| STEVE: Not throwing in towel
Brisbane: Australia’s Test captain Steve Waugh has ended two months of speculation over his playing future by making himself available for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies.
The 37-year-old said he was motivated to continue playing Test cricket and felt he would be cheating himself if he retired after his dramatic century in the fifth Test of the Ashes series which Australia won 4-1.
“I thought about that — the perfect way to go out — but I don’t see why there can’t be another good finish somewhere down the track,” Waugh said Saturday.
Selectors will choose the squad Sunday and are expected to announce the 15-man party a day later. Waugh has told chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns he is available. “I feel I’m playing really well and if I retired now I think I would be selling myself short,” Waugh said. “I’ve weighed the pros and cons and there were more positives than negatives and I decided I really wanted to continue.”
Waugh has 29 centuries, equal with Sir Don Bradman and behind only Sunil Gavaskar (34) and Sachin Tendulkar (31). He has played 156 Tests, a world record he shares with Allan Border. He had refused since early January to make clear if he was available for the Caribbean tour which begins at the end of this month.
The 1999 World Cup-winning skipper was dropped from the one-day side a year ago and could not win a place in the World Cup squad.
Waugh’s decision was applauded by Ricky Ponting, Australia’s one-day captain and the Test captain-in-waiting.
Ponting had said he expected Waugh to keep playing because “he’s probably the best batsman in the country at the moment.”
“It’s great Stephen has decided to play on,” Ponting said Saturday. “At the end of the Australian summer, the players were adamant he should keep going, particularly with the way he finished off the Ashes series.
“Since we’ve been overseas we have seen what good touch he is in back home. I think the whole player-group will be thrilled with his decision.” (agencies)