Shane Watson ends Australian professional cricket career with BBL retirement

Sport360 staff 26/04/2019
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Sydney Thunder skipper Shane Watson calls time on BBL career.

Veteran opener Shane Watson has official retired from all professional cricket in Australia in order to spend more time with his family.

The 37-year-old will now longer take part in the Big Bash League (BBL) where he is the all-time leading run-scorer for Sydney Thunder.

While he will no longer play professional cricket in Australia, Watson will continue to ply his trade in overseas franchise T20 leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“Shane Watson was one of the most exciting short-form players ever to grace a cricket field,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts stated.

“In a career which spanned almost two decades, Shane made a major contribution to Australian cricket firstly at international level and then in domestic cricket as a significant contributor to the Big Bash.

“His greatest quality was persistence, overcoming a number of sometimes serious injuries and curtailing his pace. He became a probing swing and seam bowler.”

Watson had earlier retired from international cricket in 2016 after playing 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is for Australia. In the BBL, the right-hander has scored a total of 1,058 runs from 42 matches while also picking up 20 wickets with the ball.

Watson is currently turning out for Chennai Super Kings in the ongoing 2019 IPL edition and recently scored 96 in his side’s six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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Stoinis believes Australia have World Cup-winning combination with return of Smith and Warner

Sport360 staff 24/04/2019
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Stoinis is excited by the return of Warner and Smith.

Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has welcomed the return of David Warner and Steve Smith to the international fold and believes the duo will bolster the side’s chances at the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup.

Both Smith and Warner were named in Australia’s World Cup squad following the end of their one-year suspensions for their roles in the ball-tampering saga.

The two batsmen have been in excellent form for their respective sides in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) where Stoinis is playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“It’s (return of Smith and Warner) a massive boost,” Stoinis said on the eve of RCB’s clash against Kings XI Punjab.

“Also, the fact that people stepped up in the last three to four months and we started winning games consistently. It all adds to the mix and hopefully, it adds to a World Cup-winning combination,” he added.

Australia are currently on an eight-match winning streak.

Australia are currently on an eight-match winning streak.

After a disastrous 2018 in ODI cricket, Australia have been in excellent form of late with the team set to head into the World Cup on the back of an eight-match winning run.

The Aussies first came from 0-2 behind to beat India 3-2 in the five-match ODI series before drubbing Pakistan 5-0 in the UAE. Stoinis feels that the with those victories under their belt, the side is peaking at just the right time for the World Cup.

“I think everyone is really confident. Eight wins, to have them all away from home, I think is very important for us. We needed it as well,” he stated.

“We lost a lot of games over the last year or so. It’s good timing and I think everyone started to really believe in each other and we started playing really well as a team. It’s exciting times.”

Australia will open their World Cup campaign on June 1 against Afghanistan at Bristol.

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Kapil Dev believes veteran MS Dhoni has been Indian cricket's greatest servant

Sudhir Gupta 24/04/2019
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India veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.

Former World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev has lauded MS Dhoni’s contributions and believes that the veteran wicketkeeper has been the greatest servant Indian cricket has ever seen.

Dhoni is set to embark on what is in all likelihood his final ICC World Cup appearance when the showpiece event gets underway in England at the end of May this year. Now 37, Dhoni had become the second Indian skipper after Kapil Dev to lift the World Cup when he oversaw the Men in Blue’s triumph over Sri Lanka in the final of the 2011 edition held at Mumbai.

Apart from the 50-over world title, Dhoni also led India to victory in the maiden ICC World Twenty20 competition held in South Africa in 2007.

The veteran wicketkeeper had endured a lean 2018 with the bat in limited-overs cricket which had invited plenty of criticism and question marks over his place in the ODI side from pundits and former players.

Kapil Dev, who led India to their maiden World Cup title in 1983, feels that Dhoni’s contributions speak for themselves.

Dhoni had faced plenty of criticism for his form last year.

Dhoni had faced plenty of criticism for his form last year.

“I don’t have to say anything about Dhoni. I think he has served the country very well and we must respect him,” the India legend told IANS.

“No one knows how long he wants to play and how long his body can continue to take the workload. But, there is no other cricketer who has served the country so well as Dhoni. We should respect him and wish him good luck. I hope that he wins this World Cup too,” he added.

The former India skipper also commented on Rishabh Pant’s omission from India’s 15-man 2019 World Cup squad with Dinesh Karthik being preferred instead of him.

“The selectors have done their job. Let’s respect the team. They have picked Karthik over Pant, then it’s alright. We should just believe that the selectors have done a good job,” Kapil Dev said.

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