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Waugh to consider his future

By Will Swanton 06/01/2003 05:50:11 PM Comments (0)

Steve Waugh needs a challenge.

He will be tempted to land a bombshell by announcing his retirement from Test cricket if he can't find one.

The revered 37-year-old Australian captain will play a carnival game for a Bradman XI at Bowral on Wednesday before escaping the spotlight with wife Lynette and children Rosalie, Austin and Lilian to ponder whether the fifth Ashes Test was his last.

Waugh spent an hour on a deserted SCG late on Monday with Rosalie and Austin, who was swinging a golf club. He sat on the ground in his baggy green cap and whites, occasionally gazing out to the distance, perhaps imagining life without the game that has brought him so much fame.

He spent longer with his kids than he did in the middle as Australia crashed to a 255-run loss. Walking to the crease at 4-93, he hit his first ball for four but lasted only 16 minutes. A short delivery from Andy Caddick was played to his feet, rebounded off his right heel and then back onto the stumps, dislodging the off bail.

Waugh was so embarrassed by the big ovation as he departed that he ran the final ten metres. Australia was bundled out for 226 but finished the series 4-1 on top. Now Waugh must decide whether to retire or tour the West Indies in April-May.

"You've got to play on if there's a challenge and if there's no challenge there's no point playing on," he told ABC Radio.

"I've got to work out if there's something still there that challenges."

The Bradman XI will be led by on Wednesday by his twin, Mark. It was Bradman's Australian record of 29 Test centuries that Steve Waugh equalled with his magnificent 102 on Friday.

Then the decision-making process will begin.

"I'll relax for one or two days, have a good think about it (the future), get away from the cricket scene and cricket people and get away with my family and friends and talk through it," he said.

"I'll go through the pros and cons and weigh it up and see what the right decision is and hopefully make that right decision.

"There's no time limit."

Waugh's century was such a wondrous occasion in front of 49,121 hometown fans that it might tempt him to quit. Fairytales don't happen twice, even if he doesn't care for them.

The next great challenge for Australia is the tour of India next year, but there's a lot of cricket to be played before then that will drag the family man away from home.

England's brave, character-filled victory couldn't change the fact the series was again lopsided, with Australia winning the first three Tests in just 11 days to retain the urn.

"I think it's good for cricket to have a close contest," he said.

"You can still be four or five nil as long as they're close contests.

"I think the first three Test matches weren't close and they weren't contested that well, but the last two Test matches were excellent Test matches.

"As players, you really want a good contest out in the middle.

"It's nice to win and nice to dominate but at the end of the day you get more pleasure out of doing something special in a real close Test match."

Waugh did something special this Test.

Maybe that will do him.

It's doubtful whether the West Indies will provide much opposition if Waugh decides to go. He was cheered off the SCG by a throng of 20,074 knowing he might not be back.

A bumper total crowd of 181,200 - the second largest in SCG history behind only the 195,253 on hand for Australia versus England in 1946-47 - was due in large part to the possibility of this being Waugh's farewell.

"I don't like getting massive applause for six runs," he said.

"There was no other reason for it (running off the ground). It was more embarrassment than anything. I knew the crowd would be great and would be clapping and I just didn't want to be out there too long when I hadn't done all that well in the middle."

Australia's touring party to the West Indies will be named in March.

Plenty of time to think things through.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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