Waugh: Australia lack hunger

Steve Waugh has accused the current Australia team of lacking hunger


Steve Waugh says the current Australia side lacks the hunger that Waugh himself helped instil © Getty Images
The former Australian captain, Steve Waugh, has accused the current Australia team of lacking the hunger that helped make them the world's best side. Waugh, whose hard-nosed leadership did so much to make his side the dominant cricket team of the past decade, said the tourists had been guilty of making too many "outrageous statements" ahead of the Ashes series against England.
Before the campaign began, veteran fast bowler Glenn McGrath predicted Australia would win 5-0. But McGrath, who missed the ongoing fourth Test against England here at Trent Bridge could only watch as Australia were made to follow-on for the first time in 17 years with the hosts looking the more likely of the two teams to take a 2-1 lead going into next month's fifth and final Test at The Oval.
"They don't seem to have had the hunger normally associated with Australian cricket sides," Waugh told BBC Radio Five Live before the fourth day's play got underway Sunday.
"From Australia's point of view, there have been a few injuries, too many statements in the papers leading up to the series. Actions do speak louder than words and they need to perform on the pitch.
"I was never a big believer in making outrageous statements. Saying it is going to be 5-0 puts enormous pressure on the guys."
But Waugh did go out of his way to praise England's performance during the Tests, including Michael Vaughan's captaincy, and the work done behind the scenes by coach Duncan Fletcher as he plotted to end a run of eight successive Australian Ashes series wins.
"England have played excellent cricket and have met head on [the] challenges both on and off the field. They have called Australia's bluff during the series, and [have] certainly dominated the last couple of Tests."
"You have got to look at how England have played. They have played very good cricket. They have put a lot of pressure on [Australia]. Their bowling has been superb, their captaincy is very good and Duncan Fletcher has done a good job."
"Particularly after the first Test (which Australia won by 239 runs at Lord's), they have shown enormous resilience. The England selectors have got to be congratulated for not making wholesale changes after the first Test."
But Waugh, speaking before the dismissals of Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist and Simon Katich, said there was a way for Australia to win at Trent Bridge and so retain the Ashes. "I think there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I know from playing cricket with these guys, they are still thinking of the win from this situation."
"Two guys from Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke or Simon Katich have got to get hundreds. If they get 150 in front they will fancy themselves as having a good chance of winning."
And his summary of the match situation was endorsed by former England off-spinner John Emburey. "I will be worried if Australia do get a lead of 150. With Shane Warne to bowl, anything could happen. But England have dominated in all departments, they have been aggressive but also disciplined in that aggression," he said.
"One thing England have been in the last couple of years is resilient. They have developed a steeliness to their game, taken on Australia and played them at their own game. You have got to praise Duncan Fletcher and Michael Vaughan for the character they have shown," Emburey added.
"This could be the Test where England start to pull ahead again. England are in a dominant position at the moment and fully deserve to be in that position."