'Steve must keep playing, ignore critics'
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2001, 15:50 [IST]
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Islamabad: Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh, facing retirement queries after a recent run of injuries, has won the support of Pakistani cricketing great Imran Khan. "I think Steve Waugh is the main cause for the revival of Australian cricket," Pakistan's former captain, one of the greatest ever fast bowlers, told AFP in an interview. "He is the best captain in world cricket today and if I was Australian I would want him to play for as long as he possibly can." Waugh, 36, this week told reporters that criticism of his fitness would only motivate him to play top-level cricket longer. His health has been in the spotlight in recent months after missing the fourth Ashes Test against England with a torn calf muscle. He then suffered a bout of deep vein thrombosis that will prevent him from starting the domestic season with New South Wales this weekend. Waugh also missed a home Test last summer with a strained buttock muscle. But Imran, who himself played international cricket up to the age of 39 and led Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup before retiring, said Waugh could play for many more years. "He is a mentally strong and disciplined guy. If you have self denial, and discipline and keep your body fresh, you can keep going."