Shane Watson has announced his retirement from all cricket, bringing an end to a nearly 20-year career during which he was of the world’s premier white-ball allrounders.
Watson had already retired from international cricket in March 2016, and had only been playing in overseas T20 leagues since his retirement from the Big Bash League (BBL) last year.
Now he has confirmed that the IPL game between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai on October 29 was his last game at senior level. Watson made 14 to close out a season in which he scored 299 runs for the Super Kings at an average of 29.90 and a strike rate of 121.05.
“It all started out as a dream, as a young kid, saying to my mum as I watched a Test match as a five-year-old, ‘I wanna play cricket for Australia.’ And now as I officially announce my retirement from all cricket, I feel crazily lucky to have lived out my dream, and then some,” Watson said on his YouTube channel T20 Stars.
“It really does feel like the right time. Knowing that I’ve played my last game of cricket, ever, for my beloved CSK, who’ve been so incredibly good to me over the last three years. To think that I’m finishing up my playing days as a 39-year-old after all of my injury setbacks that I’ve had along the way, I feel so ridiculously fortunate.”
Watson’s international record is immense. He is somewhat underrated as a Test cricketer given an excellent record for an allrounder who often opened the batting: 3731 runs at 35.19, including four hundreds, and 75 wickets at 33.68, including three five-wicket hauls.
But it’s as a white-ball cricketer that he’ll be best remembered. In ODIs, he scored 5757 runs at 40.54 and a strike rate of 90.44, and made nine hundreds, in addition to taking 168 wickets at 31.79. He was part of two World-Cup winning Australia sides, in 2007 and 2015, and was a powerhouse performer in the Champions Trophy, winning the Player-of-the-Match award in the finals of both the 2006 and 2009 tournaments.
In T20Is he made 1462 runs at a strike rate of 145.32, and took 48 wickets while maintaining an economy rate of 7.65. He was the Player of the Series in the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka, where he topped the run charts with 249 at a strike rate of 150.00, and finished second on the wickets charts with 11, while conceding 7.33 runs per over.
He remains one of only eight allrounders to have achieved the double of 10,000 runs and 250 wickets across the three international formats, which is a remarkable achievement given that his career was often interrupted by injuries that, over time, brought down his bowling workload considerably.
Watson has been a mainstay in T20 leagues around the world ever since winning the Player of the Tournament award in the inaugural IPL season in 2008, when his all-round contributions – 472 runs at a strike rate of 151.76, and 17 wickets and an economy rate of 7.07 – powered the Rajasthan Royals to the title. After playing 78 games for the Royals from 2008 to 2015, he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore for two seasons before being signed up by the Chennai Super Kings in 2018.
He ended that season with one of the most famous innings of his franchise career, an unbeaten 57-ball 117 that helped the Super Kings cruise through a chase of 179 and win their third IPL title.
Apart from the BBL and the IPL, Watson has also been a regular presence in the Pakistan Super League, the Bangladesh Premier League and the Caribbean Premier League.