| A file picture of Steve Waugh with wife Lynette during their last visit to Calcutta
Calcutta: Even as cricket prepares for life without the redoubtable Steve Waugh, a blueprint is in place to keep his aura growing.
According to manager Robert Joske — the only non-family member consulted on the retirement issue — Steve will be provided “maximum exposure” on the most appropriate platform(s).
Significantly, while January 6 will be his last appearance (versus India, on home turf Sydney) with the Baggy Green, Steve will continue with New South Wales till the 2003-2004 season ends in March.
“I’ve been flooded with invitations for lectures and so on… In fact, a minute before your call, I took one from the US for public speaking… There’s so much else to do as well,” Joske told The Telegraph on Thursday.
[The manager, by the way, is much in demand as Australia’s Test captain has “decided” not to interact with the Fourth Estate till the mandatory Media conference on the eve of next week’s Brisbane match.]
For one, Steve has (in principle) been offered the anchor’s role in a 13-episode weekly programme to be telecast on Nine Network. The icon, though, must first get his ‘pilot’ cleared.
“Details will be announced once the ‘pilot’ is approved… Of course, it’s reasonable to assume that cricket will figure in a big way. Having said that, the episodes won’t just be about one sport,” Joske informed, when contacted on his cellphone.
Given that Steve is a pretty prolific writer, another bestseller is on the card. Actually, it’s a “priority.”
Extending his “excellent relationship” with sponsors (MRF and AMP Sanmar, for example) is also a priority.
As the manager put it: “Steve is contracted to make periodic visits to India and that’s not going to change. If anything, India will now see more of him…”
Obviously, Steve is going to find time for trips to Calcutta and Udayan. Indeed, soon he should be more involved with Ashray, a home for daughters of leprosy sufferers. This project, it may be recalled, is independent of his Udayan commitment.
Moreover, having formally been appointed his country’s tourism ambassador, Steve will remain “Australia’s face in India.”
The manager, however, clarified no visits have been planned to specifically support the Australian Tourism Commission drive. “My understanding is that the trips will coincide with commitments towards sponsors,” he pointed out.
Asked about Steve’s body- language in the hours immediately after his (retirement) announcement on Wednesday, Joske replied: “Oh, he was looking ahead positively… He felt strong (mentally) and quite liked the Media response… Above everything else, he is happy that he is going out on his terms — against a team he admires…”
Not that a confirmation was needed, but Joske did emphasise Steve’s decision was “carefully thought of.”
It wouldn’t have been his if it wasn’t so.