Hyderabad:A fragile all-rounder whose progress has been hampered by umpteen injury breakdowns, Shane Watson believes he has put behind the nightmares and profusely thanks the Indian Premier League (IPL) for resurrecting his stop-start career.
Back in the mix again, Watson believes he is through with his quota of slings and arrows and his career is finally back on track largely because of IPL.
"It came at the right time for me, no doubt about that," the strapping blond, standing at a towering 1.83m, he said.
"It was of international level. Playing for the Rajasthan Royals was a great opportunity for me and that too under the great Shane Warne. It was a true testament of your calibre and I was simply privileged to be part of IPL," gushed the all-rounder, who missed the warm-up match against Board President's XI because of viral fever.
Watson also took the opportunity to thank his charismatic captain-cum-coach at Rajasthan Royals.
"Shane was amazing. He provided me the right opportunity and instilled confidence in all the members. He was simply superb as a captain," said Watson, who was judged the Most Valuable Player in IPL.
Watson doesn't hesitate to admit that he also benefited from all-rounder Andrew Symonds' absence, which paved the way for his Test recall.
"No doubt about that. At number six, Symonds was doing a great job. I don't know what would have happened had he been part of the squad. But this is an opportunity for me and I have to make the most of it," he said with a palpable sense of urgency.
Despite being around for six years, Watson has played just three Test matches so far, in contrast to his 72 ODI appearances and the swashbuckler reckons he faces a new challenge in the longer version of the game. "Test matches are different ball game altogether. When the ball starts turning from day four, you know it's a different challenge for you. But I'm here to put my best foot forward and help Australia win the series," he said.
Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh tipped Watson to be Australia's first genuine all-rounder since Keith Miller but umpteen stress fractures, back niggles, hamstring and calf injuries saw the youngster rehabilitating more than playing. Watson, however, believes he had never been in better shape and hopes his career is finally ready to take off.
"My body often let me down, especially whenever I thought I had an opportunity. It was really frustrating to spend time in rehabs when you should have gone out to play. In fact it was my injury that allowed Symonds to cement his place in the side.
"But I believe I have come out of that phase. I know the conditions here and I'm in great shape. I believe I'm giving myself the best chance to finally live upto the expectation here," added the all-rounder.