Australia news March 29, 2013

'England not as good as they think' - Steve Waugh


Steve Waugh believes England may fall victim to hubris in the forthcoming Ashes series, suggesting that Australia's bowling strength means Michael Clarke's team needs to only find a handful of decent batting performances to regain the urn.

Australia's nightmarish tour of India has lifted English confidence to stratospheric levels, leaving Ian Botham to speak for many when he remarked that "this is the worst Australian team I can remember". However, Waugh took a brighter view of Australia's prospects provided the selectors showed faith with the players they had identified to succeed.

"I think England aren't as good as they think they are," Waugh said at the New South Wales end of season awards night in Sydney. "I honestly think we can win the Ashes. We've got the bowlers to take 20 wickets. If that's the case you can win any Test match. It just needs a couple of batsmen to find a bit of form.

"Shane Watson, I think, has the potential to be a really great Test batsman, if he can step up to the mark along with Michael Clarke and some of the younger guys. I like the look of Phil Hughes, he's got something deep within him that makes him a long-term Test player; we've got Dave Warner.

"There's enough talent there, we just need some confidence in that line-up and if we follow on from the damage the bowlers are going to do, I think we can win the Ashes."

The results in India have brought a rush of pessimistic predictions and a vast array of prospective Ashes squads, but Waugh counselled those in charge to persist with the players they had chosen. Waugh is not directly involved with Australian cricket presently, but did sit on the Argus review panel that introduced a raft of changes to the national team's structure in 2011.

"I think we're just going to have to have patience with the current team," he said. "It reminds me a lot of 1985-86 when I first came into the Australian side. It took us a couple of years to know how to win ... 13 Test matches before I played in a winning Test side; 26 Tests before I scored a century. So, we've got to have patience in the side, believe in who we've got. We have to pick and stick for a while."

While presenting the medal that bears his name to the young Blues paceman Gurinder Sandhu, Waugh also posited the view that women's cricket had advanced to the point that Cricket Australia should consider instructing Big Bash League sides to include one female player in each squad. Alex Blackwell was named the NSW women's cricketer of the year for 2012-13, while the retiring Lisa Sthalekar was also honoured.

"I think it's about time where we could have one female player per Big Bash side," Waugh said. "Going forward, I can't see why the girls can't have representation in the Big Bash. It's a bit out there, that thought, but I think it might be time."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    If England play Australia on low bounce turners, playing both Swann & Panesar, they can win 5-0.

  • cric_J on April 3, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    He has helped England to win the Ashes (twice),to gain the no.1 spot and to win in India after 28 yrs.Compare these contributions to Siddle's and tell me what has Siddle done for Australia ?? To my mind a bowler who wins matches for his teams is a much better one than the one who has a good average and strike rate.And so I prefer Jimmy .You may critisise him all day and quote all stats but he remains one of the best in the world at the moment. And he is here to stay for another 3 years or so. I am an Indian so I am not biased towards England. Don't know what others believe but to my mind Mcgrath remains the best seamer ever and Steyn the best at the moment.There is NO denying that.And even though I dearly want Jimmy to be better than Steyn, I know that it is not gonna happen.

  • cric_J on April 3, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    @Meety I have already agreed that Jimmy was not at his best in the NZ series.He looked tired and had his ankle strapped but that is no excuse and is beside the point.Now if you start pulling out every series and every match then I am sure That Siddle too would have struggled aplenty.What I am sayng is that he has had the ability to deliver (atleast 80 % of the times, if you like that ) when it has mattered in the last 5 years or so.The SA series was a blip though.You may remember his 4-51 in Adelaide dismantled the Aussie top order and his 4-44 in Melbourne cleaned up the middle order, not to mention his 7 wickets in the match in Sydney that sealed the deal.He was good in UAE too but was not helped by some pathetic batting.His five-fer against SL was a high class one.Be it his 21 wickets against India in England or his late spells in Kolkata and Nagpur that were atreat to the eyes let alone the wickets, he has been the key reason behind England's succeses.

  • Meety on April 3, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    @cric_J on (April 2, 2013, 9:28 GMT) - stats don't tell you everything, however, there is no way you can glean from your comment how on Earth Anderson gets "..wickets at the right time to help your team win..." when Oz has a better win/loss record than England. Where was Anderson's key wickets v NZ? Bear in mind, that Siddle has never played against Bang or Zim (Anderson has 4 tests). Anderson has recently been lauded by the England press as being as good as McGrath & recently 90% of England fans wanted to say he is as good as Steyn. If Siddle matches Anderson in wickets per Test, (exc Ban & Zim), outpoints Anderson in terms of average & S/Rate & marginally ahead in E/Rate wouldn't that suggest he is better than Anderson? If Sth Africa re the pace setters in world cricket Siddle has 10 Tests & 38 wickets @ 31 & a S/R of 70 & E/R of 2.65 against Anderson 17 Tests & 57 wick. @ 38 & a S/R 71.5 & E/R of 3.2. (Siddle has distinctly better wickets p/match ratio too). Siddle >Anderson - just!

