| Steve Waugh speaks at the launch of his book in Sydney Tuesday. Captains Diary 2002 is his tenth book. (AFP)
Sydney: Australian captain Steve Waugh is reconsidering his own future after twin brother Mark retired from international cricket on Monday after being dropped from the Test team.
As tributes to Mark’s brilliant career continued flooding in, and ordinary Australians vented their outrage at the national selectors' sudden decision, Steve was forced to reevaluate his own plans.
Steve, speaking at the launch of his latest book on Tuesday, said he still hadn’t decided when he would quit, but was certain about one thing: he wanted to decide his own fate.
“It’s in my own hands when I’m going to finish,” he said. “I don’t want someone to say, ‘I think your time’s up’.”
Media commentators in Australia have speculated that Steve could pull up stumps as soon as the final Ashes Test in January, bowing out in a blaze of glory at his home ground in Sydney. If, as expected, he plays in all five matches in the series, he would equal Allan Border’s world record of 156 Test appearances. If Australia win the series, he would become the only player to feature in eight successful Ashes campaigns.
But Steve, who scored an unbeaten century against Pakistan in his most recent Test innings to show his batting skills have not diminished, said he hasn’t ruled out continuing for another season. “I haven't put a date on when I’m going to finish,” he said.
“I don't know if it’s going to be this season or next season. I just want to continue playing well.”
Tributes to Mark
Meanwhile, Australia’s cricket-loving Prime Minister John Howard led another wave of tributes to Mark.
Taking time out from a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders in Mexico, Howard said Mark was an elegant batsman who had made a great contribution to Australian cricket.
“He’s probably one of the two or three most elegant batsmen I have ever seen,” Howard told Australian radio. “He’s had a very long career as an Australian player and I thank him for what he has put into Australian cricket.”
Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne said he would miss Mark when he walks out to play in next week’s first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
“It’s hard for me because Mark’s been one of my best mates,” Warne said. “It’s going to be quite sad when he’s not in Brisbane.”
Most ordinary Australians were angered by the decision to drop Mark from the Test team, with talkback radio programs and newspaper letter columns dominated by criticism of the four-man selection panel.
“The ACB selectors have done it again. They have robbed us of farewelling one of our greats,” one disgruntled reader wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald. “It feels like the day JFK was shot,” wrote another