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One hundred per cent Australian

The martial air of his name extended to the field, where he was as ruthless and relentless as he was self-effacing off of it

Gideon Haigh

November 15, 2010

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

Steve Waugh was the top all-rounder of the tournament averaging 55 with the bat and picking up 11 wickets.
When he first arrived, Steve Waugh was compared to the stylish and attacking Stan McCabe © Getty Images
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Steve Waugh is an Australian Living Treasure. That is not the airing of an opinion but a statement of a fact: he is one in a list of about a hundred nominated and elected by this country's National Trust. It's an eccentric and obviously subjective list. Hazel Hawke, an erstwhile prime minister's wife, is there; the erstwhile husband who left her for a younger woman, Bob Hawke, is not. Hugely popular, widely admired and softly spoken indigenous athlete Cathy Freeman is there; hugely popular, widely admired and extremely noisy indigenous athlete Anthony Mundine is not. In other words, this is no place for controversialists. It is a pantheon in which Steve Waugh fits snugly.

No Australian has played more Tests or one-day internationals than Steve Waugh. It's a record as uncompromising as the man himself, and the team he led to success upon success. It was built, moreover, in a relentless forward march. "What about the next game, Steve?" asked a journalist after one night game in January 2000. "Who are we playing?" Waugh responded, adding amid chuckles: "We just get on a plane and go somewhere and find out who we're playing."

Yet for a figure whose cricket was so embedded in the now, the terms in which Waugh is usually understood are deeply traditional. No sooner had he appeared on the scene than Bill O'Reilly was describing him as Stan McCabe reincarnate; he became known for his friendships with past masters Hunter Hendry and Bill Brown. When he made his first real impact as a Test batsman 20 years ago in England, the praise was for his model technique, of a purity no local batsman could emulate. When he came to the Test captaincy a decade ago, he was lauded for his regular appeals to the past, and an almost demagogic espousal of the cult of the baggy green. Even in articulating the doctrine of "mental disintegration", Waugh was seen as following time-honoured Australian mores: he was the old-fashioned indefatigable Aussie who did not give up a chip of a bail, while expecting what happened on the field to stay there.

His career knew torrid times. There was the claimed catch of Brian Lara in April 1995, for which, as he put it, he was "carved up" by the likes of Michael Holding and Viv Richards. There was the manipulation of the points system in the World Cup a decade ago, in an attempt to progress the West Indies at New Zealand's expense, after which Waugh famously explained: "We're not here to win friends, mate." Nor did he shore up relations with the media when he muttered, less famously but more pithily, that his press conference inquisitors were a "bunch of cockheads".

Yet this was a rare dropping of the guard: for a cricketer who played so ruthlessly, and whose team was wont to push the line of acceptable aggression, his career had few personal black marks. He never transgressed the ICC Code of Conduct himself, and was once even its beneficiary. Ian Healy's suspension in South Africa in March 1997 smoothed his path to the vice-captaincy. A stroll through the index of his magnum opus, Out of My Comfort Zone (2005), underlines how seldom he became part of public disputes. One lights hopefully on "moped incident, Bermuda", only to find it refers to minor hijinks at the end of the 1991 Caribbean tour rather than being Australian cricket's secret Pedalogate.

Off the field, in fact, Waugh maintained an almost sunken profile. In person quite a shy and self-effacing man, he was instrumental in welcoming wives into the Australian team's fold as a kind of civilising influence, receiving the phone call that offered him the Australian captaincy while watching Sesame Street with his daughter. When Shane Warne publicly dissed Adam Gilchrist's leadership aspirations by philosophising that a captain should be more like the Fonz than Richie Cunningham, it was possible to fit Steve Waugh into the scenario as a kind of Howard Cunningham, all rumpled integrity, paternal wisdom and comfortable domesticity.

