Undecided about playing in Pakistan, Watson to 'sit down with family' before final call

Published March 9, 2018
Watson and KP pose after the former took over the Hanif Muhammad cap for the highest run-scorer of the tournament. — Courtesy PSL Twitter
Watson and KP pose after the former took over the Hanif Muhammad cap for the highest run-scorer of the tournament. — Courtesy PSL Twitter

Australian all-rounder and Quetta Gladiators opener Shane Watson has said he is still undecided on whether to come to Pakistan to for the play-offs and final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and will need to consult his family members before making a decision.

Watson, who scored a 58-ball 90 to become the highest scorer of the tournament, propelling his team to victory against the Karachi Kings, was speaking to the media in the wee hours of Friday after the match ended.

He said that the most important thing for him and the team right now was getting through to the finals.

"Once we make it to the finals, I'll have to sit down with my family again to have to really work through what the right decision is for my family and I."

"It's not just my decision," Watson said, adding that he needed to consider what his parents and wife thought about it.

But he said that the recent series against the World XI in Pakistan was important for the country and would impact his decision to play there.

"I heard that things went really smoothly in that World XI series. Most importantly, Pakistani people got to watch cricket live."

Reminiscing his experience of playing in Pakistan, he said he loved his time in Pakistan when he accompanied the Australia A side to the country in 2005.

"The best part of Pakistani culture is the beautiful people and that they love the game as much as I do."

This, he said, was "a huge consideration that comes with the decision [to play in Pakistan] because people should not be deprived of seeing [live] the game they love to watch."

Regarding his experience with the PSL itself, Watson said the high quality cricket makes him come back to the league every year.

"Its a tough tournament to play. The quality of cricket is as good as anywhere else in the world. And it is the major reason why I keep coming back."

Watson, who has played the league since its opening season in 2016, also praised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for managing to hold a glitch-free tournament from day one. "It's incredibly well-run. Considering that even in the first year you expect a few glitches... but there weren't [any in the PSL]."

He also said he enjoyed playing with Kevin Pietersen and sharing a dressing room with the likes of him and Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

The Gladiators likely have their fingers crossed for Watson and Pietersen to join them for the final rounds of the tournament in order to avoid a repeat of last year's final where the Peshawar Zalmi breezed past them to lift the trophy after the top international players refused to come to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Karachi Kings head coach Mickey Arthur said all his team needed was some momentum to start winning again. The Kings have lost their last two matches after the former table-toppers' winning streak was shattered by a rained out match in Sharjah.

"We need some standout performances to change the momentum. We had that momentum [initially] but then we had the rain break and then we didn't play for a couple of days then didn't play for another three days," Arthur ─ whose team won its first three matches but lost the next two after a match against the Multan Sultans was called off because of rain ─ said.

"We just need to find that win again, and when we get that win, we get the momentum and off we go again," he said.

Asked if the Pakistan squad was likely to include some players from this year's PSL, he said: "I know exactly the squad of 20 that is going to be cut to 15 for our World Cup, and I know the squad of 21 that's going to be cut to 15 that's going to England. Whether there's one or two out of the PSL, I am not sure."

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