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'Available to the boys for advice any time'

Published: Saturday, January 22, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Q. How are you enjoying the role of Ambassador of the Sydney Olympics'2000?
A. It's a great feeling, a great honour. Cricket is not a major sport in the Olympics. Yet, I got the honour as a cricketer. I did not expect that, I must say that it was a pleasant surprise when I first got the good news.

Q. Will Sir Don Bradman light the flame of the Olympics?
A. I have no idea. I don't even know whether anybody has approached him to do that or not. At least, I do not know. My job is over at the moment, the organisers wanted my presence when the release of the tickets took place.

Q. What would be your job while the Olympic Games take place?
A. I really do not know about that yet. The organisers have not informed me about anything so far.

Q. Do you think you retired a bit early?
A. No, I have had enough. I am not missing anything today because I am meeting my team-mates regularly. I am really enjoying the new assignment as a TV commentator. I am happy. No regrets.

Q. Did you anticipate that Steve Waugh would do so well as a captain?
A. Oh yes. Stephen has been in the Australian team for a long time - a seasoned campaigner. The nucleus of the team is the same when I was the captain. Australia is really having a good balanced side in both Test and one-day cricket. I think Australia is now the best team in both versions of the game.

Q. What about South Africa ?
A. They are pretty close. But Australia is consistent. Steve Waugh and his team can accept any challenge. No doubt, they are really a very determined side. All of them are extremely motivated. We must give credit to the Australian captain.

Q. Does the team seek your advice?
A. Not really. They are all professional cricketers. Everyone is aware of their responsibility. They are pretty serious. The whole team knows that I am available any time. For us Australia comes first. Sports is our passion, we would like to win all the games, that is the bottom line. Our slogan is very simple - Try hard and be consistent.

Q. Shane Warne started flourishing under your captaincy. How did you handle him?
A. Not only Shane Warne, even Glen McGrath started taking off when I was the captain. I am very happy to see both of them getting so many wickets individually. We discussed a lot about field setting for each and every opponent batsman. I must mention that both of them have won many matches for me. Both of them are intelligent. They are aware of the tricks of the game. Any captain would love to have them. They knew what I expected from them and responded immediately according to my plan.

Q. Do you think Australia has got a proper replacement for Ian Healy?
A. Oh, yes Adam Gilchrist is doing a great job both as a wicket-keeper and batsman. This is the success of the Australian Cricket Board. They always pay importance to the strength of the reserve bench. We have a very good sporting tradition.

Q. You declared at 334 against Pakistan at Peshawar. Do you still think that you took the correct decision?
A. Yes, I have no regret. I feel that was the correct decision. I am happy that I am equal to Sir Don, at least in this case.

Q. You went to meet Sir Don after that?
A. Yes, I had the golden opportunity to meet the great man at his residence. We spent two hours together. He wrote me a letter when I came back from Pakistan. Sir Don was very happy. He was very honoured too about the reason for the declaration. I have tremendous respect for him.

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