In person quite a shy and self-effacing man, he was instrumental in welcoming wives into the Australian team's fold as a kind of civilising influence, receiving the phone call that offered him the Australian captaincy while watching Sesame Street with his daughter

Speaking of Howards, the period of Waugh's ascendancy in Australia was encompassed by the prime ministership of John of that ilk, self-styled "cricket tragic" who cheerfully acknowledged himself the most conservative leader his conservative party had ever had. Waugh was not an exact fit with this period. He welcomed the compulsive innovator John Buchanan into his team's inner circle; he sought, with a touch of the New Age guru, to "get to know the guys as human beings and not just cricketers". As his fame grew, and he was compelled to become a public figure, he became as famous for exchanging words with Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela as he did with Curtly Ambrose, putting his reputation to use in a variety of philanthropic works on the subcontinent.

Yet in an age of compulsive extraversion, Waugh cut a taciturn, even an inhibited figure on the field, lean, dour and unsmiling, to complaints about which he retorted: "If you're in your office trying to work, do you smile all the time?" Instead of flamboyance, the keynote of Waugh's captaincy was continuity. He existed, even in an age of abundance, as a reminder of harder, leaner days in Australian cricket, the last of his generation to have an Ashes defeat on his conscience. He pressed also to create "new" traditions, having a special cap minted for the first Test of the 2000s modelled on the cap worn in the first Test of the 1900s, involving himself in the manufactured memorabilia industry as a shareholder in the firm Blazed in Glory.

Nor was it just the surname that lent his leadership a martial air. His Tests were frontal assaults, carefully plotted, relentlessly executed. No captain to lead their country in more than ten Tests has a higher proportion of wins or a lower proportion of draws. He believed in rank, in esprit de corps, even in the power of a uniform, embodied in his storied cap, so distinctive in an era of helmets and sunhats. His nationalism was of the same unselfconscious, celebratory if sometimes defensive character that flourished during the 11 years of John Howard's premiership. "I'd like to see Australian people own more of Australia and not sell it all off to overseas companies and corporations," he told an interviewer 15 years ago. "It seems to me that the Japanese own half of Queensland - that's one thing I'd like to see changed." But if all the John Williamson songs and odes to the Southern Cross sometimes seemed contrived, nor were they easily imitable. Waugh initiated the numbering of players' headgear and attire, inviting eminent past players to hand new caps over to Test debutants, beginning with Bill Brown's welcome to Adam Gilchrist 10 years ago. England have tried something similar, but watching Nasser Hussain hand Jonathan Trott his new lid at The Oval was, quite clearly, qualitatively different. Taking his team-mates to Gallipolli sat more naturally with Waugh than with any other leader; when England dropped in on Flanders last year, it looked phoney even before Andrew Flintoff elected to drink for his country.

That old cap means the world to Steve Waugh, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne, 5th day, December 30, 2003
Waugh's baggy green: also an Australian symbol William West / © AFP

Quite why Waugh reinforced his captaincy with so many props and symbols is an intriguing psychological question. Some saw it as self-promotion; even now, Waugh has a quiet caucus of detractors in Australian cricket, who see him as out primarily for number one. Waugh himself has answered to the charge: "Life as a full-time professional teaches you to be selfish in many ways." Yet a personal suspicion is that Waugh coveted the captaincy before quite grasping what it entailed, and as a self-contained man found it at first an uneasy fit. The activities and artefacts with which he surrounded his leadership were a means of distributing the burden; he could thereby make himself less an individual, more the representative of a lineage.

