World Cup

Steve Waugh boosts Australia ahead of Pak clash

Australia’s World Cup-winning captain Steve Waugh joined his countrymen here on Wednesday to help reassure the players they can cope with the pressure of entering the knockout stage of the cricket tournament.

The four-time World Champions face Pakistan in the quarterfinals on Friday to book a place in the mega-event semifinal.

Coach Darren Lehmann’s strategy of having former greats gracing their dressing room has paid off quite well. Waugh joined the squad for their training session at Adelaide Oval, in preparation for their day-nighter against Pakistan -- the team the Waugh-led Australia beat in the 1999 final.

The Australian great played 493 international matches (both Tests and one-day internationals) scoring a total 18,496 runs in both formats of the game. He led the Baggy Greens in 163 international matches and won 108 of them.

The intent of recruiting Waugh is that players can seek advice from him, or simply just ask him to share his experiences, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia’s opener Aaron Finch welcomed the presence of the legend among their squad.

“He’s been good. We had a team dinner on Tuesday night and we had a quick chat before we headed off from there. It wasn’t anything that was really planned. Guys just threw a few questions out at him,” Finch said.

“It was good to sit down over dinner with him and just chat about cricket really, and World Cups. He’s obviously captained a winning one (1999) and played in another one as well (1987). There are not many better-credentialled players to talk to about it,” he added.

Given less than half of Australia’s squad has World Cup experience, Finch said, for him and many of his teammates this was a career pinnacle.

“Absolutely. It’s a lot of our first World Cups. It’s an exciting time,” he said.

“The beauty of our team is we don’t fear losing. Yes, it’s knockout but as soon as you’re worried about losing a game you tighten up and you don’t play with your natural flair. That’s what a lot of our chat has been about,” the 28-year-old right-handed batsman said.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 9:20:04 AM |

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