End of an era November 26, 2003

The tributes start

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Steve Waugh: a great leader of Australian cricket and Australian sport
© Getty Images

Not long after Steve Waugh announced his plans to retire at the end of Australia's Test series against India, the first of many tributes came flooding in, with Sachin Tendulkar leading the way.

"I think he set great examples in the way cricket should be played," Tendulkar said. "He was completely at a different level as far as mental toughness is concerned. He's someone I've really admired, he's shown over the years that he's very gutsy and when the time demands it, he's there to deliver."

John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, also joined in, pointing out how the opposition always had total respect for him. "He's been a wonderful captain, a wonderful batsman, a gritty, determined competitor."

Ricky Ponting, who took over from Waugh as the one-day international captain, and is now expected to lead the Test side too, said he wanted to enjoy the Indian Test series, which he sees as a celebration of Waugh's success. He said: "What is important to me is that we all enjoy being a part of his farewell series, it's sure to be something special."

Adam Gilchrist also paid his respects, citing the pride and passion Waugh instilled in the team: "I'm not saying players before him didn't play with pride and value it, but he's the main driver behind that passion and the aura of the baggy green."

John Buchanan, Australia's coach, insisted Waugh would go down in history as one of the greats, both on and off the pitch. "He's left a significant imprint not only on Australian cricket, I guess world cricket and even Australian society," Buchanan decreed. "He is going to be, I think, revered as one of the great leaders of Australian cricket and Australian sport."