Waugh was famous for his diaries and his photographs. Both can act as means of ordering and controlling experiences, putting a comforting distance between the act and the observer. Sport, of course, is replete with ego, and Waugh could not have competed without a sizeable one. But his wife Lynette, who writes as perceptively of her husband as anyone, has noted: "Stephen has never - even as a baby, I'm told - liked a lot of attention." And it's telling, I think, how swiftly and completely Waugh has receded in public consciousness since that final, rather fevered farewell season six years ago; not for him the love of and comfort in the limelight of his most eminent contemporary, Shane Warne. "Treasure", of course, is something proverbial tucked away, not necessarily recognised as such, even when in plain sight. In this sense, the National Trust truly knew its man.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2010, 12:03 GMT)

@ Alfredmynn :totally agree with you...just needed to add one thing...TheOnlyEmperor is not here to annoy only the aussies but to annoy the whole fraternity of Cricinfo viewers irrespective of their nationality...its like making a 5 year old understand the importance of understanding

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (November 18, 2010, 11:51 GMT)

My memory of Waugh is a purely subjective one that whenever England looked like they were getting somewhere against Australia, he (or his brother) would get a score and take it away from them. I suspect if I researched the specifics, the scorecards would bear this out, but arguably that is not the point. Interesting that Biggus puts quite so much of the blame for the "moral decline" of cricket at his door - it certainly contrasts with the excellent Colin MacDonald. Is he a Legend? Depends how broad the category is going to be. He might be a bit of a borderline one,but ESPN is going to be more inclined to have legends with lots of footage than the like of Spofforth.

Posted by UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on (November 18, 2010, 11:13 GMT)


Posted by gandabhai on (November 17, 2010, 21:33 GMT)

,You just dropped the world cup ' !!

Posted by Lekson on (November 17, 2010, 12:14 GMT)

A tough cricketer who never gave up his wicket easily.Not impressed with the mental disinteragation rubbish though.His batting style wasn't pretty watch and Mark Waugh was certainly a more exciting and entertaining cricketer.Australia in their terrible state could do him now though.

Posted by alfredmynn on (November 17, 2010, 1:37 GMT)

@TheOnlyEmperor, nobody is "attacking" or "aiming comments at" you; it's not even possible, for you are anonymous. It's a fact that many posters find your posts content-free and arrogant; you interpret that as an attack. Take your prescription of 10 for the length of a Legends list. Why shouldn't someone else admit a larger number, like 20 or 100? You like to sound logical but make either trivial or arbitrary statements. If you're saying that Steve is not a legend in your book, that's trivial. If you are saying that Steve shouldn't be a legend in anyone's book, that's arbitrary & arrogant, for others need not agree with your 'legends rules' (feel free to disagree, but you seem to have one rule for sure: no Aussies. Given that you like stats so much, surely you must know that Aus have the best w/l ratio, and so are statistically the strongest test side over the game's history?) So what was your point, other than trying to annoy Aussie posters?

Posted by   on (November 17, 2010, 0:45 GMT)

A great cricketer, good human being and a fighter. People say that in 80`s and 90`s there were 4 allrounders (Imran, Hadlee, Kapil & Botham) but they forget that Steve was also their, although had to leave bowling because of his back injury. But the thing that stands out for Steve Waugh is the same with Imran, is the ability to not only perform themselves but make their team worldbeaters and teach them that game is not lost till the last ball. Both did not liked giving their opponents things in a plate.

Posted by BillyCC on (November 16, 2010, 21:12 GMT)

KBowser, that's an excellent point which seems to have been missed. Biggus, I agree with you, during that time, Steve Waugh's team lost a lot of Aussie and global fans.

Posted by pom_basher on (November 16, 2010, 15:38 GMT)

Well, after registering a strong objection to previous cricket legend (?) Barry Richards and also to quite a few articles from Mr Haigh, If feel it my duty to say that I agree with most of this article and must say that Steve was a true legend. He may not have been the most talented, most successful or the most beutiful batsmen around, and I must say that there have been quite a few better than him, but the package called Steve Waugh was more than the sum of the spare parts. A truely great cricketer!

