The Ashes - the aftermath September 13, 2005

Waugh warns against sweeping changes

Ricky Ponting: Steve Waugh said he did not set 'Australia's normal aggressive fields' © Getty Images
Steve Waugh has warned Australia's selectors against rushing into making impulsive changes to the Australian team following their Ashes series defeat to England.

Waugh said some of his former team-mates were reaching the crossroads of their cricket careers and some changes were likely in the next couple of years but he urged for clear heads to prevail at the selection table. "They'll have a couple of players in mind which they will bring in the side over the next couple of years," Waugh told Channel Nine Tuesday. "I think at the moment you have to have clear heads and just wait a couple of weeks, reassess the whole series, see what went wrong and just see whether changes are necessary or not.

"It's a very good side, a really experienced side. They will be disappointed but they will move on from it."

The squad will begin arriving home over the next two days with skipper Ricky Ponting due to speak to the media late Wednesday at Sydney Airport on his arrival.

Selector and former Test batsman David Boon has spoken of the need for careful selection policies with the Australian team. "Sometimes you're going to have to make a hard decision to keep a subtle rotation going through so you don't have mass retirements," Boon told The Australian newspaper. "But you've also got to be realistic. If somebody is scoring 100s upon 100s, or taking five wickets every time they bowl, you've still got to be aware you're picking the best cricket team you possibly can to represent your country.

"It's a little difficult but it's a scenario we're aware of. Within the realms of reality we try to achieve a three to five-year cycle rather than an immediate impact. Obviously it (age) is something we've got to monitor but I believe if we keep producing cricketers who are 25 plus, they're mature, they're ready to play, they've still got a seven or eight-year career, then we're doing okay."

Waugh, who won 41 of his 57 Tests as Australian captain from 1999 to 2004 before Ponting took over as skipper, said his successor's field settings were conservative during the Ashes campaign. But he said this was because of the danger of conceding too many boundaries on the English grounds. "The ropes were brought in quite a bit, the fields are smaller now. They are much quicker, the outfields," said Waugh. "It wasn't Australia's normal aggressive fields. They are playing a little differently these days. It worked very well in India. That's not to say it's the wrong way. I think England just outplayed Australia. It's been a fantastic series, good for cricket."