Watson tests the best
Bowling to some of the world’s finest batsmen would be harrowing for most up-andcoming cricketers.
But Dane Watson seems right in his element.
The off-break spinner from Epsom has been gaining some rare experience as a net bowler for Cricket World Cup sides.
He’s one of the first on the list when visiting teams are in town and in need of some valuable time facing spin in the nets.
It’s a massive privilege for the 20-year-old to test himself against the benchmark.
‘‘At the end of the day it’s just the nets.
‘‘It’s obviously nice to beat the bat of an international player, or get a nick, or hit the stumps but it’s not the same as in a real game.’’
Watson has fired a few down the pitch to the Black Caps, Australians and South Africans in preparation for their pool matches.
Put a ball in his hands and he’ll give his wrist a flick as he whirls it up for his left hand to catch – a natural habit for any spinner.
But spin bowling didn’t always come naturally for Watson and was something he needed to learn as a 13-year-old for his Grafton side.
‘‘My Dad was coaching a team for me and my mates,’’ he says.
‘‘We needed a spinner and Dad said it was my best chance of getting some bowling time.
‘‘It wasn’t really a choice, I didn’t really know much about it when I was younger.’’
The former Auckland Grammar School student has since taken tips from the likes of Daniel Vettori and South African quick Dale Steyn.
But it’s the Australian skipper who Watson has learned the most from.
‘‘Michael Clarke has been a massive hero of mine, I’ve always looked up to him. He’s had his ups and downs, but always come back in the face of adversity. Like after his good mate Phillip Hughes died, Michael made a century in the next test.
‘‘It’s been great to pick his brain, for example where I should have my field set and what pace I should bowl.’’
Watson played for New Zealand Under-19s and Auckland A.
Conceding just 3.2 runs an over on average, he’s taken 10 wickets from his eight matches in the one-day game this season for club side Suburbs New Lynn. His best figures were 4/19. The World Cup has reached the sudden death stages and Watson is waiting for one more call-up in preparation for the semifinal at Eden Park on March 24.
Fingers crossed it will be the Black Caps who are there to meet him.
Go to aucklandcityharbour news.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to watch a video of Watson in the nets.