Waugh stands by Clarke’s young guns

Former Aussie captain says the team needs self-belief to come out of its lean patch.

New Delhi:
Critics believe that the current Australian batting line-up is the worst to have represented the country in the Ashes in recent times, but former Australia skipper Steve Waugh begs to differ.

As someone who saw the Australian team transform into world beaters — under Allan Border in the late 1980s — Waugh feels that the batting in the 1989 Ashes team was the worst.

“I don’t think this is the worst batting line-up. I was part of the worst batting side ever in the Ashes in 1989, but we won the Test series 4-0. There is a lot of talent in this team. Even in the first innings of this Test, we scored some 500-plus runs, so that can’t make the team the worst batting unit,” he said on the sidelines of a promotional event in the Capital.

When Mail Today enquired that if the current team has been slightly unlucky in this series — a couple of decisions went against the Australians and even the weather cost them an opportunity to come back into the series on Monday — Waugh agreed.

“Yes, they have been a bit unlucky. In my mind they have done okay. It is obviously difficult when you are in transition phase, but these guys have talent and they just need to start believing in themselves,” he said.

While someone as unorthodox as Steven Smith would find it difficult to find a place in the Australian sides in the last two decades, Waugh heaped praise on the youngster’s attitude.

“He has got real talent. I agree he plays differently, but you need different people. He is aggressive and backs himself. I like the way he plays and I think he has a good future ahead of him as he has a great cricketing brain,” the 48-year-old said.

Shane Watson’s lack of form has also hampered Australia at the start of the innings, but Waugh feels that the all-rounder is a good player and needs to be patient.

“He has got enormous talent and once he gets a hundred, he will get many more. He is frustrated, I am sure, but my advice to him would be to remain patient — something not too easy. But once he makes a breakthrough he will score a lot of runs and score many more hundreds,” he said.

With the team going through a transition phase, some of the former players have been trying to help the youngsters and Waugh too is happy to help from the sidelines.

“I am happy mentoring from the sidelines and am not looking at being a part of the support staff any time in the near future. I think that Darren Lehmann is doing a great job,” he said.

With the spot-fixing controversy hogging the limelight in the last edition of the IPL, Waugh feels that players should be made to go lie detection tests as that would stop some miscreants from spoiling the gentleman’s game.

“It’s very unfortunate when these things happen as the game of cricket gets a bad name. I think there is a need to educate the umpires and lie- detectors should be put to use. I have promoted lie-detector tests and I don’t think it’s a big issue as it is valid,” he signed off.


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