The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gooch takes up cudgels for Steve

Sydney: Steve Waugh is playing well enough to continue playing Test cricket, former England captain Graham Gooch said here on Thursday.

Gooch, who was 41 when he retired from first-class cricket, said the 37-year-old Steve would know when it was time to retire. And while the fifth Ashes Test, which got underway at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday, may be Steve’s last, Gooch said the 156-Test veteran had the form to continue playing.

“I think he is still playing well enough, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Gooch told Australian Associated Press. “If you want anyone to go out and bat for your life down at number five or six as the Test match progresses, he’s the man to do that job.”

Gooch said while the best time to introduce new players was when a team was playing well, it should not be done at the expense of an older player who was still performing.

“If you’re performing well enough to stay in the team, then age shouldn’t be a consideration,” he said. “If it becomes a bit of a toss up between the younger guy and the older guy because of form and whatever, then you’re always going to go for the younger guy, aren’t you because he’s got more of a future.”

While Steve says he doesn’t know whether to retire or play on, Gooch believed he would recognise when to pull up the stumps. “I think it’s up to the individual, he knows how he’s playing,” Gooch said.

Steve equalled Allan Border’s record of maximum (156) Test appearances when he led his team into the field in the fifth Ashes Test Thursday. He has already become the most successful Australian Test captain of all time with 33 wins in 44 Tests.

Border held the earlier Australian record of 32 wins in 95 matches. West Indies great Clive Lloyd holds the world record of most Test wins as captain — 36 in 74.

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