Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has brought his professional career in Australia to an end by announcing his retirement from the Big Bash League (BBL).
Watson joined the Sydney Thunder four years ago and prior to that, he represented the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat.
He captained the Thunder for the last three editions of the BBL, and will leave as the franchise’s top run-scorer with 1,014 runs in 40 games, which included a century and six fifties, at an average of 26.68.
Watson inked a two-year extension with the Thunder last year, but he has decided to cut that short in order to spend more time with his family.
“I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who has been involved with the Sydney Thunder over the last four seasons,” Watson was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “I will most definitely miss support that the club gets from the Thunder Nation. Their unwavering support through the ups and downs inspires everyone and I will cherish that support deeply.
“Finally, to my team-mates, I have played with so many great people and cricketers at the club and I sincerely wish everyone the absolute best for the upcoming seasons.”
Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts lavished praise on Watson, saying: “Shane Watson was one of the most exciting short-form players ever to grace a cricket field. Talented, skillful and powerful, Shane was a devastating batsman at his best.
“In a career which spanned almost two decades, Shane made a major contribution to Australian cricket firstly at international level and then in domestic cricket as a significant contributor to the Big Bash.”
Thunder’s head coach Shane Bond added: “I played against him a little bit and he was an outstanding player, so I was really looking forward to working with him. He was great to work with, he’s the ultimate professional. He cared about the team and the players and was hugely respected in the dressing room. We’re really going to miss what he brings to the team and he will be a big loss.
“For the young players at the club, he was very approachable, honest and you couldn’t ask for a better role model. We’d love to have him around in some capacity and there’s an open invite to have him join us during the season.”