As a captain he was one of the best in his time. He led Australia to their famous 1999 World Cup win and was instrumental in the team dominating Test cricket for close to a decade. Steve Waugh was a leader par excellence and is still considered one of the best captains in Test cricket.
Hence, his appointment as the mentor of the Australian Test team for the upcoming 5-match Ashes series in England has been received warmly by the Australian fans. Waugh was the last Australian captain to win the Ashes in England – back in 2001 – and it would be interesting to see how his valuable experience and inputs can help the current team.
Recently, the Australian selectors seem determined to get their country’s former legends hone and mentor the current team. Ricky Ponting was hired to mentor the Australian team in the recently concluded World Cup. The results showed as Ponting’s guidance did help the team in being the second on the points table in the league stage and progressing to the semi-finals.
Now with Steve Waugh mentoring the Test side, the Australian fans would hope that he can pass on his best knowledge to this spirited bunch to achieve glory.
Other former Australian greats have welcomed this news and believe it is a step in the right direction. Shane Warne, who has had an ugly war of words with Waugh in recent times, too lauded the news. “Steve Waugh was a terrific cricketer – he’ll add a lot to the squad,” Warne told a local Australian news site. “Getting ex-players who were greats of the game … is always going to help younger players and help the team feel better about themselves. I’m sure he’s going to pass on some good knowledge as well,” he added.
Waugh featured in nine Ashes series in his career and collected 3173 runs in them at a superb average of 58.75. He lost only one Ashes series he was a part of – his debut one in 1986-87. Clearly, the man knows how to do well in an Ashes series and even win one on English soil.
As a captain, Waugh was calm and quiet and yet always shrewd and calculating. Expect much the same from Waugh, the mentor. He would have quietly studied and analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the current English side and would have planned on how to break them. England appeared jaded in the ongoing Test against Ireland, perhaps as a hangover after their World Cup 2019 victory. Waugh would have noticed this and would have already planned how to exploit it by his players.
Australian captain Tim Paine is thrilled at having the guidance of Waugh by his side in such an important series. He stressed that along with coach Justin Langer, he had wanted the previous Australian legends by their side and Steve Waugh was certainly one of them.
It remains to be seen how the Ashes 2019 goes but it will indeed be fascinating to see a former legend of the game like Steve Waugh in this new role. If he can bring out his best thinking cap once again, Waugh might well help Australia to a memorable Ashes glory this summer.