Posted by riteshjsr on (November 16, 2010, 13:01 GMT)

One of my all time favorite cricketers. Personification of the phrases 'grit', ' mental toughness', 'crisis man', and 'never say die'. I remember a commentator once said on air, "If I had to pick somepne to bat for my life, it would be Steve Waugh". That century against SA in the 1999 World Cup is one of the best innings I have ever watched in my entire life. With Steve Waugh at the crease, you could never say that the match is over; no matter many runs were required to win. He was an expert at shepherding the tail, a skill not many cricketers are good at. The only other cricketer that comes to mind is probably VVS Laxman. Hats off to Steve Waugh! Truly a Legend of the game.

Posted by KBowser on (November 16, 2010, 10:47 GMT)

For those arguing about who should/shouldn't be in the list of Legends - everyone has their own opinions, but the ESPN Legends List was created almost 10 years ago and that is what these videos represent. As a result Adam Gilchrist and Muttiah Muralitharan were not (are not) in it. If you go to the Cricinfo World XI page you will see 10 video profiles there - one for each of the team apart from Adam Gilchrist. Maybe they will do a video for him also, but he wasn't in that original ESPN list. As for Waugh not making the Aussie all-time list - there are plenty of great Australian and West Indian players who didn't make those teams. I would back Garner, Roberts, Hall, Lindwall, Thomson, Walsh, Hughes, McDermott, Gillespie, McKenzie in against Srinath (who did make the Indian team) or any pace bowler from Sri Lanka or NZ (apart from Hadlee). Similarly Steve Waugh's batting would put him into many of ther other World XI teams outside of Australia and West Indies.

Posted by Biggus on (November 16, 2010, 10:45 GMT)

@The Only Emperor-Please give us your definitive list of cricket legends, if that's not too much to ask.

Posted by Biggus on (November 16, 2010, 7:47 GMT)

@Meety-The issue I have with the Waugh version of 'Mental Disintegration' is that it relies on persistent nasty verbal sniping which I personally find distasteful. These other examples of 'Mental Disintegration' that you refer to are merely batting or bowling your opponents out of the game, which after all is what cricket is all about and rely on high levels of cricket related skills. As far as I am aware being prepared to use abuse as a way to take wickets is not a recognised cricket skill. The captain of a cricket team is, as I'm sure you are aware, responsible for his player's behaviour. Their actions are therefore also his, as by not acting to curb them he is condoning them. I'm surprised that a guy who made such a big thing about respect for traditions couldn't see the irony in his team's recourse to methods which the old-timers would certainly have found repugnant.I am aware how unpopular my sentiments are among younger Aussies. To me, 'Win at all costs' is an ugly philosophy.

Posted by interloper75 on (November 16, 2010, 7:45 GMT)

TheOnlyEmperor actually has a point - what constitutes a legend? In Australian cricket, Stan Mcabe, Fred Spofforth and even Eddie Gilbert are 'legends'. So is Doug Walters. None of them make the 'best ever' sides, but they are still legends of the game, because stories about them still abound.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (November 16, 2010, 7:25 GMT)

@ Comments aimed AT me : 1: When you aim comments AT the poster, you have obviously no point to make. 2: Yeah, some CRICKETING legend, when Steve couldn't even make it to the Aussi All Time XI list. 3: EVEN if he is to be seen as an Aussi legend, that doesn't necessarily qualify Steve as a CRICKETING legend.

Posted by Meety on (November 16, 2010, 5:46 GMT)

@ TheOnlyEmperor - typical sad comment. Unlike the other members of the 10,000 run club (Gavaskar excepted), Border & Waugh faced the WIndies during their dynasty, Border was robbed a few centuries by playing in a fragile batting line up. Border & waugh were great for reasons that extend beyond statistics. @Copernicus - I half agree re: Mundine - he's very devisive, some great attributes mixed with a fair dose of BS! @Samarakoon - right on Brother! @Peter Bourke - well said! @Biggus - I think "mental disintegration" existed a long time ago, particularly in Timeless Tests. England getting to something like 5/900 and then declaring once they knew the Don was out goes close. There other instances, I think Waugh funnelled it into a "Mantra". I also think the WIndies used it during the 80s, with 4 bouncers an over!

