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Not Dukes ball but poor technique behind Ashes woes for Australian batsmen, says Steve Waugh

Utsav Agarwal
331   //    03 Jun 2016, 16:03 IST
Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh is one of Australia’s greatest captains

According to Australian legend Steve Waugh, the current national team’s problems are due to their own techniques and not because of the Dukes balls. He was Australia’s most successful Ashes cricketer, having led his country to multiple triumphs over England. Waugh captained his team in their most dominant run of form and won two ICC Cricket World Cups.

The Australian was also the third person to breach the 10,000 run mark, with an average of 51.06. Tugga, as he was lovingly called by his fans, is the second best Australian batsman in Tests against England only after Sir Don Bradman.

Just the same day, it was revealed that Cricket Australia’s plans to use English balls during this summer’s Sheffield Shield season were in doubts, to which Waugh said that the English balls were not an issue.  

The Australian told SEN, “I think it’s a bit overstated.” He added: “It didn’t cause us too many problems back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I think it’s more technique not the ball they’re using.”

Also read: United by birth, divided by traits: Happy Birthday to the Waugh brothers

Australia’s struggles in the Ashes 

Australia have been very poor in their quest to win the Ashes ever since Steve Waugh retired with batting being their major cause for concern. They have lost two of the last seven Ashes series in contrast to the eight consecutive Ashes series that Australia won prior to that.  

The Australian batsmen have had a pretty hard time playing against the reverse-swinging Dukes ball which has often been blamed for their poor performances.

The CA announced that the second-half of the 2016-17 Sheffield Shield season would be played with the Dukes, but Tugga was quick to rubbish talks that the ball would make such a difference.

“It’s still round and red and the same weight,” Waugh said.

“The seam may be a little bit different but it’s not a huge difference.

“I think if you’re concentrating too much on the ball, you lose sight of the real issue and that’s your technique.”

CA director Pat Howard said a modified Dukes ball will be tried in Brisbane in the winter to check if the ball performs normally in Australian conditions, yet still performs as it does in Test matches in England. If this experiment fails, there would not be any other trials. 

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Howard stated, “If ... there is another ball more suited to our conditions that looks and feels like the exact English Test ball, we’ll use that,” He added: “If not, we won’t trial it in the Shield.”

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