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ACB confirms Steve’s seat for Ashes series

Melbourne: Australia’s chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns confirmed Monday that his four-man selection panel will pick the 37-year-old Steve Waugh for the remainder of the Ashes series.

That was all that the ACB has conceded so far. Because, after that, Waugh will be judged solely as a batsman and his glorious 17-year Test career could be over if he doesn’t get enough runs.

There’s the option of public adoration in announcing his retirement before the final Sydney Test in the New Year, ensuring a fitting ending to his days in the baggy green. Or there’s the more Waugh-like option of gritting his teeth and continuing as long as possible, refusing to admit defeat, refusing to let Hohns or anybody else tell him what to do.

Test pace bowler Glenn Mcgrath expects Waugh to emerge victorious. “You look through his whole career, he’s really been a fighter the whole way through,” McGrath said here Monday ahead of the Boxing Day Test. “Determination and ruthlessness are a couple of words you could say about him. He’s probably got his back up against the wall, this is probably the toughest fight of his career but the type of character he is, he’ll probably rise to the occasion.

“Ideally it would be great to see Steve come down here, put a big score on the board in Melbourne and do the same in Sydney — that would be the ideal scenario and I’m sure every player in the team would love to see him do that.”

Asked the big question, when Waugh should retire, McGrath said: “That’s a decision he’s got to make himself. He’s been a legend of the game, really. The number of times he’s really fought and brought Australia back into a game when we’ve been in trouble... I consider myself lucky to have played with a guy of his calibre.

“It would be great to see him go out on his own terms, when he wants to.”

The pressure would ensure Waugh batted with steely resolve in the last two tests, England captain Nasser Hussain said. “He’ll probably be trying to get as many runs as possible to prove people wrong,” Hussain said. “Well, so far (Waugh’s) only had (four) innings so we’ve kept him down, but he’s just one player.

“We’ve got to work out how to get a few up the order out before he comes in. His record’s pretty good against us, so I’m sure he’s got a point to prove but like I say we’re not targeting Steve Waugh, we’re just trying to gently work our way through their batting line-up.”

Waugh had no comment when he arrived here Monday with Shane Warne’s replacement Stuart MacGill, declining to speak to the media as television crews shoved microphones in front of his face and repeatedly asked questions like, “is this the end, Steve'”

He will hold a press conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground Tuesday.

Steve Waugh is not prolonging his Test career for money, according to vice-captain Adam Gilchrist.

Gilchrist on Monday rejected a claim by Hohns that Australian players were becoming reluctant to retire because of their massive pay packets. “Players are tending to play longer these days,” Hohns was quoted as saying on the weekend. “Maybe it is the amount of money they are earning.”

Waugh’s annual income from all sources tops the million-dollar mark. However, Gilchrist is adamant that continuing to collect cash has nothing to do with Waugh’s desperation to retain his Test job.

Meanwhile, Gilchrist has been cleared of his groin strain. (Agencies)

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