Sydney: Prime Minister John Howard led the nation in saluting Steve Waugh after the Australian Test captain announced on Wednesday he will quit cricket after the home series versus India.
The following are reactions from teammates, former teammates, coach, administrators and the PM:
DAVID BOON: I feel very sad. A player who has been magnificent for Australia and truly deserves the word greatness put beside his name, has retired from the game. It’s a very sad loss for Australian cricket and indeed world cricket.
JOHN BUCHANAN: He’s left a significant imprint not only on Australian cricket, I guess world cricket and even Australian society. He is going to be revered as one of the great leaders of Australian cricket and Australian sport.
ADAM GILCHRIST: I’m not saying players before him didn’t play with pride and value it, but he’s the main driver behind that passion and the aura of the baggy green (cap).
JASON GILLESPIE: He’s a fantastic leader, he leads by example and backs his players. You probably can’t ask for much more out of a captain.
KIM HUGHES: When you think of Steve Waugh, you think of toughness, competitiveness, positiveness, never giving up, of that Anzac spirit. I think he’s taken cricket to another level, he’s not just a cricketer but a statesman.
IAN HEALY: It (Waugh’s announcement) did catch me by surprise. He had been leading us all to believe that he’ll be going to India (next year) and normally he has the tenacity to follow those predictions out. While I say it was surprising, I certainly accept it and support the decision. He is a guy who thrives when the battle is at its hardest, and tremendously loyal. He was at the crease for the right reasons and loved it when the action was at its hottest. He was one of five or six senior players to put their reputations on the line to stand up to the Australian board in 1997.
JOHN HOWARD: He’s been a wonderful captain, a wonderful batsman, a gritty, determined competitor. His colleagues and opponents respect his great determination and tenacity, and I think he’s made a wonderful contribution… I salute him and I know all cricket lovers feel the same. It’s a momentous day for Australian cricket.
JAMES SUTHERLAND: Steve has been an ornament to the game and Australian cricket is certainly better for the outstanding contribution he has made to it for more than 18 years.
I know Australian fans will be grateful for the opportunity to personally bid him farewell as he plays around Australia this summer.
His courage, leadership and ability to perform at a high level under extreme pressure will ensure that he will be remembered as one of Australia’s greatest cricketers.
MARK TAYLOR: There are tough moments as a player. I think Steve Waugh is one of those players who’s had very few of those though. He’s had a great career, he’s been a wonderful performer for Australia, and I think he’ll look back on those moments rather than the bad ones.
MARK WAUGH: I knew about eight o’clock this morning when Stephen rang me, when I was in bed actually. He said ‘I’m retiring from cricket and no one else knows yet apart from (wife) Lynette.’ I was fairly certain he would go to India and retire after that series.