Shane Watson to take over as Quetta Gladiators head coach

Shane Watson raises his bat after getting his fifty
December 06, 2023

Quetta Gladiators have reached a deal with former Australia allrounder Shane Watson that will see him appointed as head coach of the franchise ahead of the 2024 edition of the PSL. The announcement will see Gladiators' first change of coach since the inauguration of the tournament, as former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Moin Khan, who served as coach for eight years, will instead be appointed team director of the side.

Cricday understands that a final agreement between Watson and Gladiators has been achieved, with an announcement expected later on Wednesday. However, it is not yet clear if Watson's appointment means Gladiators are looking for a wider clearing out of a coaching staff that has seen them miss out on the playoffs for four successive seasons.

Gladiators were the most consistent franchise of the PSL during its first four editions, when they reached the final three times, and also won the title in 2019. Watson, who joined the franchise in 2018 after two years with Islamabad United, was a huge part of Gladiators' success, becoming arguably their greatest overseas player during his three-season stint until 2020. He was the leading run-scorer during their victorious campaign in 2019, hitting 430 runs at a strike rate of 143.81, a performance which earner him the the Player-of-the-Tournament award.

However, Gladiators have fallen on harder times since, as the last four years have all seen them finish outside the playoff positions. While they had the same coach all along, they have also stuck with the same captain in Sarfaraz Ahmed, with no suggestion yet that a change will be made on that front.

Watson, 42, retired from all cricket in 2020. He joined IPL franchise Delhi Capitals as assistant coach in 2022, serving alongside his former Australia team-mate Ricky Ponting. Earlier this year, he was appointed head coach of Major League Cricket franchise San Francisco Unicorns.

While Watson played 59 Tests for Australia, it was in limited-overs cricket where he was at his best. In 190 ODIs, he scored 5757 runs at 40.54 with a strike rate of 90.44, in addition to taking 168 wickets at 31.79. He was part of two World-Cup winning Australia sides - in 2007 and 2015 - and was a powerhouse performer in the Champions Trophy, winning the Player-of-the-Match award in the finals of both the 2006 and the 2009 tournaments.

In T20Is, he made 1462 runs at a strike rate of 145.32 and took 48 wickets while maintaining an economy rate of just 7.65. He was the Player of the Series in the 2012 T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, where he topped the run charts with 249 runs at a strike rate of 150, and finished second on the wickets chart with 11 strikes.

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