Cuttack: Shane Watson feels Mitchell Johnson has provided the ‘X-factor’ to the Australian bowling attack in the ongoing series against India and has made a big difference to their fortunes.
“It’s important to get our match-ups right when we’re bowling against India. I think we’ve matched up really well. Mitch Johnson provides a big X-factor for us. There’s a couple of guys who aren’t as comfortable against the short ball compared to some of their other players as well,” Watson said on Friday. “Even in batting, when we’re facing certain bowlers that they’ve got... Also trying to take them on at certain stages of the game. I think we’ve done that really well so far.”
Watson felt using Johnson against the Indian middle-order has proved to be useful. “It certainly has been (a tactic)... Even after what happened in the Twenty20 game in Rajkot, especially with Yuvi, ... we didn’t get our plans exactly right. And he’s an extremely talented player.
“If we give him a chance to get away, he certainly hits the ball very sweet. Suresh Raina, too, is a high-quality, world-class player. We’re very lucky to have Mitch in our team, bowling the pace and control that he’s got at this point in time.
“It’s a huge weapon for us because we know how important the Indian middle-order is to their success. We’ve seen it work so far throughout this series. Hopefully, it can continue to work for a bit longer… In Jaipur, we didn’t get a chance to be able to get to that middle-order because they batted so well. Apart from that game, it has worked really well,” Watson added.
Watson feels the rain has been a blessing in disguise. “I’ve been playing just about non-stop for the past seven or eight months. It’s worked out that the rain has come along at certain times, even during the one-day series of England, just to freshen me up and freshen a few other players who have been playing non-stop. We’ve made the most of it.”
Watson said they were all excited at the prospect of winning a series in India. “To be able to win a series in India, in any format, is a huge challenge and it will be a great achievement,” he said.