The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Steve groomed us all’

Sydney: Captain-in-waiting Ricky Ponting on Thursday warned India the Australian team would be highly motivated to ensure that skipper Steve Waugh left international cricket as a winner.

Waugh made for an emotional home series against Sourav Ganguly’s tourists when he announced on Wednesday that he would retire after the fourth and final Test in his hometown Sydney in January.

“It’s going to be sad... looking at the Australian batting line-up (after the series) without ‘S. Waugh’ in it,” Ponting said on Thursday.

“I must admit it’s going to be a motivating factor for me to have a big (southern) summer and the rest of the guys to make sure he goes out on the best way possible.

“This series is really going to be a celebration of what Steve has achieved over 18 years of international cricket. Sending him off on a good note is what it is all about and I know the guys will be extremely pumped to do that.”

While Waugh has endorsed one-day skipper Ponting to succeed him as Test leader, Ponting said he did not want to take anything for granted. However, he agreed observing Waugh’s methods at close hand had helped prepare him for the job.

“I think Steve has groomed us all... no doubt I have learned a lot from Steve from the way he prepares himself to the way he plays out in the middle and the way he leads the team,” he said. “If it (Test captaincy) does happen to come my way I’d like to make it a really smooth transition to make sure the things I know are important to the team will carry on.

“The time that I have had as one-day captain so far has been outstanding, I have really enjoyed the job and the team has enjoyed it with success along the way,” he said.

“If the Test captaincy comes my way I’ll be the happiest man in the world.”

Ponting said he only seriously started thinking of himself as potential Test leadership material after a glowing endorsement and a vote of confidence from Waugh early last year.

“I remember vividly one thing he said on the last tour of Zimbabwe... he made a comment there that he thought I was the future of Australian cricket,” said Ponting.

Ponting subsequently won the 2003 World Cup as Australia’s captain.

Steve NSW Australian of Year

Meanwhile, Waugh has been named the New South Wales Australian of the Year for his contribution to sports, humanitarian causes and charity.

The award means Waugh is in the running for the national Australian of the Year honour.

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