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BW Businessworld

A Leader Should Always Follow His Gut Instinct: Shane Watson

"One of my key strategies is whatever I do, I understand what my best performance looks like, my best performance as in the best I can personally give in," said Watson

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In a one-of-a-kind exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, in the popular series BW Dialogue, Australian cricketer star Shane Watson candidly shared his experiences of life. During the interview, he sheds light on a few personal aspects of life, his success mantra, tips to manage a team as a leader and his experience of working under who he calls the finest captain ever, MS Dhoni

Edited Excerpts from his interview: 

How do you manage the kind of stress and pressure you have while playing cricket? What advice would you give to your fans and leaders in the crisis situation?

Obviously, there are such situations – they’re not ideal and they don’t work out. It’s normally not the best time of learning, whether you’re in a team or individually going well to learn the lessons daily when things are not going well.

You have played cricket in all forms: T20, one day test and you are also going to be part for T10, which is pretty exciting for Indian cricketers as well, so which type of cricket excites you the most? What’s your favorite type of cricket?

The most challenging is test cricket as it is the ultimate test of everything whether it is your technique, mental strength, physical strength and most importantly how you deal with the pressure and anxiety and yes I found that the most challenging for sure. Definitely T20 is most fun way of playing because in T20 cricket, love is coming along to watch the way and it is the most exotic way of playing and fortunately I am very happy to be a part of many tournaments played around the world and to get the psyche of the local players especially in IPL, you get to know culture and its pretty exciting to play as a local boy and not as a player of Australia. 

You have played for Australian test cricket and you have played against India as well and then with the IPL. Cricket is so international that how you feel when people in India hoot for Virat Kohli and half of the crowd hoot for Shane Watson. They have more expectations from you and I am sure that must have put you in immense pressure to perform and to deliver upto their expectation as a foreigner in India. How do you deal with that kind of anxiety?

No, there is no pressure as such but in the end, it is the pressure on the field. Rather then I put pressure on myself so that’s really simple, there is always expectation, may it I play cricket at home but that’s in every field I play. As you go up, the expectations eventually increase. It really made us what the expectations are and how to cope up with that.

So the strategy is same even if it is national cricket or international cricket?

Absolutely! Because in the end the pressure is different but it’s still there and especially expectation is there. Expectations are there, that I should score runs every time, but that’s not the reality of cricket – of any sport. 

So could you give 3 quick hacks for our readers, Shane Watson style, to ace pressure in the big meeting?

One important part in my preparation is meditation. It really is a time to do everything to clear my mind, get it to be still. That half an hour is a really great regeneration period for my mind.

Second is planning as I don’t think about my plan all day but I just plan for 30-40 minutes before the event and stick to it.  

And lastly, de-stressing, understanding what mental state I need to be in to not stress – and if I begin to worry, how to pull myself back into the game, because when I’m burning too much mental energy, it means I have less chance to execute when I need to.

How do you use a few interpersonal skills as strategies on the playing field?

One of my key strategies is whatever I do, I understand what my best performance looks like, my best performance as in the best I can personally give in. So its understanding and putting a reality what it is supposed to be and putting it into context so if I am expecting my son or daughter to be an adult which they will be after 5 years and being more patient with your kid and not to push the boundaries. 

So you worked under many captains, which one is your favourite Indian captain and why? One leadership skill you have picked up from our Indian players?

I am fortunate to work under Rahul Dravid with Rajasthan Royal’s, he is incredibly good in what he wants. He has good connection with young players in India and around the world and not everyone connects with any of the players or the youngest player of the team, that’s the amazing trick he has. My another favourite player is Virat Kohli. The thing which stood out for me is just his deep down burning desire to win and perform that was something which stood out for me. Another golden opportunity I had was to be captained under Ricky Ponting. The last is MS Dhoni. I was so fortunate to play under him. Sometimes he is hard on his place but he is incredibly well and understands everyone. Whatever the situation is, he tackles it very calmly and peacefully. 

At this age of yours, people generally say that it is the time to say bye to the cricket industry and have a nice life ahead, what do you think about it? What keeps you motivated throughout? What kind of zeal do you have to stick to one job?

Its simple because I love doing what I do and this is what I am best in. I love playing cricket and its always being a great challenge for me. I always keep my fitness as a priority. I love the challenges and I feel privileged to work with so many cricketers. 

Since you spoke about your three favorite captains which one did you enjoy working with the most?

MS Dhoni, as he plays very peacefully and calmly and does not rely on anyone. 


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