Posted by VipulPatki on (November 16, 2010, 5:37 GMT)

I don't know why are we even arguing with TheOnlyEmperor. Just the other day, people were questioning Barry Richards's greatness. Ironical that, after landing on cricinfo, these people don't know where to check up facts before commenting.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 5:31 GMT)

The inimmitable S Waugh. He is not only a treasure for the Australians, but to the whole cricketing fraternity.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (November 16, 2010, 5:28 GMT)

@ All those mortals attacking me instead of my points: Let me explain the larger point made... There have been a lot of great batsmen / bowlers / fielders / wicketkeepers/ all rounders / captains in the history of cricket these 120+ years. The cricinfo shortlist for choosing the World - A and B teams is evidence enough and even that left out a few notables - including Steve Waugh who didn't grace even the Aussi-11 for the cut.Without diminishing or taking away anything away from Steve's own merit as a player and captain, I simply state that he doesn't make the cut for the "legends", especially IMO the legends list shouldn't exceed 10. Calibration : Good -> Great -> LEGEND!

Now that cricinfo has decided on the 11 best for the A side, it would be nice to restrict them to the legends list. That's my POV just as all of you hold yours. Aside: By the time Kallis retires, he's going to make a lot of "cricketing experts" look like idiots for ignoring his achievements. Mark my words.

Posted by interloper75 on (November 16, 2010, 5:08 GMT)

Remember that Steve Waugh began his career as an all-rounder. Had he not been picked for this role, he wouldn't have been kept as a batsman. Can anyone name another specialist batsman (other than Bobby Simpson) who played more than 25 tests before scoring a maiden hundred?

Posted by knowledge_eater on (November 16, 2010, 3:53 GMT)

I think he was the greatest Australian Captain. Sorry IC I have to disagree with you know. Because it is absolutely not easy handle talent puking young Australian cricketers in one dressing room on the field or out side the field. I think he is among the greatest Australia's Proudest possession. ooohhh of course I want to learn his slog sweep, no-one can play that shot better than him. What a legend. Once in generation. Peace

Posted by nlambda on (November 16, 2010, 2:26 GMT)

I am Indian and have admired Waugh since 1987. His 200* against WI in 1995 and 120* against SA in the 1999 WC are among the "great" knocks of all time. The 7 match winning streak in the '99 cup Waugh inspired was even more remarkable than the one Pak strung together in 1992. Waugh was not a great batsman technically but sheer determination to not get out enabled him to withstand difficult bowling attacks and difficult tracks. If SRT had his determination he would have averaged 99.94!

Posted by ATrueLegend on (November 16, 2010, 0:14 GMT)

According to me, Steve Waugh should be in any list, for his attitude to fight when chips are down. He was real fighter and one of the player, I would like to watch in matches when things were going tough. Even being played at no 5 or 6, he has more than 30 test centuries, which indicate how much he would have resisted after top order collapse. If I had time machine, I would go back and watch all those matches live. I am Indian and I feel how much we lack this never say die attitude in our cricketer and sportsperson in general. His was one attitude I would like to have in myself in my life. He is an all-time hero for me. I followed him since late 80s and he has always been in my top 3 list of cricketers. His philanthropy towards homeless kids in India, is the way a celebrity figure like him should follow. He must have won many hearts by his philanthropic attitude.

Posted by CustomKid on (November 15, 2010, 23:31 GMT)

@waspsting I'm a massive, massive fan of SR Waugh and maybe a little one eyed in my views on his style. People say his technique was ugly but i totally disagree. He would have to have one of the best back foot drives in the game, and his cut shot was awesome (brutal even). I also think that his work off his pads from the mid 90's through square weren't all that bad either. They weren't like D Martyn or M Waugh but I've seen worse than SRW.