  • Meety on April 3, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    @ thebrotherswaugh on (March 31, 2013, 22:22 GMT) - you stated that "...Cowan must be the luckiest Australian opening batsmen of all time..." - yet here is a list you should consider; 1. G Wood 2,958 runs @ 33.6 2. G Marsh 2,819 runs @ 33.6 3. V Trumper 1,650 runs @ 33 (unfair to list as batting was difficult in his day) 4. B Laird 1,341 runs @ 35 (a bit unfair as he was a WI specialist! But Zero 100s) 5. A Hilditch 1,072 @ 31.6 (but at least he went on to be a great selector - not) 6. J. Burke 1,071 @ 34.5 7. J. Dyson 1,050 @ 26.3 There were others with more runs @ an ave around 35. So the point being, is that have been been plenty of times in the past where an ave around 35 is passable. Cowan's worth was greater when our middle order was Huss & Clarke, as he provided a buffer. He could be worth his weight in gold should Oz choose to blood young batsmen in the middle order like Burns or Doolan.

  • Meety on April 2, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    @SirViv1973 on (March 31, 2013, 11:56 GMT) - downplay Siddle all you like, but to dismiss his average as he has taken less wickets than Anderson is flawed. I am not going to sit here & bag the preverbial out of Anderson, BUT you said "... I think you will also find that siddles record is a bit lopsided he tends 2 do a lot better at home than away whilst Anderson is far more consistent.." the REVERSE is more accurate. Siddle has a home ave of 27 & away = 32, Anderson at home ave is 28 & away is 36. How is that NOT lopsided? There is a 7 ball differential in Siddle's S/R (E/R is even), whereas Anderson has an 11-ball differential & his E/R is 10% WORSE away. IF Siddle had only 50 test scalps - you couldn't compare the two, the reality is though - he has 150. That is historically a decent sample size. BTW - Siddle's career ave is SIGNIFICANTLY better NOT "slightly" better, Anderson's stats only compare well to Siddle if you remove the 1st half of his career.

  • cric_J on April 2, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    @Lyndon Mcpaul I am not one to talk in terms of statistics but since you and a few others have made the bizzare suggestion that Siddle is better than Anderson, I decided to have a look.Siddle has played 41 matches and taken 150 wkts.Jimmy has played 80 and taken 298 , that is if he has played double the no. of matches he has also taken double the no. of wickets.Coming to economy, it is 3.00 and 3.10 and the strike rates are 57.6 and 59.2 respectively.Not much difference there either.Siddle averages 28.8.Nothing pretty incredible like below 25 so that he can be called better.But look ahead.Jimmy has got 17 four wicket hauls and 12 five wicket hauls compared to Siddle's 5 and 7 respectively.You may have a perfect average but you need to have a knack of getting wickets at the right time to help your team win.Something where Anderson pretty much pips Siddle.

  • Shaggy076 on April 2, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    Cric_J ; Your right, the only way we would be able to make those aspersions is to see how the series plays out. Then pass comment. I do object to the term ficticious - perhaps you could have used assumed. Lets see how the series go then we can all comment. I believe Steve Waughs entire article is simply Australia if they play at there best can match England and win the Ashes. Even from his writing you can tell that England are favourites. So many people have not read the article and jumped on the England vs AUs band wagon simply by only reading the headline. Hopefully it will be a good series.

  • cric_J on April 2, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    @ sir Viv1973 Totally agree with you. Just what I have been crying about amongst all the " Aussie attack better than England's " rubbish based merely on averages ! What aussie fans do not understand is that you may have loads of skill and talent but it is a different issue altogether to go out there and deliver, especially in a high intensity series like Ashes. Not for one moment am I underestimating Aussie seamers. But the claims that they will outbowl England seem highly fictitious. Take Onions for example.He has done consistently well in the domestic circuit but failed miserably on the international front. Aussie seamers (barring Siddle) just haven't played too many matches to be called better than Jimmy and Broady. So all this jabbering about their being better based on averages and strike rates and economy doesn't hold much water.

  • Iamnotboredofcricket on April 2, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    The irony is is that Australia ARE as good as we all think. That is, not that good at all. The fruitless comparison of England and Australia has some weight I suppose when you compare their most recent competition against the same opponent, so India. England win hands down on that score. But really, we all know The Ashes adds an edge, and being an Englad supporter we all know Australians always gain an extra X% playing us, and probably England lose a few % because of the "aura"... On paper/points whatever, England would probably shade it, mostly due to their batting. But it'll be close, neither team will be that dominant. Australia are weaker on the batting without a doubt and the bowling is probably more or less equal. All we need is McGrath to come out with 5-0 and the usual pre-Ashes rhetoric will be complete! Waugh is showing himself to be as bad as Botham when it comes to this sort of rubbish.