Steve Waugh


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Steve Waugh

Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1989
Wisden Australia Cricketer of the Year 2000-01
Allan Border Medal 2001
Stephen Rodger Waugh (born June 2, 1965 in Canterbury, New South Wales) was the captain of the Australian Test cricket team from 1999 to 2004. He is the most experienced Test cricketer in history, making 168 appearances.
Making his debut as an all-rounder complementing his batting with aggressive medium pace, Steve came into the Australian ODI and Test teams in the summer of 1985-86 (against New Zealand and India respectively), at one of the lowest ebbs the Australian team had reached with a succession of series losses. He proved crucial in both fields in Australia's surprise win in the 1987 World Cup. At the time, he was dubbed the 'Iceman' for his cool bowling at the death, helped along by a very effective 'back of the hand' slower ball which would force the batsmen to mistime the stroke. One other aspect of Waugh's bowling was that he could bowl yorkers and bouncers with the same action, a trait he shared with Wasim Akram and Abdul Razzaq. His batting began to deliver on its promise when Australia regained the Ashes in 1989, with his first Test century finally arriving after a succession of scores in the nineties. However, a run of poor form led to his being dropped from the Australian side in 1991, to be replaced by his twin brother Mark Waugh. Waugh took over the captaincy of the one-day side in 1997-98, as planning began for the 1999 World Cup. Producing several reasonable scores in a side struggling early, Waugh saved his best for two crucial games against South Africa, scoring 120 against South Africa in the last game of the "Super Six" to ensure Australia's progression to the semi-final, and then 56 in the semi, which was tied. Upon the retirement of Mark Taylor in 1999, Waugh assumed the Test captaincy, and turned an already successful side into a dominant one that in many cricket watchers' views ranks with Sir Donald Bradman's 1948 Invincibles and the West Indian teams of the 1980s as one of the best cricket teams of all time. Steve Waugh's ruthless approach led to a succession of drubbings of hapless, outclassed opposition and a record run of 16 consecutive Test match wins, easily eclipsing the previous record of 11 by the West Indies. His 57 matches as captain is the fourth highest, and Australia's 41 victories under his leadership is the most of any Test captain. In 2001, Waugh became the sixth batsman, and second Australian after Andrew Hilditch to be given out handled the ball.
Waugh departs from the distinctly Anglocentric, ockerish, and politically conservative traditions of Australian cricket in his interest in India. Waugh helps to raise funds for a leper children's colony, "Udayan", in Calcutta. Whilst hardly a novel thing for a celebrity to do, it is highly novel for an Australian cricketer. He reportedly also encouraged his players to learn about and enjoy the countries they visited and played inpresumably partly to reduce the siege mentality of some previous Australian teams playing in south Asia, but also seemingly for a genuine desire to use cricket to build bridges. Waugh is a keen photographer and has produced several "tour diaries" which feature his images. In his latter years as a cricketer, he has written for a number of newspapers. He insists on writing them himself rather than with the assistance of professional journalists. He is also a prolific author and his ever expanding series of tour diaries and thoughts provide an insight into the mind of Steve Waugh. Recently, he has written an auto-biography called Out of my comfort zone, a book which has brought lots of controversy. Waugh was named Australian of the Year in 2004, in recognition of both his incredible sporting achievements and significant charity work. Waugh is married to Lynette with three children and was named Australian Father of the Year in 2005.

Editor: Nishanth Gopinathan.