Watson marks himself out as more than a cricketer

As the final over approached, Shane Watson held the key to the game in his hand. After smashing a century which England Captain Andrew Strauss described as “one of the great one day innings”, Watson and Australia required four runs off the final Ajmal Shahzad over. The Queenslander duly hit a monster six over long on.

Celebrations began for a victory which puts a plaster over the bloody wound of England’s tour of Australia.

The match was put into context for Watson as pictures of his ravaged home State filtered across the globe. Born in Ipswich, a town in the state of Queensland, Watson rightly recognised the current devastation caused by flooding as more important than a game of cricket.

"My mind and heart have been there, I haven't really been thinking about the cricket too much to be honest." said a solemn Watson after his unbeaten 161, the fifth highest ODI score by an Australian.

One of the only Australians who saw his stock rise after a disastrous Ashes campaign, the opener marked himself out as not only an excellent cricketer, but an excellent man after the disastrous flooding across Australia’s east coast.

In an era of sportsmen devoid of social responsibility, Watson’s decision to visit his home town where members of his family still live before travelling to join up with the rest of the Australian squad in Hobart shows the man behind the cricketing persona. Known as a pantomime villain to the travelling England contingent, Watson has drawn nothing but praise for his decision to return home and help out in any way he can.

Although his mind will clearly be on his home town, he will rue that he was unable to score runs in the Ashes series in the same manner he has at the start of the ODI series. Lamented for his inability to convert half centuries into match winning scores, it will provide only small relief that he was able to guide his country to success in the highest run chase in an ODI at the famous MCG.

Those over at Big free bet will likely see his odds fall to repeat the feat in the next one day international against England.

Watson’s innings was punctuated with monster blows off of hapless English bowling; five of his boundaries came early on in his innings as he looked to get his side well above the run rate early on. Although dropped by Jonathan Trott on 48, the big hitting opener looked to continue in an aggressive manner and take the game to England. By the time the final blow came from Watson’s blade, England had run out of ideas as defeat beckoned.

With the World Cup following hot on the heels of this series, Watson looks in good shape both with ball and bat, and bigfreebet will likely install him as the leading contender for man of the tournament.

You feel Watson would quite happily forgo any plaudits and awards for some respite for his suffering home town.