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

Daniel Brettig

March 29, 2013

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David Warner and Shane Watson added 54 runs, India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 1st day, February 22, 2013
Steve Waugh on Australia's batting: "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." © BCCI
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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

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Posted by   on (April 5, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

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

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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