Anything in his driving zone was also pretty good on the eye. His ability to drive with huge power with nothing more than a defensive push were awesome to watch and again great on the eye.

Perhaps his defence was a little awkward at times to the short ball, plus his first move on to the back foot, but again I always thought he had a great high elbow on the forward or back ward defence.

Again I'm probably biased. If you haven't seen his debut test ton I highly recommend you find a copy. You wont see better style or grace from 89.

Posted by BillyCC on (November 15, 2010, 22:21 GMT)

The Only Emperor, most of your posts belong in the laundry list. Now to answer your question, what makes Steve Waugh remarkable? You're clearly not satisfied with the runs, average or centuries per test. Of course, I wouldn't expect you to be. You don't understand much about batting in cricket and that it's harder to score more heavily when you bat at 5 or 6 throughout your entire career. How about two world cup wins, one as captain winning all those sudden death matches in a row, and one as the premier all rounder in 1987? For me, the remarkable point which will be remembered about Steve Waugh was the attitude to winning, which has not replicated since his retirement. This attitude carried through to his batting as well, and for a period of time when Australia's top order was shaky, Waugh would turn scores of 3/80 into scores of 350 to 400. Waugh would try to win from any situation, and in so doing, he would also lose some matches. He is every bit a Sehwag when it comes to captaincy.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2010, 21:35 GMT)

Steve was a great cricketer. Can't understand someone would say he's not worthy of a place in the legends series. The thing with Steve is that the majority of his time was spent batting at 5 and 6, where he scored 30 of his centuries. He would score when the top order had not put on big scores, and he would marshall the tail expertly. To the emporer, I don't understand how someone with over 10000 runs can be unimpressive. The feat of scoring that many runs is remarkable, partiularly as a middle order batsmen, not a top order player like Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Lara, Ponting, Dravid, or Kallis. @natmastak, laughable suggestion that he was surrendering Aussie dominance to India. If I recall correctly, since that series Aus beat India in India, won 2 more World Cups, Champions Trophy, an Ashes series 5-0, another record equalling streak of wins. Only the last 2 years have seen India's dominance and Australia's fall. But back to the focus of the article - Steve Waugh, thank you, you legend!

Posted by   on (November 15, 2010, 21:34 GMT)


There is no one more deserving of being called a legend than SR Waugh. He was/is an example to any young kid who wants to become a cricketer. He was from an era where Australia were not the dominant force in cricket they are 5 years ago. He helped build that greatness from the ground up. Perhaps you have not seen cricket prior to the 90s to know that. He helped Australia topple WI in WI in after 23 yrs. He helped Australia win their first World Cup in 87 in the sub continent. He led an incredible fight back to win the 1999 World Cup with 7 or 8 wins in a row. Never lost an Ashes series as captain and always dug Australia out of a hole.

And you are right. No one will remember you in a 100 yrs. Everyone who knows anything about cricket will remember Waugh.

Posted by Engle on (November 15, 2010, 20:00 GMT)

Cricketers like S.Waugh and A.Border may not have had the talent of others, but they sure made up for that with tenacity and versatility. Not deemed true All-rounders, yet they could bat with the best, turn their arms over, field with flair and to top that off, lead from the front. Cricketers like these dominate the landscape of their times, make better role-models than those with god-given talent and are the movers/shakers, mentors/motivators and encapsulate the very essence of being a cricketer.

Posted by waspsting on (November 15, 2010, 19:55 GMT)

A really tough character and a very good batsman. But one of the ugliest batting styles I've ever seen - the exact opposite of "having lots of time to play the ball". Steve Waugh looked like he was rushed on every shot. But a guy you'd always want in your team, for sure. I think Australian international domination started going down after he and Mark retired, because those guys would score as many runs outside Australia as in. Even great players like Ponting, Hayden are not like that, and score considerably more on home soil.

