CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – Australian all-rounder Shane Watson believes the quality players assembled for St Lucia Zouks this season will make them serious contenders for the Caribbean Premier League which bowls off month end.
The 34-year-old is making his debut in the CPL and will be joined by the likes of fellow Aussie Michael Hussey and the South African pair of David Miller and Morne Morkel, for the June 29 to August 7 campaign.
Zouks have never won the CPL title but Watson said this was something he was anxious to help change.
“There’s no doubt that this year’s CPL is going to be fiercely competitive,” said Watson, who has been consistent across three formats of the game.
“There are world-class players playing in the tournament which immediately puts a jolt of excitement in you, even before a ball is bowled and I’m hungrier than ever to try and bring some success to the Zouks.”
Watson is a seasoned performer in T20s, having scored just over 5 000 runs and taken 160 wickets from 196 games.
An effective right-handed top-order batsman and reliable seamer, he will team up with big-hitter Miller and tall, right-arm speedster Morne Morkel, a combination he hopes can pay dividends for the Zouks.
“As one of the overseas players coming into the Zouks side, I know a lot is expected of us all to work hard,” he noted.
“It’s exciting to get the chance to play again with Morne. We had played together in one of the early IPL seasons and he has caused enough headaches playing against him that it’s nice he’s on my side now.
“I’ve only heard good things about David and he has grown a lot as a cricketer over the past few years.”
Zouks will be led by West Indies T20 captain, Darren Sammy, and include the homegrown talents of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher – the current opening pair for West Indies in the shorter formats.
Watson said he was looking forward to playing alongside Sammy and getting close up to the regional talent.
“There’s the main man Sammy who I have yet to play with. He’s obviously a charismatic leader and it will be interesting to see his style of captaincy up front,” said Watson.
“And there’s a hardy crop of good young West Indies talent who will be chomping at the bit to impress. With the West Indies doing so well lately, and the Under-19’s winning their World Cup, it’s clear the structures that are in place are working across the Caribbean.”
Zouks start their season against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, in the opening game of the Basseterre leg.