Waugh will not give up captaincy voluntarily: Hughes

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2002, 16:58 [IST]
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Perth: Triumphant Australian Test cricket captain Steve Waugh was unlikely to quit the glamour job voluntarily and would probably have to be pushed, former captain Kim Hughes said Tuesday.

"You would think the decision is going to be made for him," Hughes said, the day after Waugh, 37, was overlooked when selectors announced a preliminary squad of 30 players for next year's World Cup One-day contest in South Africa and Zimbabwe. His omission from Limited Overs consideration has prompted speculation his Test career could come to an end after the current campaign against England. But Waugh has made it clear that while he is out of favor for the One-day side, he has no intention of quitting the Test captaincy in the near future. After his side had whipped England here on Sunday to wrap up the Ashes series 3-0 -- and retain cricket's most highly prized trophy -- Waugh said his ultimate goal was to lead an Australian team to a Test series victory in India. Australia does not start its next Indian Test tour until September, 2004. "It is pretty ambitious to think about that, but if there is one thing that would entice me to keep playing, it is to win in the sub-continent," Waugh said. Hughes said the qualities that made Waugh such a dogged competitor would ensure he did not give up the Test captaincy without a fight. Hughes suggested an ideal time for Waugh to retire gracefully would be after the fifth Ashes Test, in Sydney, in January. But Hughes considered it unlikely he would retire then unless selectors made it clear his time had come and that he would not be considered for Australia's Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean in May. "He could hold his form for a while longer," Hughes said. "And when you are on big money and are part of a successful team, it might take something from outside to call a stop." Former Australian Test fast bowler Geoff Lawson agreed with Hughes that the signs were that Waugh wanted to play well past this season. "But he may not be afforded that privilege," Lawson said. "India series won't happen to him." "Australian stars David Boon, Ian Healy and Mark Waugh (Steve's twin brother) were all given a message, because it is difficult to make the decision yourself, and I would be surprised if Steve Waugh is any different." Australia's selectors are understood to wish to phase out the team's old guard gradually to allow younger players to be blooded over a period to avoid the loss of heavyweights in a group, robbing the world champion side of a wealth of experience in a single move. Mark Waugh, one of Australia's greatest batsmen and fielders, was dropped just before the start of the Ashes series.

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