PERTH, Feb 23 AAP - Test opener Justin Langer says captain Steve Waugh is a "clown" if he doesn't tour the West Indies after leading NSW to a crushing ING Cup final win today.
The 37-year-old's late season batting blitz catapulted the Blues to their third straight domestic one-day title with a seven-wicket victory over Western Australia at the WACA Ground.
Chasing a modest 208 for victory, the skipper demolished the WA bowling attack, smashing 88 off just 55 balls with 16 fours and a six.
For a man still weighing up his international future, it was a massive statement as he guided the Blues to 3-211 off 26.5 overs in 111 minutes.
Carrying a hamstring injury into the match, the elder Waugh twin took up a stand and deliver approach and smashed 18 runs in the 26th over off Brad Williams before being caught behind down the leg side.
Such was the nature of his destructive knock that even a parochial Perth crowd handed Waugh a standing ovation after his innings came to an end.
It even brought a smile to an otherwise downcast WA skipper Langer.
"I'll give you a line about Steve Waugh, if he's not going to the West Indies, he is a clown, he is in the best form of his career," Langer said.
Meanwhile, the man himself said he just felt in the groove from the outset.
"From ball one I was seeing the ball really well, I had a good net session yesterday and felt great from the start, some days are like that," he said.
But the victory would have been even more rewarding for his partner in crime Simon Katich, who scored an unbeaten 75 off 78 balls.
The former WA player, who was heavily booed earlier in the day, carried his bat and smashed a six over square leg to bring up the winning runs.
And Waugh reserved special praise for Katich who's move across to NSW has not been as smooth as he would have liked.
"I think he just needed a push along, he is a real fighter, there is something inside of him, and he likes tough situations," Waugh said.
"And opening the batting, particularly against Western Australia, was a good challenge.
"He has got something burning inside of him which few cricketers have got, I will always back him and support him that he will eventually come out the other end because he is such a strong character."
A bumper crowd of 15,429 people watched NSW dominate the match from the opening overs before cruising to victory in emphatic style.
The Blues innings momentarily had the wobbles when tearaway Williams took the wickets of Brad Haddin (34) and Dominic Thornely (10) to be 2-62.
However as soon as Waugh hit the crease and found his stride it was a matter of when and not whether the Blues would win the match.
Paceman Stuart Clark (3-34) was man of the match after leading a lively Blues pace attack which was well supported in the field to limit WA to 207 from 49.5 overs.
Nathan Bracken (2-35) and Shawn Bradstreet (2-33) provided valuable support while the more expensive Doug Bollinger (1-44) claimed the prized scalp of ING Cup player of the summer Justin Langer.
It was left to unheralded allrounder Peter Worthington (49no from 58 balls) and Kade Harvey (44 from 70) to ensure a degree of respectability to the WA total.
Worthington, in just his third ING Cup match, showed some of his more celebrated teammates how it was done with a sensible innings after coming in at 6-101.