Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson opined on the importance of having warm-up games in the build-up to the ODI World Cup, which commences on October 5 in India as well. However, Watson said that teams must aim to play the warm-ups with an XI as close as possible to the one they will play in the tournament as well.
“These warm-up games they are integral. For sure, you want to be able to play as close to your first and starting 11 for India against Australia; as close as you can. Because then you can build momentum, everyone knows what their roles are, everybody knows how to fulfill those roles. And then to play those two warm-up games, just for everyone to be able to find their feet and know exactly what those roles are,” Watson said while speaking exclusively to Star Sports as StarCast expert for ‘Mission World Cup’.
Shane Watson also opened up on the No. 5 position in ODI cricket, which is still a question mark for India due to a number of injuries and player unavailability issues as well. However, both KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are now fit with Iyer ready to play at the No. 4 position and the No. 5 position being a toss-up between Rahul and Ishan Kishan as well.
“The number 5 position is so important for any team, especially because that is one of the biggest question marks for India, and that number 8 spot. So, for sure those two positions in particular, but it’s really important to build that confidence and build that momentum even in those practice matches,” Watson again shared.
“People don’t realise how important those practice matches are. I know how important it was in 2007, in the lead up to the first game, our confidence in the Aussie team was a bit low but the first practice match we played against England we really started to build our confidence into that 2007 world cup campaign. So, you certainly can’t take those games lightly. They are very important just to bring everyone together and start building that momentum,” Shane Watson concluded.
However, the warm-up games will take place across three Indian venues – Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, and Hyderabad – from September 29 to October 3. Notably, Team India will play England in Guwahati on September 30 before playing against Netherlands in Thiruvananthapuram on October 3 as well.