NSW's Henriques sees Watto as 'patron saint' of inspiration

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is viewed by the likes of Moises Henriques as the patron saint of any player who has struggled to cope with the pressure of expectation and battled for consistency.

Henriques, 25, said he drew inspiration from Watson because he saw parallels in their careers.

Like Watson early in his career, Henriques was earmarked for success at a young age. But his progress with New South Wales was frustrated by a run of injuries and inconsistent form.

But his summer blasted off spectacularly in Perth last week with a brutal 78, including five towering sixes, from 45 balls in the Ryobi Cup victory over Western Australia.

His eye "in", he compiled another 78 in the comprehensive eight-wicket Sheffield Shield win at the WACA ground.

The start to his latest campaign followed what Henriques described as a "tough" pre-season before he admitted it was equally invaluable for him to have discussed his trials and tribulations with Watson at NSW winter training.

"Even when Shane was having his struggles, I still put him on a pedestal, because of the number of runs he scored and wickets he took as a first-class player," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Henriques, as saying.

He added: "It's been great to see him stay on the field for three years and to show the world what he can do. He's probably my favourite player, and is definitely someone I look up to."

"We've had a couple of similar injuries and we've discussed things like how he managed them, how he came back and the strategies he used to improve and to strengthen certain areas of his body. What I've appreciated is he's always quick to offer a helping hand," Henriques added.

Henriques has carried the weight of expectation since he came to the attention of the cricketing public in 2004 when at 16 he was selected for the Australian under-19 team. Born in Portugal, he was considered a revelation and Cricket Australia made him the "face" of a campaign to lure youngsters from non-traditional cricketing backgrounds.

He made his debut for the Blues at 19 and drew comparisons to great players. Former state coach Trevor Bayliss said in terms of natural ability the tall right-hander reminded him of former Test batsman Mark Waugh. Henriques confided with every step there was a pressure to perform.

Henriques said: "My consistency is something I want to improve on. I want to put bigger and better performances together. The pressure is there, but I'm not sure if it was especially hard, because every player selected for NSW has to deal with pressure. It is such a fine and proud state every person who walks on to the field has an expectation they'll perform well for NSW."


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