August 1, 2001

Waugh raps journalists for publishing memo


Australian captain Steve Waugh has slammed the publication of John Buchanan's now infamous Sun Tzu memo.

The document, prepared by Australia coach Buchanan for the team but apparently mistakenly slipped under a journalist's door, exhorted the tourists to turn the screw on England, and quoted extracts from fifth century BC Chinese general Tzu. It has since filled many inches of print in the media, despite both England and Australia players dismissing its significance.

Waugh himself is insisting that he is not bothered about the memo itself or its leak. He said: "I really cannot see what is so significant about that memo anyway. He was just making personal notes to be read by the team. It is like finding a wallet which belongs to someone else - are you going to take the money or do you give it back to the owner?

"I see a problem with people using our document when it is not theirs. It was our personal stuff."

He remained adamant that neither he nor his team-mates have any reason to regret that Buchanan's psychological musings have found their way into the public domain: "It is almost a pat on the back for us that you guys have taken it so seriously," he told journalists.

Waugh also left a question hanging in the air about the methods of the Australian coach, adding: "We can't understand the memo anyway. If you can decipher it, let us know."

Michael Slater, the Australian opener, also seemed unperturbed by the story. Speaking to Channel 4, he said: "John Buchanan is a terrific man-manager. I have found it a big help throughout my career and it has worked for me".

Though many have questioned why the seemingly invincible Aussies need the help of a shadowy ancient Chinese general, Slater pointed out that "maybe, if a few other teams took on some of his ideas, then they may have as much success as he has had as coach of Australia".