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Greatest Captains - Steve Waugh


Greatest Captains

Steve Waugh



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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Greatest Captains
  • Early life
  • Cricketing Career
  • The Lean patch and transformation
  • Career Highs
  • Architect of Australia’s Great Triumphs:
  • Walking into Sunset
  • Captains’ Inning and making of Team Australia
  • After Cricket & Social life
  • 1-Greatest Captains


    Steve Waugh

    Think of Australia and one person that crosses mind immediately is the great Steve Waugh, A cold blooded scientific leader who wants to defeat you personally, one of hundred Australian Living Treasures! What makes a person a treasure, a rare talent in sports or in social life, on-field tactics or off -field character? Define these terms and you come to know Steve Waugh but not that easy as he famously says “to survive you need tough hide”


    2-Early life


    Just arriving 4 minutes prior to Mark- his brother in the world at Canterbury Hospital in Campsie-South Western Sydney on June 2nd 1965, to Roger and Beverly Waugh went on to play for Australia alongside him. You cannot miss Mark Waugh when talking about Steve Waugh especially in early life. Both grew up together, sports being pretty much part of their family, their mother Beverly Waugh was the South Australian under 14 women’s single tennis champion but had to give up tennis eventually to settle down for family. She mothered two more boys Daniel and Dean before separated from Roger. All the kids (four of them) lived with their mother and grew up on the banks of Georges River and went to the East Hill Boys School in Panania. Later when Steve Waugh led Australia to incredible World Cup win the school named the cricket nets after Mark and Steve. Both twin brothers brought up hard ways as mother was the only source of family income. She used to find extremely difficult to meet their expenses to buy all the cricket gear that Waugh bros needed. But she knew the talent these boys possessed for cricket as they later went on to play for Australia. In school Mark was used to be slightly better at lessons than Steve and also being more organized than Steve. Initially the twins found some work as umpires for indoor cricket tournaments with the help of close family friend. Steve and Mark would spend long hours stretching up to midnight in near freezing temperatures in tournaments. Apart from cricket both brothers were good at tennis and football if they had not been in cricket definitely there were the options to choose from!

    Early beginning in sport for Steve and Mark started at the age of six in East Hills T-ball league. At the same period they registered for Revesby-Milperra Lions Soccer Club and the following year they played their first game under 10 cricket with Panania East Hills RSL in the Bankstown District Association. In the very first game of cricket there was a little indication what was to come. Both boys were out without scoring; Mark first ball, Steven second ball.

    Being the key part of their school's consecutive state cricket championships, school tennis team that came second in the state in their final year both continued to show their mantle. In their final year, Mark was the captain of the state primary school cricket and tennis teams, both of which won the national championships. Steve was the vice-captain of the cricket team and captained the state soccer team. The twins were instrumental in New South Wales winning the cricket carnival without a defeat, in one match combining in a partnership of 150. As cricket started to demand more from them they had to forgo the other sporting interests.


    3-Cricketing Career


    In 1982-83 the boys made their first grade debuts for Bankstown. They were also members of the combined high school and NSW under 19 cricket teams. Talent cannot be hidden for long, their reputation in cricket started to spread far and both were selected in Australia Under 19 cricket team to play one-day and test series against Sri Lanka. Then came transition for both twins in to the first class cricket. Steve was to make his first class debut for New South Wales against Queensland at the Gabba during the 1985-86. It was in this game that Steve scored his first 1st Class century. His score of 107 certainly attracted the interest of the Australian selectors. In the following matches, Steve scored 15, 11, 119 n.o., 32 and 41 n.o. It was enough for the Test selectors to name Steve in the Australian team to play in the 2nd (The traditional Boxing Day) Test, ended up in a draw, against India at the M.C.G. At the age of 20 years and 207 days, Stephen Rodger Waugh played his first Test Match for Australia. It was an inauspicious debut for Steve. His scores of 13 and 5, and bowling figures of 2/36 hardly set the world on fire. Despite, selectors showed faith and persevered with the youngster from NSW. Steve hadn’t had great start of international career. Always struggled and even after playing 42 Tests, average remained 38.24. Though he performed better against England in 1989 Ashes tour. It was the year when he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year. In this tour he scored his first century amassing 177 at Leeds. This followed up with another century 152 at Lords.


    4-The Lean patch and transformation


    Despite the success in the Ashes tour in 1989 his consistency fell significantly in following test series and as a result he eventually being dropped from Australian Side for the 4th Test against England in 1990-91 and replaced by his brother Mark who scored a brilliant century on Test debut. Once out of the National Test team, Steve decided to go back and start from scratch about his own game for cricket. He reworked his temperament and approach for batting, led him towards a place once again in The Australian Team for the 3rd Test against West Indies at Port of Spain, Trinidad 1991. Incidentally, this was the first Test where the twin brothers were part of the playing XI. They together always formed a partnership that changed the face of Australian cricket. In the fifth and final Test of the Frank Worrell series against the West Indies at Jamaica in 1995, Steve joined his brother Mark and strung a 231 run stand for the fourth wicket. Steve carried on and scored his maiden double ton that ended West Indies' unbeaten series run for 15 years. Following that win, Steve went to bed in his cricket whites, socks and baggy green. Such was the importance of that win for Steve. This test recall acted as a turning point of Steve Waugh career and rest became history.


