t20 world cup: Was hoping for an India versus Pakistan final like everyone else: ICC ambassador Shane Watson
At a media interaction organised by Booking.com in Melbourne, Watson said he saw a lot of ‘shattered’ Indian fans on his flight from Adelaide to Melbourne.
Booking.com is the official accommodation booking partner for all ICC events. The five-year exclusive global partnership between the ICC and Booking.com is from 2019 to 2023.
“I have heard from several people that the India versus Pakistan match in Melbourne was the most incredible thing that they had been a part of. People have been to world cups before and they have been to other sporting events but the noise that reverberated around the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and also around the suburbs was something else when India won. We had never heard some of that before,” he added.
He said while he can’t really choose who’s going to win the final match on Sunday, England has been the more consistent team.
“I’m veering a bit more towards England because of their consistency. They have played more finals in recent times and it’s about their learnings from those,” said Watson.
“Pakistan is always emotional. They are up and down. They could have a day when they have their emotions up and stay up. They could do that but if England take the game on and get ahead a little bit, that’s when Pakistan could drop off,” he added.
He said India played a ‘timid’ game against England and the openers got it all wrong.
“You could sense the Indians were timid and reluctant. They wanted to score runs but were not wanting to take the game head on,” said Watson.
“The fear of failure is never the right mindset when you are playing against one of the best opposition teams in the world and you will have to be taking the game on especially on a good batting surface. So Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were in a hole to start with,” he added.
Watson said the reason England been so dominant in the shorter format over the last four years is because it plays ‘fearless cricket.’
“Sometimes it’s not going to work, but players such as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have got the skills to do it. Instead, they were second guessing about what they were going to do and worried about making a mistake,” he added.
Watson said the other mistake was not considering Yuzvendra Chahal. “I was gobsmacked that he was not playing at the start of the tournament because being able to spin the ball both ways means that he can bowl to any left hander as well as right hander. That’s an opportunity that India missed during the middle overs,” he added.
He said T20 is an ‘intriguing’ format for the younger generation with attention spans getting shorter, and every game in the World Cup had been ‘incredible’.
“You can’t miss a ball really, because the connotation of that for the match and the tournament could be really interesting. But, the weather has been really disappointing. The forecast is shocking for Sunday and Monday. I hope the weather person has got it all wrong,” he added.
(The correspondent was in Australia at the invitation of Booking.com)