VB series turns out to be Waugh's bitter medicine

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Friday, February 22, 2002, 15:32 [IST]
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So powerful was the sting of the Victoria Bitter tri-series (VB series) that it not only turned out to be a bitter one for the Australian team, it also effected the tumbling down of one of the most high ranking captains in recent times.

If 'lost for words', is a calmer and milder expression to Steve Waugh's sacking from the Australian One-day squad then 'height of absurdity', could probably qualify as the term to describe the act of the ACB selectors.

Before I get down to my point of view, let me take my hat off to one of the great teams to have graced the game of cricket and to one of the most dynamic leaders of the game. To have influenced the game the way they did and for such an elongated period, takes a lot of hard work, commitment and drive and this team, to my mind, was determination personified.

The credit for bringing about the kind of dominance like the one this Australian squad imposed, to a lager extent, rests with Steve. No doubt things wore thin for Waugh recently, but give the man a break.

Things do go wrong and this is one such occasion that has come this Australian side's way - not to have even qualified for the finals, was something that hurt the Aussies bad.

When things turn bitter it is natural to throw up and quite a few things had been thrown up following the defeat, but directing Waugh towards the exit door was the meanest thing to do, especially to a cricketer who carries around the passion of his fellow countrymen in his heart.

To be fair to Waugh, weather played a major hand in Australia's inability to win its home series against New Zealand. The team did come back in thumping fashion, however, by cleaning up the South Africans in what was billed as the 'Title Clash'. Just one major blip and its curtains for Waugh!

It's a tough world indeed! However, given Waugh's credentials and track record, there is no doubt in my mind that Waugh is going to dig deep and eventually soar high. He has fought many a battle, he has shown the world the stuff he is made of and albeit age being a major hindrance, it is hard for me to see Waugh not giving a fitting reply. I have no hesitation in putting my money on a critic silencing show down in the following season - starting with South Africa.

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