Steven Smith anoints Mark Waugh as cricket's equivalent of Roger Federer
The Australian captain picks Federer and Waugh as his favourite sportsmen of all-time.
What's the story?
Australian captain Steven Smith has termed the languid style of former batsman Mark Waugh as cricket's answer to the effortless elegance of tennis icon Roger Federer. Hailing the tennis legend as one of his all-time favourite sportsmen, the 28-year old went on to find similarities between the debonair stalwart and the graceful stoke-play of the right-handed Waugh.
During an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Smith quipped, "Roger Federer is my favourite, which is pretty well documented, but I always loved playing (tennis) growing up. It was a way to be competitive. I kind of liken him a bit to Mark Waugh, who was my favourite cricketer growing up. He just made everything look so easy and effortless. I see similarities in the way that those two go about their business in the respective sports. I think he'd be very stylish and just make it look easy."
Walking into the Australian Test team as a replacement for his twin brother Steve, Mark Waugh represented his country in 128 Tests as well as 244 ODIs. In a career spanning from 1988 to 2002, the dexterous batsman scored more than 16,000 international runs across both formats.
The heart of the matter
Renowned for his elegant style of batting, Mark Waugh was one of the most attractive batsmen to watch at his heydays. To go alongside his 20 Test tons and 18 ODI centuries, the right-hander also pouched as many as 289 catches across both formats. Even though his brother Steve was acknowledged as a tougher and more consistent batsman, Mark carved a niche for himself with his silken stroke-play and effortless catching.
Meanwhile, Federer is regarded not only as the greatest tennis player of all-time but also the sport's most stylish exponent in the modern era. A graceful mover in the court, his scintillating array of shots has helped him dominate the game in a manner seldom seen in the history of the sport.
As evidenced by his exploits in 2017, the 36-year old Federer continues to defy the trappings of age and remains a force in the tennis world. He is widely tipped as an overwhelming favourite to win an unprecedented seventh title at the ATP World Tour finals which will take place from November 12 to 19 in London.
In his current capacity as national selector, Mark Waugh also has plenty on his plate as Australia's Ashes squad is set to be named in the coming days. Steve Smith's team begin their campaign at the Gabba on November 23.
Even though there have been quite a few elegant batsmen such as David Gower and VVS Laxman in the game's illustrious history, Mark Waugh's graceful shots through the leg-side were at a different level. On reminiscing, the retired stalwart's stroke-play certainly evoked a comparable feeling of awe to Federer's languid style of tennis.