McGrath backs Waugh to fight it out - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McGrath backs Waugh to fight it out

By Will Swanton 23/12/2002 04:41:13 PM Comments (0)

Glenn McGrath has described the next two Ashes Tests as the toughest fight of Steve Waugh's career.

He expects Waugh to emerge victorious.

With chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns unable to guarantee Waugh's position in the Australian team past the Sydney Test, the 37-year-old skipper has been left with two clear options.

There's the warm and fuzzy option of announcing his retirement before Sydney, ensuring a fairytale ending to his days in the baggy green. Or there's the more Waugh-like option of gritting his teeth and continuing as long as possible, refusing to admit defeat, refusing to let Hohns or anybody else tell him what to do.

The latter is more likely.

"You look through his whole career, he's really been a fighter the whole way through," McGrath said at Melbourne Airport ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

"Determination and ruthlessness are a couple of words you could say about him. He's probably got his back up against the wall, this is probably the toughest fight of his career but the type of character he is, he'll probably rise to the occasion.

"Ideally it would be great to see Steve come down here, put a big score on the board in Melbourne and do the same in Sydney - that would be the ideal scenario and I'm sure every player in the team would love to see him do that."

Asked the big question, when Waugh should retire, McGrath said: "That's a decision he's got to make himself. He's been a legend of the game, really. The amount of times he's really fought and brought Australia back into a game when we've been in trouble...I consider myself lucky to have played with a guy of his calibre.

"It would be great to see him go out on his own terms, when he wants to."

McGrath did not say when that should be.

Waugh kept his mouth shut when he arrived in Melbourne with Stuart MacGill, declining to speak with the media as television crews shoved microphones in front of his face and repeatedly asked questions like, "Is this the end, Steve?"

He will hold a press conference at the MCG on Tuesday.

Test vice-captain Adam Gilchrist rejected any suggestion that Waugh was trying to stay in the game for financial reasons.

Waugh, who has 106 runs at an average of 26 from the first three Ashes Tests, has been so-so for the last 12 months. His returns have been 78 at 19.5 against New Zealand, 141 at 35.25 versus South Africa at home, 95 at 19 in South Africa and 134 at 44.67 against Pakistan.

Not flash, but he does have a century and a half-century from his last four Tests.

When the going gets tough ...

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