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Saturday, February 13, 1999 Published at 11:23 GMT

Sport: Cricket

Australians declare Waugh

Steve Waugh (left) is unveiled as the 40th man to captain the Aussies

The worst kept secret in cricket has been confirmed, after Steve Waugh was named as captain of Australia in succession to Mark Taylor, who retired from the international scene last week.

Steve Waugh: "As captain, you need to trust your instincts"
Waugh, 33, who has played 111 Tests over 14 years, will lead Australia on a tour of the West Indies in March and April, with leg-spinner Shane Warne as his vice-captain.

"It's a great thing for me," said Waugh, a right-handed batsman and occasional medium pace bowler.

"It's something I never thought would come my way. Growing up as a kid I wanted to play for Australia and it's always been my dream, and to be captain is a great honour.

[ image: Shane Warne: Becomes vice-captain]
Shane Warne: Becomes vice-captain
"We're playing very well, aggressive cricket, and that's how I play the game - I play to win."

He had been favourite to take the job after Mark Taylor announced his intention to quit to become a TV commentator. Waugh served as his vice-captain.

The New South Wales star is currently rated one of the world's top batsmen. He has often preserved his best performances for the "old enemy", England, and was named as Australia's man of the series in their recent Ashes success.

Warne, 29, was the expected choice as vice-captain.

Some thought he might get the captaincy after his imaginative leadership in the one-day international series, in place of the injured Waugh.

But he has been tainted by his involvement with an illegal Indian bookmaker and his lack of experience is also thought to have counted against him.

'I've been waiting a while'

Waugh, a long-time deputy of Taylor, becomes Australia's 40th Test captain - but he has had to wait longer for the job than any of his predecessors.

"I would hope that I was picked because I was the best man for the job, not because I stood in line the longest," he said.

"No-one has a right to own the Australian captaincy or be in the Australian cricket side. If I'm not performing or not doing the job and there's someone better, then I expect the selectors to pick that person."

[ image: Mark Taylor was one of Australia's most successful Test skippers]
Mark Taylor was one of Australia's most successful Test skippers
Taylor earned a reputation as one of the great Test captains - and one who tried to make the game as exciting as possible, always chasing victory even when the draw was a safer bet.

Waugh said he did not plan to radically change the way Australian teams approached their matches - although he hinted he would be less inclined to take the sort of risks that Taylor often made.

"Australia could probably have drawn a few more games that we lost over the last couple of years and that's one area I'll be trying to improve," Waugh said.

"But I don't need to change too much because it's pretty much a winning formula at the moment."

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