Royals' mainstay Watson yet to arrive

The 31-year-old Australian, considered one of the mainstays of the team by captain Dravid and coach Upton, is likely to miss first two matches.

New Delhi: Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid and head coach Paddy Upton have both come on record in the build up to IPL-VI to say that their team’s chances rest heavily on Shane Watson.

However, there is a definite communication gap that exists in their ranks, since days after Dravid’s proclamation that it was a pleasure to have Watson available from the beginning of the season, it has now been revealed that the Australian allrounder is yet to arrive.

The Royals play their first game of the season against Delhi Daredevils here on Saturday, and held their first training session at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Thursday, minus Watson.

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Later, it became clear that the 31-year-old was still in Australia with his family and newborn son, Will, and would fly out only at the weekend, thus possibly missing the Royals’ second match on Monday as well.

The late arrivals of some of the biggest overseas stars has become a trend so far this season, with Brendon McCullum missing Kolkata Knight Riders’ first game and some of the South African players like Daredevils’ Morne Morkel staying home for the conclusion of their domestic T20 championship. Morkel will only be available for the April 9 match against Mumbai Indians in Mumbai, after his franchise Titans reached the final of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge.

One of the Royals’ star players last season, West Indian all-rounder Kevon Cooper, also looks unlikely for Saturday’s game, since he could be seen constantly icing his knee during the two-and-a-half hour long practice session.

However, the good news for the Royals is that both Dravid and last season’s hero Ajinkya Rahane looked in decent touch in the nets.

The Daredevils, meanwhile, flew home on Thursday and opted to rest after being thumped by KKR in the opening game on Wednesday.


Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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