Head coach Shane Watson satisfied over Gladiators' performance

"Creating the ultimate environment for players has been immensely rewarding," Watson says

Faizan Lakhani
Quetta Gladiators head coach Shane Watson. — PCB/File
Quetta Gladiators head coach Shane Watson. — PCB/File 

ISLAMABAD: Shane Watson, the former Australian cricketer and current head coach of the Quetta Gladiators, has expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 9.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, Watson, who transitioned from being a player to the head coach, shared insights into the team's strategies, coaching methods, young talent in the PSL, and aspirations for the tournament.

"I've been very happy with the way the guys have played," Watson said when asked about his views on the team's performance.

“For me, the most important thing about being a head coach of Quetta Gladiators was setting up an environment where the players feel that they can be at their very best and they certainly have throughout the whole tournament so far." 

"Everyone has put their hand up when the teams needed them," he added.  

Reflecting on his transition from player to head coach, Watson admitted to finding it less stressful and thoroughly enjoyable. 

"It's an absolute privilege to be the head coach of a team like Quetta Gladiators," he said. "Creating the ultimate environment for players has been immensely rewarding."

The former Australian cricketer added that he encourages players to trust their instincts and fully commit to their shots.

"The thing that I normally talk to the players about is just trusting what they feel is the right thing at that moment in time of the game." 

"They know better than anyone that what is the right tactical play is right there. And then, and if they feel that it's the time to be able to really go then have no fear, take the game on, take the balls on and don't think about the consequences at all."

"And that's I know, that's when I played my best and that's when everyone plays at their best when they've got no fear. They just trust what they feel and then fully commit to it." 

"And that's where most, it pays off, sometimes, it doesn't, it's sports, you're going make mistakes or an opposition is going to be better on the day. But so far, it's normally a really nice recipe for success,” he said.

Regarding the decision to make Saud Shakil open the innings, Watson highlighted Shakil's versatility and skill set. 

"Saud is a highly skilled young man, his balance with Jason Roy and his ability to play spin and fast bowling make him a perfect fit for the opening slot,” he said.

When asked about the young talent Khawaja Nafay, Watson expressed admiration for the player's unique abilities. "Khawaja Nafay has exceptional power and bat speed," Watson noted. "His skill and power make him a promising prospect for Pakistan cricket."

Regarding the growth of the PSL since its inception, Watson highlighted the emergence of young power hitters and the increased quality of spinners in the league.

"The tournament has evolved significantly, with a plethora of talented local and overseas players," he remarked.

“The thing that's probably stood out for me is the power of the power hitters that have really come through, whether it's the top order, or middle order power hitters from Pakistan,” he added.

When questioned about the Gladiators' chances of lifting the trophy, Watson expressed confidence in the team's abilities but stressed the importance of consistent performance and teamwork.

Regarding former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed's leadership, Watson praised Ahmed's leadership both on and off the field. Terming Sarfaraz a natural leader, Watson said that the wicket-keeper's guidance and support have been invaluable to the team, regardless of his official title.

“He's such a great leader and he leads on the field whether he's got the C placed beside his name or not. He's been exceptional. The support that he gives him (Rilee) has been exceptional." 

"So, it's a real credit to Sarfraz the ways he's taken it on and he continues to lead. He's just his natural leader anyway. So even if he doesn't ever have a C beside his name, he certainly knows how to be able to add value he needs to,” Watson concluded.