Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh on Wednesday said the success of his country’s cricket team in major tournaments like the ODI World Cup and Champions Trophy stems from the players’ enormous pride in playing and winning big games.
“We have enormous pride in winning big games and are not afraid to play these big games,especially the semifinals and finals. Australia makes it happen while other teams are tense and think what will happen. Australia has the benefit of winning these before,” Waugh said at a media conference.
Australia have won four World Cups and two back-to-back Champions Trophy events,including the latest one under the captaincy of Ricky Ponting in South Africa on Monday. Announcing that the proceeds from the 6UP mobile-based game in the October 9 Champions League encounter between Delhi Daredevils and Victoria Bushrangers would go to his Steve Waugh Foundation,the former cricketer felt that even after the slight decline Australia remained one of the top teams.
“These days its difficult to dominate in all three forms of cricket (Tests,ODIs and Twenty20). Australia has done well and is a relatively inexperienced team now. But it is still a very strong team. India and South Africa are the others with Sri Lanka knocking on the doors,” he said. New Zealand and West Indies do well in the shorter forms,he added.
The 44-year-old Waugh,who led Australia to the 1999 World Cup crown,felt it was premature to say whether Ponting could chase down Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s records in both Tests and ODIs.
“If Sachin plays for three or four years,his records would become unreachable. If he (Ponting) wants to chase Sachin he needs to remain run-hungry and free of injuries,” he said.
Waugh felt that while Test cricket still remained the game’s pinnacle as far as he and the older players were concerned,people needed to be realistic too about the financial benefits for younger players brought by the Twenty20 format.
“All traditionalists love Test cricket to be at the top.
But you need to be realistic too as Twenty20 is what is attracting youngsters and new fans to the game. It also provides job opportunities for a lot of kids. It’s up to the administrators,senior players and the media to uphold crickets traditions,” he said.
Waugh was non-committal about whether he would love to have cricket as part of the Olympic Games.
“I’m not sure about cricket in the Olympics,but the players would have to decide whether the Twenty20 game (through which cricket is aiming to break into the quadrennial sports extravaganza) is the ultimate in your game. I took part in the Commonwealth Games (multi-discipline event) in 1998 and it was one of my greatest experiences,” he said.