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Selectors deny secret Steve deal

Sydney: Cricket Australia on Friday ridiculed Australian media reports which claimed a secret deal had been struck between the selectors and Steve Waugh who was ‘guaranteed’ a Test spot in the home series this summer in return for an honourable exit.

Trevor Hohns, chairman of selectors, termed suggestions by former captain Mark Taylor that the panel struck a deal with Waugh guaranteeing him selection for the India series if he were to retire at the end of it as “ridiculous”.

“Steve (Waugh) himself has always said he doesn’t expect any guarantees and we don’t give anybody any guarantees about their place in the Australian cricket side,” Hohns was quoted as saying by Foxsports.

“What we can guarantee now is to do our utmost to make sure Steve goes out the way he wants to,” said Hohns, who denied Waugh’s retirement removed for the selectors the job of deciding on his future.I did not think that hard decision was there yet. Look at his form, his form was outstanding (in the last 12 months).”

Waugh’s predecessor Taylor, writing a syndicated column in an Australian daily, said 38-year-old Waugh’s decision to retire at the end of the fourth Test against India at his home ground of Sydney, might not have been completely his own.

“I get the feeling there has been a little guarantee given to him by the selectors that if you are going to announce your retirement in Sydney, we can guarantee you a spot in the side until that time,” Taylor wrote.

Hohns admitted he was surprised by Waugh’s announcement but denied the selectors played a role in his decision. Neither did he feel the prolonged national debate over his Test place was an influence on the 164-Test veteran’s decision.

“There has been some innuendo about that but that is a ridiculous thing to even contemplate,” he said.

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