that's one thing I will be doing in my time off,'' he said.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland praised Watson's skills as a batsman and a right arm swing bowler.
''At his best, he was a devastating batsman and skilful swing and seam bowler who thrilled crowds the world over,'' Sutherland said in a statement.
''I am sure Australian cricket fans join us in wishing him well in his retirement from international cricket and look forward to him continuing to play in the Big Bash League with the Sydney Thunder.''