Steve Waugh believes Indian cricket will get over Sachin Tendulkar’s eventual retirement without too much difficulty. “We’ve seen over the last few months that Indian cricket will survive,” he said at a promotional event here on Thursday.
“Without (Rahul) Dravid, (VVS) Laxman and (Sourav) Ganguly, these young players have come in and done well. So India will survive although it will be hard to take when Sachin retires because everyone here is so used to him walking out to bat. But it must come sooner rather than later.”
Waugh was all praise for the man overseeing this transitional phase, the captain M.S. Dhoni. “He seems to have the golden touch all the time,” the former Australian skipper said.
“He rarely does anything wrong. When his position was under threat last year against Australia, he came and scored a century. He knows how to perform on the big stage; he knows how to win the big moments.”
Asked of his brushes with another Indian captain, Ganguly, who famously made him wait at the toss during the 2001 series, Waugh did not hold back.
“It didn’t really worry me; it was more a lack of respect for the game,” he said. “The match referee actually told him that he had to turn up on time.
“The fact that he turned up late every game — it was his choice; I just thought it showed a lack of respect for the game. It didn’t really affect me.”
The evening saw Waugh discuss five of his best career moments, among them performances in the 1987 and 1999 World Cups, and hundreds against the West Indies and England.
Though the Australia Waugh knew and led is a contrast to the struggling outfits of today, the 48-year-old remained optimistic. “When you’re playing international cricket, you can’t win all the time,” he said.
“It goes in cycles. England is very experienced and India totally outplayed us recently but we have a new team that is coming together. We’ve just got to support the team and ride out the tough times.”
Waugh also interacted with kids, drawn from a cricket academy from the city, whom he asked to aim to play Test cricket.
“As a player you can find out really how good you are by playing Test cricket; from T20, you can only find out how much money you can make,” he said. “Try and play for your country in Test cricket first; all the other things will fall in place afterwards.”