The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Homesickness may be a hurdle: Steve

Sydney: Australian Test captain Steve Waugh has said that “homesickness” could prove a major hurdle during his side’s tour of the West Indies starting next week.

“Realistically they (the World Cup players) haven’t had a lot of cricket so I don’t think tiredness will be a factor. It’s more the homesickness factor and being away from Australia. That’s the toughest thing to overcome,” Steve was quoted as saying on an Australian website on Friday.

Steve and opener Justin Langer were the two senior players who were not part of the World Cup-winning Australian team in South Africa.

“They haven’t played a lot of cricket in South Africa and when you’ve got downtime you tend to think about things more often and that will be the biggest hurdle for the side to get over.”

The four-Test and seven one-dayers will challenge the stamina and mental strength of the players during one of the longest campaigns in Australian cricket history. “They’re going to be overseas for four months straight. It’s been very continuous and a lot of the guys in the side now have family so the dynamics of the team have changed,” Steve said.

Steve also cautioned his teammates against taking the West Indians lightly. Australia won the last Test series between the two sides, crushing the West Indies 5-0 at home in 2000-01.

“The West Indies are one of the few sides in world cricket which are on the up,” Steve said. “They went through a tough phase for a few years. They’ve rebounded fairly well and they seem to be more together.

The 15-man squad flies out of Sydney on Monday.

Gillespie back at nets

Meanwhile, Jason Gillespie bowled 18 deliveries at a net session on Friday before saying he had overcome a heel injury and would be fit for the tour, says a report from Adelaide.

“Everything seemed to go well, it felt good and positive,” the fast bowler said. “Clinically my leg is fine now. The strength is getting back and just to have a bowl felt really good. (Agencies)

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