End of an era November 26, 2003

Waugh to retire after India series

Steve Waugh: a long innings comes to an end
© Getty Images

Steve Waugh will retire from international cricket at the completion of the fourth Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He made the announcement at a specially convened press conference at the SCG today. "Now is the right time," he said. "Sydney is one of the finest places to play."

Waugh had earlier stated that he would have liked to finish his career after the Test series in India next year. But he said today that the tour would still be a great challenge for the Australians who go to India, and he would be following how they performed.

"My present form and fitness suggests I could play on, however, all good things must come to an end. And I believe Sydney is the perfect place to finish. The last 12 months have been among the most challenging, and also the most rewarding of my career. During that period the support of the public has been an inspiration to me."

Waugh said that he knew there was a risk in not being selected for that last Test, but he felt he was playing well enough to be considered for the side and he wanted to give it a last shot. He clarified that he had never asked for guarantees from the selectors and he hadn't asked for any on this occasion.

Waugh looked back with special fondness at the last time he played a Test at Sydney, when he hammered a memorable century against England. "I had a great call last year. I'll never forget what happened in Sydney last year, that's etched in my mind forever. No-one can ever take that away from me. If it doesn't happen like that, and it is unlikely that it will happen like that, I'm quite happy with what I have achieved in the past."

Waugh also stated his desire to stay in touch with the game. He expressed his keenness to help some of the less powerful teams, and pass on the traditions of the game to the players of those countries.

Waugh will go into the Indian series having played 164 Tests and scored 10,660 runs at an average of 51.25, with 32 centuries. It would be a remarkable achievement if he were to score the 515 runs he needs to supplant Allan Border as the greatest run-scorer in Test cricket. He has led Australia in 53 Tests and taken them to victory in 40 of those, four more than Clive Lloyd, who led West Indies in 74 Test matches. In his first-class career, Waugh has scored 23,530 runs at 52.52, including 79 centuries.

James Sutherland, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, paid his tribute to Waugh: "Steve has been an ornament to the game and Australian cricket is certainly better for the outstanding contribution he has made to it for more than 18 years.

"I know Australian fans will be grateful for the opportunity to personally farewell him as he plays around Australia this summer. His courage, leadership and ability to perform at a high level under extreme pressure will ensure that he will be remembered as one of Australia's greatest cricketers.

"Not only has Steve been a wonderful player for Australia, but the pride in which he has represented his country is evident every time he has walked onto the Test or one-day arena. One of the cornerstones of cricket in Australia is the spirit in which our great game is played, and no player has worn the Baggy Green cap with more pride than Steve."