Waugh in search of defining moment - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waugh in search of defining moment

By Will Swanton 02/01/2003 06:30:41 AM Comments (0)

Hold the tributes.

"The defining moment may be this match," says Steve Waugh.

The 37-year-old Test captain starts possibly his last Test on home soil on Thursday when Australia attempts to complete a 5-0 thumping of England in the Ashes series.

Milestones are looming.

Waugh will equal Allan Border's world record of 156 Tests. He can match Sir Donald Bradman's Australian record of 29 Test centuries.

He requires 69 runs to become the third batsman behind Border and Sunil Gavaskar to reach 10,000 Test runs.

And he can follow in the giant footsteps of Warwick 'The Big Ship' Armstrong (1920-21) as the only Ashes captains at the helm of clean sweeps.

"I think the more Tests you play, the more records you come close to," Waugh said after Australian training at the SCG on Wednesday.

"Sir Donald Bradman is probably the greatest player ever and deserves to be by himself. If I get an opportunity to get a hundred I'm certainly going to take it but it's not the most important thing on my mind right now.

"As a kid growing up I always wanted to try and be the best batsman I could be and hopefully the best batsman in the world.

"I think I achieved that in certain points throughout my career so I'm pleased with that, but you never consider yourself to be anywhere near the same as Sir Donald Bradman.

"I can't go out there thinking I want to get a hundred or I want to get 69 runs or we want to win the match, it's how we go about getting the end result that counts."

Waugh's future looked rosy after a first-innings 77 in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

It looked ruined after a shoddy 14 on the final day, when he had a migraine and felt dizzy. He will be treated like royalty by an SCG crowd assuming this is goodbye.

Waugh will decide after the Sydney Test whether he will retire or keep going, running the risk of an inglorious sacking.

"I'm still not 100 per cent sure what the right decision is," he said.

"It's something I've got to work out. I can talk to a hundred different people and get many different opinions, but in the end it's got to be my decision.

"You never know when your next one's going to be or whether this one is going to be your last one.

"You don't want to go out there with the attitude of 'this is my last game.' I think you can dwell on that too much.

"You've just got to go out and appreciate you're playing for Australia, which is a great honour. No matter how many times I've played for Australia I still go out and think it's fantastic that I'm playing for Australia."

Waugh, as always, will put on a stern face and shun sentimentality.

"That's what I'm going out there with in this Test match," he said.

"I'm not going to be sad and think maybe this is the last time I'm here or there's extra applause, which is really nice. I can't let the emotion get overbearing.

"I just want to go out there and enjoy my cricket."

Waugh has 9,931 runs from 155 Tests with 28 centuries and 48 half-centuries. His average is 49.44, and he has more wins (33) than any Australian captain.

His highest score is 200 against the West Indies at Kingston, Jamaica in 1995, when he was involved in a famous face-to-face confrontation with Curtly Ambrose.

A similar clash with selectors may not be far away.

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