| Steve Waugh plays policeman at Udayan Wednesday. Picture by Amit Datta
Calcutta: Only the other day, Australian coach John Buchanan said there won’t be any let-up against Bangladesh, even though he acknowledged that, sub-consciously, there was that bit about playing the minnows of Test cricket.
However, skipper Steve Waugh set to rest speculation of any slackness in the team’s attitude.
“I don’t think motivation will be a problem. Playing for Australia is enough motivation. I don’t think there should be any need for motivation when playing for your own country,” he said at Udayan on Wednesday afternoon.
“Whenever we play a new country, it’s always an exciting experience. Anytime you play a new country it is a new challenge. Playing at new venues will also be thrilling,” he explained.
That Bangladesh have an abysmal Test record hardly matters for the Australian skipper.
In the city on his fourth Udayan-related visit, Steve was also forthcoming on another raging debate — his retirement.
“Don’t know… I will keep playing as long as I’m enjoying it and as long as I want to try and improve. Cricket is still important to me. If I don’t think I can improve, there are other things to do…” was his candid remark.
Wearing a blue T-shirt and bermudas, Steve, accompanied by wife Lynette, mingled with the children at Udayan. He yielded to every demand made by the youngsters — from posing for photographs to signing autographs to playing rugby, football and cricket with them. He even enjoyed a ride on the merry-go-round with the children.
Does the satisfaction experienced at Udayan in any way match that of winning a Test match' “I love playing Test cricket and winning for Australia. It’s more important to see children grow the way they have and to see how happy they are.
“I play a small part in their happiness. I get more involvedthan the kids. It helps me grow as a person and encourage people involved in charity,” said Steve.
Steve’s passionate involvement with Udayan, home for the children of leprosy sufferers, came through very strongly.
“I consider myself very fortunate to be associated with this project. I love coming back here to see how much the children have grown. The people who work behind the scenes have been responsible for all the good work and they deserve all the recognition.”
Steve donated A $ 50,000 worth of medical aid for Udayan. The aid has been contributed by Overseas Pharmaceuticals Aid for Life (OPAL), an Adelaide-based organisation.
Lynette, on her maiden visit to Udayan, seemed thrilled by the reception and the atmosphere there. The smile never deserted her as she moved around the home. She even joined Steve and the kids in an impromptu game of football followed by drill.
“She’s loving the place, enjoying every moment of her stay. It’s a new experience for her,”said Steve.
After staying more than four hours, the couple bid Udayan a warm farewell and promised the children they would be back very soon.
Cameo ‘role’ for Steve
According to Steve’s manager Robert Joske, a film is being planned in which “Steve and Udayan will have a cameo role”.
“The script, penned by an Australian, is more or less ready,” Joske informed.