September 3, 2003

Ganguly reveals how Waugh's sledging backfired

Wisden CricInfo staff

One of the things that Steve Waugh will long be famous for is his possibly apocryphal remark to Herschelle Gibbs in the 1999 World Cup that he (Gibbs) had just dropped the World Cup when he put down a simple catch off Waugh at square leg. Well, Sourav Ganguly has now revealed that Waugh tried the same tactic on Ganguly - and it backfired.

In a forthcoming book called Ground Rules, excerpts from which were released in the Kolkata newspaper The Telegraph, Ganguly has written about how Waugh's attempt at smart talk rebounded in the historic Kolkata Test of 2001.

Describing the final day of that Test, Ganguly wrote: "Just before tea on the final day when they were only three wickets down, I dropped a sharp chance off Steve Waugh at backward short leg. Maybe if he had said nothing, the game would have drifted to a draw, the result that appeared to be its natural conclusion. But Waugh could not resist the chirp, 'You just dropped the Test, mate.'

"Sometimes sledging can work against you and, on this occasion, it had the effect of geeing up the Indians. Immediately after tea, Harbhajan Singh got Waugh out and Rahul Dravid gave him a sendoff from slip asking who had given away the Test match now."

Australia were 1-0 up before that Test; they ended up losing 1-2. So much for mental disintegration.