I~~ll not play just to fulfil stats, claims Steve Waugh

Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 18:08 [IST]
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Sydney: Steve Waugh said on Tuesday there was no point continuing his glorious cricket career just to satisfy fulfilling statistics. The 37-year-old Australian skipper said after Monday's final Ashes Test here against England that he would reflect on his position over the coming weeks. Waugh can go out of cricket on his own terms after scoring a magnificent 102 in the first innings on Friday, which buried any suggestion that he was not worth his place in the side on form. He had indicated previously that he wanted to return to play in India in 2004 and try to win Australia's first series there in more than 30 years. But so perfect was his innings, where he scored a four off the last ball to raise his euphoric century, that there is a compelling case for Waugh to now be considering stepping down from the game. "The only one who can make the decision is myself and I've got to consult with the people around me, particularly my family, and work out what the best decision is," Waugh said on Tuesday. "I've got to see whether there's still a challenge out there, that's the reason why I play cricket, whether I can still improve and whether there's a point to it. "There's no point in just going on for the sake of it and playing just for the numbers or the stats or whatever. "I've been doing it for 18 years now so I've just got to weigh up all those issues and try and make the right decision but I still love playing for Australia and getting out there and doing battle. "Being 3 for 50 the other day in a tough situation (in the fifth Test), I realised that I still wanted to play cricket but there's other things that come into the picture." Waugh has nothing to prove. He has scored a 29th Test century equalling cricket immortal Don Bradman's Australian record. It is bettered only by Indians Sunil Gavaskar (34) and Sachin Tendulkar (30) on the all-time list. He has also joined compatriot Allan Border (11,174) and Gavaskar in the exclusive 10,000-run club. Waugh's Sydney appearance was his 156th Test, equalling the world record of Border, who is one of the selectors who will deliberate in March on the next Australian touring side to the West Indies. With two centuries in his past six Test matches, Waugh's form assures him of a place on the April-May tour to Caribbean -- now it is up to him to decide if he wants to go. Waugh has also captained Australia to a record 16 consecutive Test wins and has the best winning record of any Test captain with 33 victories. Waugh on Tuesday withdrew with an injury from the Bradman XI to play England in a One-dayer in Bowral, southwest of here, on Wednesday. An Australian Cricket Board (ACB) statement said Waugh had suffered a groin strain while bowling during England's fifth Test win. He is still expected to attend the match with the Bradman XI to be captained by his twin brother Mark, the ACB statement said.

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