Shane Watson has been named captain of Rajasthan for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. The Australian all-rounder will take over the reins from Rahul Dravid, who retired from T20 cricket after leading the perennial underdogs to the play-offs last year. Watson, a former Australian vice-captain has been in the news for the wrong reasons over the past year, starting with his suspension by former coach Mickey Arthur in India during a Test series in the course of what came to be known as 'homework gate'. Watson, considered to be one of the best all-rounders in the world, has played a crucial role for the inaugural champions for six years, having scored 1887 runs at an average of 38.51 and a strike rate of 143.82 besides snaring 54 wickets from 61 matches. Watson's performance helped Rajasthan win the inaugural IPL in 2008, while playing under the inspiring leadership of Shane Warne. The young Australian displayed his all-round skills and match-winning performances in crucial ties, and eventually was adjudged the Player-of-the-Tournament. Dravid, the former captain of Rajasthan, said, "I would like to congratulate Shane Watson on his appointment as the captain of the Royals. He is not only one of the world's best allrounders, but a leader par excellence. Watson has been with the team since the first season and is familiar with the players and the staff. The Royals squad is a bunch of extremely energetic and talented players who know their roles perfectly well and I am sure they will thrive under Watson's inspiring leadership."
Watson is the second Australian after Shane Warne to lead the side, currently embroiled in a controversy around co-owner Raj Kundra, who has been accused of betting on his own team. "I am honoured to lead Rajasthan, an extraordinary team which has always given me amazing opportunities".