October 22, 2009
Shane Watson, the Australian allrounder, has singled out exposure to Indian conditions in the upcoming seven-match ODI series as key to Australia's preparation for the 2011 World Cup, which will be held in the subcontinent.
"It's a very important trip, especially for the guys who have not been here before and played in Indian conditions," he told PTI. "We need to get used to the conditions, understand what our strengths are. The next couple of times we come here are a very big foundation for the 2011 World Cup."
Watson is in prime form going into the series, which starts in Vadodara on Sunday. He's captured 19 wickets at 21.10 in ODIs this year, and has been prolific with the bat, averaging 54.07. He ended the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa, which Australia won, on a high, smashing back-to-back centuries against England and New Zealand in the semi-final and the final.
"I'm getting used to big games. I have been lucky enough to be involved in a few big games and develop strategy, momentum. It's been a big learning experience to me," Watson said. "My game has come along especially in the last six months. I just want to continue (in the same vein) and perform."
Watson also described his experience on the tour of India towards the end of last year as one of the best things to have happened in his career. Though Australia lost the Test series 2-0, Watson said that playing in Indian conditions was a major learning curve in his development as a cricketer.
"Last October's trip was one of the best chances I have had in my career, to have played in India on turning wickets and with the ball reversing," Watson said. "They were really strange conditions to what we are used to in Australia. I learnt so much on that tour. Unfortunately we did not get the result we wanted."
Watson struggled with the bat on that tour, managing just one half-century in seven innings and averaging 24.28, but found more success with the ball, grabbing 10 wickets at 32.10, including a five-for.