Australian top-order batter Warner has endured a poor tour of India recently, failing with the bat in the two Tests at Nagpur and Delhi and scoring 23 in the only ODI he played post recovery from a hairline fracture to his left elbow.
“David Warner for me is just at the top of the order. He’s going to continue to have a point to prove and everyone’s going to be like riding off the back of him.” Watson told Star Sports.
Warner has been named captain of the Delhi franchise for IPL 2023 after regular skipper Rishabh Pant was ruled out of the tournament following a horrific car accident in December last year.
Warner has captained Delhi franchise in the past, the then Delhi Daredevils, and has had a successful run as a skipper in IPL with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, leading them to their only title win in the 2016 edition.
Warner had an overall successful stint with SRH, but his poor form with the bat and his subsequent fallout with the team management was followed by an undignified exit in the 2021 season.
The leading run-scorer among all overseas players with 5,881 runs, Warner was removed as captain and was also benched permanently by the franchise and eventually released ahead of the 2022 mega auction.
“He’s [Warner] always scored so many runs in the IPL. And to be an opening batter, and set the platform like he does is going to be very important,” Watson said.
The former Australia vice-captain Watson also backed Mitchell Marsh to continue with his devastating form with the bat that he displayed in the ODI series win for Australia against India.
“(For) Mitchell Marsh, this is going to be another really big season for him. He’s got incredible skill with the bat alone and how he’s batting and takes the game on is going to play a really big part,” Watson said.
Watson picked South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw as the trump card for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2023.
“Well, one in particular is Rilee Rossouw, he’s someone you know, I’ve played with him in the Pakistan Super League for Quetta Gladiators. And to see how he has come back into international cricket and he’s a world class hitter of the ball.
“He can take down any bowler at any stage, in any conditions. So if he gets on a roll, he can just take the game away from the opposition,” he explained.
The Delhi Capitals assistant coach said his side has got all-round cover for the upcoming season.
“There’s a lot of very talented players. We’ve got some youngsters with the ball, fast bowlers, we’ve got (Kamlesh) Nagarkoti and Chetan Sakariya. And then we’ve got our spinners as well, like Axar (Patel) and Kuldeep Yadav.
“Those two guys, to be able to have world class spinners bowling especially through the middle, to be able to try and get wickets and also keep the runs down, that’s so critically important,” he said.
Watson backed the pair of Patel and Kuldeep to take advantage of a spin-friendly pitch in their homeground.
“For sure, Delhi’s normally, conventionally a lower, turning sort of wicket and we’ve got the bowlers to exploit that with our spinners alone. With Axar and also Kuldeep Yadav, but also with the batters that we’ve got, can really make the most of those conditions. It’s a smaller ground as well,” he said.
Watson admitted the absence of Pant will be a huge miss for the side.
“The biggest challenge for Delhi is just to be able to consistently put good performances together. You know, the Delhi Capitals have got a really, really skilful squad, and we do again this year.
“Obviously Rishabh Pant not being a part of, not playing this tournament is going to be a huge, huge miss,” Watson expressed.
(With inputs from PTI)