Posted by antleredzen on (November 15, 2010, 17:08 GMT)

For 'TheOnlyEmperor' Steve Waugh is one of the great Australian cricketers, played 168 tests, averaged over 50 with 32 centuries, and 300+ ODIs. Wasnt he the leader for the record number of test victories in a row too? I guess according to your definition of a legend wouldn't include Gilchrist, Richards, Akram, Headley, Hammond? No, theyre just laundry list! I suspect the only emperor you are is of having controversial opinions.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2010, 14:02 GMT)

a great player ,all time great captain,and a great human being; definitely in my book a legend

Posted by The_Dynamite_Kid on (November 15, 2010, 12:35 GMT)

Batting used to be extremely difficult during the 90's. From 1st January, 1990 till 31st December, 1999 only 4 batsmen averaged more than 50 (among all those who played a minimum of 20 Test matches during that period), and Steve Waugh was one of them: Tendulkar = 58, Waugh = 53.10; Lara = 51.60; Gooch = 51.55

Posted by pranksters on (November 15, 2010, 12:30 GMT)

steve waugh was on of the greatest cricketers to wear cricket whites it is true that he was over shadowed by srt,bcl but when steve was young he already had dean jones ,allan border&david boon who were outstanding cricketers who always took the lead & wer shining,so it was difficult for steve to beat them & he was smart he knew his time will come he had that patience & once all of the mentioned three retired he was alset to conquer on the other hand srt,bl, never had a prolific stars in the side who wer performing when they arrived so once both arrived they had to perform& take the burden of scoring prolifically steve was elder to them hence he competed with these two& was always neck -in-neck with them dont forget the was the one who snatched & crushed the w.i test pride bt defeating them single handedly he was wearing the whites for 2 days even after the test match finished to show everyone that he was the one who has done the hard work

i still miss the upper cut

Posted by Copernicus on (November 15, 2010, 12:23 GMT)

I love Steve Waugh - growing up he was (to me at least) the embodiment of Australian cricket. Although I must pull Gideon up on one thing - Anthony Mundine is certainly not "hugely popular, widely admired". He is widely regarded as an obnoxious twat who just happens to be a good athlete.

Posted by a.mueed on (November 15, 2010, 11:14 GMT)

For "TheOnlyEmperor"... Man you are tooooo good... i wonder when was that goldem moment when you agreed with some1 else... you are surely THE ONLY EMPEROR... i urge all others to kindly writ to cricinfo guys that they should also comeup with some list like "legendary analysits" and should be like this i.) TheOnlyEmperor ii.) TheOnlyEmperor iii.) TheOnlyEmperor iv.) TheOnlyEmperor.. Bro get a life.. This game of cricket is really beautiful and has produced some real gems over the course of its history and Steven Waugh is definately one of them.. stop criticizing for the sake of criticism..

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (November 15, 2010, 11:12 GMT)

@Biggus : "168 Tests, 10927 Runs, 51.06 Average, 32 Hundreds". Of the 8 people who have scored 10000+, Border and Steve are the least impressive, when it comes to averages or centuries per test. These guys made Aus proud, but cricketing legends? No way! At best, one can have 10 cricketing greats over the past 100 years as legends. Anything more is but a laundry list. A legend by my book is a person who would be regarded as somebody absolutely remarkable, even 100 years from now.

Posted by harshthakor on (November 15, 2010, 11:10 GMT)

The best batsman in a crisis in his era.When the chips were down he had greater mental tenacity than Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara.He adapted himself on all types of wickets -from the seaming English pitches,the turning subcontinent pitches, to the bouncy South African and West Indian tracks.Instrumental in Australia being crowned Unofficial test world champions in 1995 when the West Indies were beaten for the first time since 15 years and 22 years on their own soil.His match-winning 120 in the 1999 World Cup against South Africa is the best innings I have ever seen in a world cup in a run chase.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2010, 11:09 GMT)

He's only batsman apart from Sachin(59), Lara(54), Dravid(49.9) and Ganguly(49.8) to average near 50 in the 90s. Also, statistically 90's and the 80's were the toughest period for batsman. So, he has done enough to warrant a place in the list.

