Waugh at the height of heights

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Sunday, June 24, 2001, 19:48 [IST]
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Bangalore: Opinions regarding cricket's number one batsman (current) have occupied people's thoughts in the past and will continue to be a topic of discussion. Going by numbers, there is little doubt as to who stands at the top. However, numbers are not a true indicator of ground realities and this fact was recently voiced by two renowned gentlemen who found it appropriate to hand it down to Australia's Stephen Waugh.

Now, there will be many back home who might counter argue the statement - and a vociferous one at that, but Waugh's exploits abroad (under trying circumstances) quite simply have tilted the balance in his favour; not to forget his heroics at home. His knocks (overseas) have not only been match winning ones but on most occasions have been series clinching knocks.

That apart, his stints at the crease have always carried a lot of weight as they have aided in bailing his team out on umpteen occasions. Not for nothing is it said of him that, "If you want somebody to bat for your life then it has to be Steve Waugh.' Given that kind of a reputation, I suppose, if not a foregone conclusion, it at least is in keeping with cricketing sense that he be tagged 'the best bat'.

However, I must say that Tendulkar is the most gifted and the most capable cricketer around apart from being a religiously committed cricketer and he is not far behind. In fact, when it comes to sheer artistry and technique of the game he is shoulders in front but, I am afraid, when it boils down to the most effective bat Waugh's contribution has been Herculean.

To boot, after assuming captaincy, Steve Waugh has enhanced his reputation no end of good by taking Australian cricket to greater heights of efficiency. He has breathed a new brand of thought into the Australian psyche. One that is extremely competitive, hardcore and out and out fierce - not that there was a dearth of it earlier, but so formidable is Australian cricket now that its second eleven could have some of the reputed teams well under.

Considering Waugh's dual success (as a batsman and as a leader), he for my money has scaled the height of heights. He stands tall even amidst a pack of towering personalities.

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