| STEVE: Will the Sydney Test be his last'
Sydney: Mark Waugh will be paraded around the Sydney Cricket Ground in an open-topped car during the final Ashes Test against England here next month in a belated farewell to his hometown supporters, the Australian Cricket Board said on Wednesday.
Mark’s international career finished after 128 Tests when he was not selected for the first Ashes Test.
Now speculation is mounting that the January 2-6 Sydney Test could be the last for his 37-year-old twin brother, Test skipper Steve.
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns refuses to confirm or deny the whispers in a week when Steve was left out of Australia’s 30-man preliminary squad for next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
Steve indicated this week that he wanted to play on until Australia’s tour to India in September 2004 and there are several milestones beckoning for the gritty Test cap- tain.
He is only three Tests shy of passing Allan Border (156) as the game’s most capped player and five wins away from beating West Indian Clive Lloyd for the captain with the most Test victories.
Steve is 160 runs short of becoming only the third man to pass 10,000 Test runs behind Border (11,174) and Sunil Gavaskar (10,122) and one century away from Donald Bradman’s Australian record of 29 centuries, and six away from Gavaskar’s all-time record.
But selectors have shown their hard-hearted approach in tapping players on the shoulder and saying it’s time to go.
Long-serving wicketkeeper Ian Healy was unceremoniously dumped for Adam Gilchrist three years ago before a home Brisbane Test against Pakistan and Mark Waugh was told his time was up just over a month ago.
The speculation is that Hohns will have to drop Steve. Some commentators are saying that Steve has the ideal match to bow out in Sydney, with the Ashes already secured and a home crowd to give him a rapturous farewell, but Waugh gives every indication of sticking on.