Australia rope in former captain Steve Waugh ahead of their quarter-final against Pakistan on Friday
Australia have roped in their 1999 World Cup winning captain Steve Waugh, ahead of their quarter-final clash against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on Friday. The 49-year-old joined the squad for a group dinner on Tuesday night and was seen in Australia training gear on Wednesday.
Providing more clarity on his role, the former right-hander said he was basically there to help out the guys to remain calm before the game and urge them to go out and enjoy the contest.
"Just simple stuff about how great this opportunity is and really to enjoy what's going on because sometimes you get caught up in these big tournaments and put too much pressure on yourself," Waugh said.
Recalling the thoughts that went through his and the rest of the teammate’s minds prior to the 1999 World Cup final gainst Pakistan, the New South Welshman said that the conversation revolved around why the boys had worked so hard to get to this position and also just recollect the thoughts that went through one’s minds when they first started playing the game.
“In 1999 before the World Cup final against Pakistan the last thing we said was why did we start playing cricket. When I looked back to 10 years of age, the last thing I did before I went to bed was think about how many runs I was going to score and wickets I was going to take and first thing I thought about in the morning was same thing, how am I going to go today. That's why we started playing cricket and just remember a few of those thoughts,” he said.
He further said there was good intensity on display in the training session and also spoke about the huge increase in the support staff in today’s times, as compared to his playing days.
“It was take no prisoners with the bowling, there was short stuff there and guys were playing as if they were in a match situation.I can only judge on how they went today and it was pretty full-on.
“At dinner last night there was more staff than players but they're there for a reason, everyone seems to get on well and I think that's the key, you've got to respect each other's position in the team. When there's a lot of people around there is potential for things to maybe go wrong, but that seems like a pretty happy camp at the moment,” he added.
Australia can clinch a fifth World Cup win on March 29th: Waugh
Reflecting more on the 1999 win, Waugh said that he saw similarities in the World Cup campaigns of the present team and the one that he led 16 years ago, in the sense that both began slowly but peaked as the competition progressed.
"I think Australia have built themselves up nicely over the last couple of weeks, they've had a lot of time off and it's been a bit distracting, but you can see now the way they've trained today they're primed and ready for the big games. World Cups are all about getting momentum at the right time in the tournament."
"We tried to build ourselves up towards the bigger games and really switch on the intensity button and focus on what we were doing. We didn't play well early on, but we played to our peak in that final. That was 18 months in the making. We hoped to play that well when I took over the captaincy and we played our perfect game at the right time. I think we'd have beaten anyone on that day and Pakistan just happened to be the opposition,” the veteran of 325 ODIs said.
Waugh sounded optimistic about the Michael Clarke-led side lifting the trophy on March 29th, but cautioned them against leaving it to the next person to finish the job.
“Australia can definitely go all the way, they've got every base covered. Their only danger is they've got so much talent, you can sometimes leave it up to the next person, but I know they've talked about that and covered that off. That's the only danger for Australia if they just switch off and leave it for someone else to do the job,” he said.