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Marsh: Steve second only to Bradman

Perth: Steve Waugh is second only to Don Bradman as the best cricketer Australia has produced, former Australian coach Geoff Marsh said here on Friday.

Marsh, now coach of Zimbabwe, said 38-year-old Steve has resurrected his career this year, scoring four centuries in his last eight Test innings, following calls for his retirement just eight months ago.

“I think he has to be rated as one of the best, if not the (best)... obviously Bradman stands alone, but I reckon his record speaks for itself,” Marsh said of Steve, who both made their national debuts in 1985-86.

“His captaincy record is outstanding and his performance with the bat speaks for itself. All Stephen’s (32) hundreds in Test cricket, they are all under pressure.”

The late Australian great Bradman, widely regarded as the best batsman to play the game, hit 29 centuries and averaged an unrivalled 99.94 in 52 Tests.

Steve is Test cricket’s most capped player. The right-hander has hit 10,521 runs in 162 Tests at an average of 51.07 including 32 centuries, second only to former India captain Sunil Gavaskar’s 34.

Steve, Test cricket’s most successful captain, is only 653 runs behind the highest run-scorer in Test history, Allan Border, and is on target to overhaul his old skipper’s mark in the next 12 months with home series against Zimbabwe (two Tests), India (four Tests) and Sri Lanka (two Tests).

Marsh said he wasn’t surprised Steve was still leaving his mark on the game some 18 years after first playing Test cricket.

“Stephen’s such a competitor, he loves the game of cricket and he’s so determined to keep going,” Marsh said of Steve, whose Test batting average is back above 50 this year. “He enjoys the captaincy, he enjoys winning and he enjoys the team.”

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