The independent voice of cricket


‘Didn’t realise he could bowl that fast’ – Watson reveals the sledge that fired up Wahab Riaz

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Shane Watson has conceded that he undermined Wahab Riaz before the Pakistan pacer’s fiery spell rattled him in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal against Australia.

Watson walked in to bat at five in the 11th over, right after Wahab had dismissed Australia captain Michael Clarke with one of the many well-directed bouncers he sent out that night, soon making the Australian all-rounder realise that he had undermined the bowler’s abilities.

Though the pacer’s next four overs were “super uncomfortable” for Watson, where he got dropped once as well, he accepted that it was a moment in his career that he looks back at fondly while revealing that it was a sledge during Pakistan’s innings that had fired up Wahab.

“One of the very special moments I had in my career,” Watson recalled during a Q&A session on Instagram, “even though at the time it wasn’t as enjoyable, but I look back at the quarterfinal against Pakistan with Wahab Riaz going absolutely crazy, bouncing the living daylights out of me, he bowled super accurate and he kept bouncing me.

“It was very silly and naive of me [that] I didn’t realise that Wahab Riaz could bowl that fast. I said something to him – because he kept playing and missing Mitchell Starc – so I ran past him and said, ‘Have you got a hole in your bat? Because you just keep missing the ball.’ And again, I didn’t realise he could bowl that fast so once I got out there, I got absolutely peppered.

“I look back at that moment, that was a very special ‘moment to be part of, even though it was super uncomfortable. He got on top of me, I got dropped at fine leg, but yeah, worked out really well in the end.”

Watson completed his half-century as Australia went on to win the quarterfinal by six wickets, and eventually the World Cup nine days later.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99