I am having much more fun playing for Australia with Lehmann in charge, reveals Shane Watson

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“I know how lucky I am to be involved in such a special environment because it doesn’t always come along”

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has revealed that he is having more fun playing for the national team after Darren Lehmann replaced Mickey Arthur as head coach.

Watson has always held a grudge against Arthur ever since the former head coach axed him from the Test squad during their tour of India last year for failing to complete a homework assignment.

“Personally it makes it more sweet,” Watson said. “To know that there were times when I knew I had to stand strong with my beliefs only for the betterment of what I thought was the amazing talent we had in the group. I certainly would never take back how I stood and voiced my opinions at certain times. I know that when there are down times, if you stand strong for long enough and persevere for long enough things might turn around and they certainly have in a way that I never expected.

“I’ve always had certain beliefs and I’ve been lucky enough to be around so many great teams, whether it was the Australian team or other teams that I’ve played in. I got to know most importantly that you need to be making sure you’re having a lot of fun because it’s a game that if you take too seriously – and I do at times, and I’ve always got to turn myself around – you can really get too internal and the game gets too much for you. That’s what was happening in the Australian team.”

Watson also conceded that Lehmann had removed all the tension in the air and completely changed the team culture following Arthur’s departure.

“That it was meant to be the time of your life had gone out the window,” Watson said. “It was more so you had to be desperate and put every other part of your life on hold to become the best player and best team in the world instead of just getting the perfect balance, which means you’re more chance of actually putting the performances on the board as a team and individually. And Darren knew that from experience and that’s exactly what he implemented.

“I know how lucky I am to be involved in such a special environment because it doesn’t always come along.

“It’s not just something you stumble across, it’s something that people do put a lot of time and effort in certain ways to be able to make sure that an environment like this is created and that’s the amazing skill that Darren Lehmann has brought in. It really is an absolute pleasure to be a part of, not just the dream of playing cricket for Australia, but to actually be involved in something that is so much fun, that’s the reason I started playing and why I’m playing now.”

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