Posted by Biggus on (November 15, 2010, 9:49 GMT)

@TheOnlyEmperor-Predictable as usual. Let's see....168 Tests, 10927 Runs, 51.06 Average, 32 Hundreds. O.K. Enlighten us, O Emperor! Show us the error of our ways! Tell us what the relevant criteria are to be included in a legends list. If you don't help us in this regard we will likely continue to make these egregious mistakes. We quake in your presence as we await your reply!

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (November 15, 2010, 7:14 GMT)

A Steve Waugh article in the "legends' series"? You guys must be joking.

Posted by CustomKid on (November 15, 2010, 6:23 GMT)

89 Headingly - still the best test ton I've seen. It can only be decsribed as classic - the sytle and elegance was a throw back to the 30's and 40's and all done in that baggy green cap. The follow up at Lords was almost as good. The back to back tons in 97 on the green top at Trent bridge was also a ripping knock with a damaged bottom hand. Australia were twice in all sorts of trouble but he knew how to bail them out.

Too many good knocks to recall. I hope one day Waugh will join the Australian team in a coaching mentoring roll. God knows they could used some of his toughness now.

Posted by Match_Referee on (November 15, 2010, 5:09 GMT)

Ricky Ponting is far more better batsman than Steve Waugh on any day. He can hit all the strokes what Steve can do at better strike rate and timing.

Posted by   on (November 15, 2010, 5:00 GMT)

The unfortunate thing for him was he was in the era when Lara & Sachin were at their peak. Hence, no proper recognition.

Posted by Biggus on (November 15, 2010, 4:41 GMT)

I wonder how the old-timers he so ostentatiously rubbed shoulders with felt about the era of 'mental disintegration' that he presided over. Methinks that they diplomatically skirted that one. I would have been more impressed had he reined in the behaviour of guys like Glen McGrath occasionally. Great fighter....outstanding batsman.....but as a captain?..... give me Tubby any day. Sure, there was sledging under Tubbs captaincy but Waugh's tenure took it to new highs (lows). And as for the Gallipoli god...I almost puked up! Comparing the 'battle' of test cricket with the real about delusional! Boy am I going to cop it for this post. C'est la vie.

Posted by natmastak_so-called on (November 15, 2010, 4:07 GMT)

steve ended his last inning by giving catch to SRT , it was like he was surrendering aussie dominance to this great ambassador of game.though aussie dominance didnt end sooner due to battery of great performers(except ricky),whatever aussie sportsmanship was left,surely ended with steve.thanks steve for being such a wonderful entertainer

Posted by vinjoy on (November 15, 2010, 3:38 GMT)

Steve Waugh was definitely among the best batsmen of 1990s ALONG with Lara and Tendulkar. I remember Dravid and Kallis would often say that SWaugh was the batsmen they look forward to emulate. And SADLY, whenever the best ever middle order lists are discussed, we vote for SRT, Lara, Ponting, Kallis or Dravid.. but never R Dravid. Cricketing world has forgotten this man quite easily, quite unfiarly, and quite sadly. But, I am not surprised. The way priorities are changing (in life and so in sports), the way domestic fringe players bat in 4-day matches (la uthappa, Yuvraj and others), their objective is NOT to occupy the crease (because test cricket is not on priority) but to dominate the attack (because IPL Cash machine has fuelled their aspirations in wrong direction). Finally, hats off to Steve Waugh, one of the best ever in last 30 years of game.

Posted by 114_in_final_Six_overs on (November 15, 2010, 3:27 GMT)

Great cricketer, great man! I deeply admire and respect his tenacity and will to win. One bad thing to create rotten taste in the mouth-that mental disintegration crap.

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Gideon HaighClose
Gideon Haigh Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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