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Mark Waugh under pressure to hold test place

Published: Tuesday, December 14, 1999, 5:30 [IST]
 
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Adelaide: Australian captain Steve Waugh has defended his twin brother Mark against calls for him to be sacked from the test side. Mark has scored just 18 runs in his last five innings and is under pressure to retain his place for the second test against India starting in Melbourne on December 26.

But Steve said he believed his sibling should be given another chance despite admitting he was down on form and confidence. ''If I was a selector I'd pick him because he's a match winner and a proven test match player,'' Steve said. ''Although you've also got to get runs." ''If your confidence is down then all of a sudden your feet aren't moving and you're not playing your normal shots and you're a little bit timid."

''He's got to get a little bit more sharpness in his game. He's got things to work on.'' Although he scored a century in Australia's first test win over Pakistan last month, Mark has struggled to maintain any consistency over the past year, making 13 or less runs in 12 of his past 15 innings. Mark has also been burdened by Australia's frantic schedule, as the only member of the national test and one-day sides to have played virtually non-stop for the past 18 months.

But he has been able to retain his place on account of his brilliant record over the past decade in both forms of the game. As one of the most stylish batsmen ever to play the game, Mark has scored more than 6,000 test runs for Australia, including 17 centuries, at an average of 41, plus 13 limited-overs hundreds.

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