    5-Career Highs


    Steve Waugh’s ODI career was instrumental in making him one of the legends of the game. Consistency at times was patchy but Steve's pivotal moment came in the 1987 World Cup. He was the expert death overs bowler as he helped Australia win crucial matches against India and New Zealand by bowling tight last overs. This earned him the title of “Ice Man”. Following the retirement (or sacking) of Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh was appointed captain for the 1999/00 season. He ushered in the Australian juggernaut that would subdue every nation on this planet, barring India. Under his captaincy tenure, Australia won 16 consecutive matches, including a whitewash against the West Indies.


    6-Architect of Australia’s Great Triumphs:


    During the super-six match against South Africa in the 1999 World Cup match at Leeds, Australia were chasing 272 to ensure that they stayed in the reckoning for the semi-finals. Coming in at 48/3, Waugh built a partnership with Ricky Ponting as Australia stayed in the game. During the match though, Herschelle Gibbs dropped Steve on 56. Steve reportedly went up to Gibbs and told him “Mate, you just dropped the World Cup”. Australia went onto win the match by five wickets but no one knew that his words would become prophetic.

    The greatest, semi-final clash at Edgbaston produced the first tie in World Cups as both teams finished up on 213. Steve brought the field in to save the single following two thumping fours struck by Lance Klusener off Damien Fleming that had levelled the scores. Klusener panicked and off the fourth ball, Donald was run-out as Australia qualified for the finals due to a better run-rate.


    7-Walking into Sunset


    However, Steve was dropped from the ODI team due to poor form. He chugged along in Test cricket and in the 2002/03, Steve responded by striking a century against England at the SCG. He got to the landmark by striking a four off the last ball of the day and silenced the critics who had called for his retirement. The series against India was his last and he signed off from international cricket by scoring 80 in the second innings of the final Test against India at the SCG. If there is one regret for Steve Waugh, it was the fact that he never got the better of India in the sub-continent.


    8-Captains’ Inning and making of Team Australia


    As a captain he never disappointed anyone anytime. During his charge as an ODI captain, Steve Waugh led his country in 106 matches. Australia won 67, lost 35 and a further 4 finished in either a draw or a tie. Among his greatest victories was the World Cup triumph in England in 1999. As a Test captain, Australia played 57 Test matches, 41 of which resulted in victories, 7 were drawn and 9 were lost. An incredible performance! 41 victories, five more than his closest rival, Clive Lloyd, who led the West-Indies. During the period from the 1999 Zimbabwe Test to the 1st Test in India in 2000, Australia won 16 consecutive Test matches, a world record that may never be equaled.

    The unparalleled success of the Australian team during Waugh's reign drew both praise and criticism. The praise came because Australia played bright, attacking cricket. Under Waugh, the Australian bowlers operated in much the same way as the batsmen. They were good enough to intimidate the opposition players. When you had an attack that included McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne, you had all the weapons in your arsenal to maintain the pressure on the opposition. Even the Australian fielding, throwing and catching were usually of such a high standard that opposition teams got little or no respite during any phase of the game. His leadership style was basically very simple- implement the most efficient means of inflicting defeat on the opposition in the shortest possible time. In order to achieve that aim, he analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, and then used his own team's brilliance to bring about the mental disintegration of the opposition. Once he had established uncertainty and doubt in the minds of his opponents, victory was there for taking. For Steve Waugh the goal was simple-Win every session of every Test match and the rest would take care of itself. At a time he and his team were criticized for bullying and sledging while playing on field but that never bothered Steve!!


    9-After Cricket & Social life


    Steve Waugh AO stopped being a cricketer the minute he hung up his 'baggy green'. Today, Steve is a committed family man, businessman and best-selling author, Ambassador to few brands and charity works. To say the least the man is now doing more charity works through his Steve Waugh Foundation. He became involved in charity upon meeting Mother Teressa at Udayan in Kolkata, India. As one can think the players have only life changing situation on the field, Steve Waugh was thrown in to the uncertainties of life when his wife Lynette sustain brain bleeding of a golf ball size, she managed to fight death but it took courage to bounce bank normally with the help of Steve and children, Rosalie, Austin and Lilian, a close knit family. As an author he has penned 13 books, recent work includes the famous Meaning of Luck, Out of My Comfort Zone. He is also active penning columns in various publications and key note speaker.

    As one of his words says, “It’s not easy as everyone makes out. To survive you need tough hide” proves to be true mirror of Steve Waugh’s life whether be it a challenge on the field or in real life.

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