‘It’s been a mentally challenging time but I’ll be ready for Tuesday’, says Shane Watson

"There's no doubt that mentally the last couple of days have been the most challenging of my career"

“There’s no doubt that mentally the last couple of days have been the most challenging of my career”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has revealed that Phillip Hughes’ death has been the most mentally challenging thing he has had to deal with in his international career.

Watson was representing New South Wales the day when Hughes, who was playing for South Australia, was struck on the side of the neck and collapsed on the pitch.

Watson also noted that he is still scarred by the memories of holding an unconscious Hughes in his arms.

However, Watson knows that he has to put those memories at the back of his mind, especially since the first Test against India gets underway tomorrow in Adelaide.

“I’m getting there. Physically I feel ready to go,” Watson said. “There’s no doubt that mentally the last couple of days have been the most challenging of my career to be honest, after seeing what happened over the last week, trying to process everything that’s happened, being there at the SCG when it happened as well. It’s been a mentally challenging time but I’ll be ready for Tuesday. Everyone’s going through the process in their own way and everyone’s handling it as well as they possibly can.

“The first couple of sessions were tough, especially the first one was really tough. A few things flooded into my head as soon as I went out to bat. I thought I’d processed quite well over the previous week. It’s been tough but it’s been a great thing to get back into the game we all love playing. We know how much Phillip and his family love the game as well. For us, to continue on with Hughes and his family’s legacy to make sure we continue to play the game we love because it’s enriched our lives so much.”

Despite Hughes’ tragic death, Watson stated that he has become a lot “more comfortable with just reacting to what I see”.

“I’ve got more comfortable with just reacting to what I see and trusting my skill,” Watson said. “That’s probably the simplest thing now…after what I experienced and the other guys experienced over the last week. I just go back to trusting my game and trusting my skill.

“You know that if at any stage you get a ball, and you get unlucky, and it hits you in the wrong spot it can cause some serious damage, but that’s just part of the game – you hope your skill can get you out of trouble. I knew I had to confront it from day one when I went in at Park 25, and every day that I’ve gone in I felt more comfortable, and with one day to go I know I’ll be ready.”

Just like many of the other Australian players have said before him, Watson made it clear that the Baggy Greens are at their best when they are playing with intensity and aggression.

“We’ve played our best cricket when we are aggressive. That’s ever since I’ve been involved in the Australian cricket team,” Watson said. “When we are aggressive with bat and ball, but especially with the ball as we were during the last Ashes series. That’s not going to change because that’s when we’re at our absolute best.

“We know what we have to do to do well against the Indians. They hammered us in their conditions so we have a lot to give back to them in our conditions. We need to make sure we start off well in that series and stay strong to make sure they feel a similar pain as we did over in India.”

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