The Ashes victory is that much sweeter for Shane Watson after a largely turbulent 2013 in which he insists he stood up for what he thought was right.
Watson, a pivotal all-round presence in Australia’s 5-0 whitewash of England, found himself at odds with former coach Mickey Arthur and also reportedly captain Michael Clarke in the early months of last year.
It was only after Cricket Australia sacked Arthur and replaced him with Darren Lehmann, weeks before the start of a 3-0 Ashes defeat in England last summer, that Watson began to feel he belonged again.
Under Lehmann, he believes he has found his niche at last. “There’s absolutely no comparison. This is the time of my life,” said Watson.
“I know how lucky I am to be involved in such a special environment because it doesn’t always come along.” Not so long ago, that was very definitely not the case.
“I’d always had certain beliefs and I’d been lucky to be around so many great teams to know most importantly that you need to be making sure you’re having a lot of fun,” he added.
“It’s a game that if you take too seriously — and I do at times — you can really get too internal, and the game gets too much for you.”