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Monday, 23 December, 2002, 16:50 GMT
Has Waugh proved his worth?
Steve Waugh responds to recent criticism by scoring an unbeaten 62 against England in the fourth Ashes Test.
Has Australia's skipper proved a point?
Steve Waugh went some to answering his critics by displaying a fine return to form against England in Melbourne.
Scoring an unbeaten 62, his partnership with Justin Langer was unbroken on 91 at stumps.
Prior to the Test, Australia selector Trevor Hohns had hinted that Australia's support for Steve Waugh may be on the wane, saying that he has the support of the ACB "until the Sydney Test".
The decision to quit, it seems, may then be in Waugh's hands - the 37-year-old will not want to end his international career after being dropped, like his brother Mark.
Should Waugh quit after the Ashes, or keep on playing?
This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.
To me Steve Waugh is the greatest Test players of this generation. If I were to trust someone to play the innings of my life, it would be him. As an avid cricketer, I idolise him and would like to play with the icy calm and determination that he shows in the face of adversity on the field.
Steve is exceptional, one of a kind and has proven to the whole cricket fraternity even today that he can rise to the occasion when needed. He's the kind of a captain/leader that my country needs for them to have anything to do with Test cricket. Steve if your countrymen want you to quit, please consider playing for Zimbabwe!
Steve has a record of Test captaincy second to none. He has transformed the way Test cricket is now being played and has the runs to prove it. He has a lot more to offer the Australian team and Test cricket in general and should definitely play on. He is only 38 years young!
How can one describe Steve Waugh? He is an awesome, gutsy player whose motto seems to be "never Say never". He has always proved himself when others begin to doubt his abilities. A player of his abilities and stature should never be forced to quit. This is a decision for him to make. And if his recent innings is anything to go by, his retirement is a long, long way off.
I have no doubt that Steve Waugh is still up to Test cricket and could play on at the highest level until his 40's. But no Australian cricketer can be immune from the same selection criteria that apply to others. You must first be among the top 12 cricketers in the nation and from among them the captain is chosen.
Waugh is fighting not only time but outstanding younger players such as Love, Haddin, Hussey, Katich, Bevan, Clarke and others. All of these players have form that warrants selection. Steve Waugh will eventually go and the selectors simply cannot justify keeping all of these younger players waiting until well into their 30's.
How responsible would it be to allow the Australian cricket team to decline with age and then introduce novice players whose own best playing days are behind them? That is the recipe for decline and would send the wrong message to the game's young talents.
If he fancies a good job he can always come and captain the England team. I'd be glad to see him with the job if he was wearing bottle-bottom glasses and pushing a Zimmer frame. He'll still put more fight and backbone into the England side than they are showing at the moment.
Come the 2003 World Cup we will know for sure what Steve Waugh was all about! Ponting may be good but Steve Waugh and his twin brother are what true champions are made of.
Steve Waugh should go on until he runs out of gas or they throw him out. It is Waugh's cricketing legacy that Ponting is enjoying and if it was not for Waugh, Australian cricket would not have been what it is today.
Steve Waugh has always been at his best when Australia has been in trouble. It is interesting that during the last 24 months when he has been regularly coming in at three or four down for 300 plus, (courtesy Langer, Hayden, Ponting and co) with Gilchrist to come, then his average has decreased.
It these situations generally, the demand has been to punish the opponent with quick runs. He has not looked to preserve his average and has practiced the avowed team policy to score the runs as quickly as reasonably possible.
Has this 'slump' in his averages cost Australia matches? I think not! Yet this is the rationale to remove one of the most effective, motivational and respected captains of modern times. GET REAL MAN!
If England can have Mike Brearley, a dogged, canny and respected captain with a batting average of barely half of Waugh's, then surely Australia can keep Waugh for a while longer.
Steve Waugh is on the ropes. He is a boxer that won't give up. Smashed and bloody he may be but he'll go when he's ready. Expect to see the very best of Steve Waugh from now. Steve Waugh is the man that made Australia try a bit harder and no one should forget it.
I think Steve is a great cricketer and a true ambassador for the game. He should be left to do what he does best, which is captain what happens to be the best team in the world. Don't step down Steve. You're far too good and can easily continue for another two years.
Since Waugh is winning, why should he be axed. I seriously doubt Australia will be the same if Waugh is dropped. He is a combination of George Patton and Bobby Fisher on the field mentally. Of course, he has the best test attack since the Windies quartet in the '70s and '80s. That helps a lot.
I think Trevor Hohns and his cronies will be eating their words and warnings after next two Test results. However, stubborn mules that they are, if they still decide to drop Steve Waugh, I hope they will resign from the selection committee after defeats in West Indies and India.
One thing is for sure, it can happen only in Australia that a legend like Steve is not allowed to retire on his own terms, though his team continues to crush other teams.
Stephen Waugh should be allowed to carry on as long as he wishes to!
Definitely not. He still has a lot to offer the world of cricket. He is a gentleman cricketer with heart and aggro - a rare combination.
I do honestly believe that Steven has at least couple of potential years left in him and most definitely for Test cricket. However, if he is staring at compelling exit then it is better for him to make a choice for a graceful retirement.
I would advise Steve, the great cricketer of his era, to do like Imran Khan who retired gracefully after winning the World Cup 92, keeping his head and pride so high.
If the selectors are hell bent on dropping Steve then he should retire before they do so in order to save face. I personally would not drop Steve from the Test or one day side. Even today he remains for me Mr Dependable. I would definitely choose him to lead the Aussies to the World Cup next year.
Steve Waugh may not have had the best of times with the bat, but his role as captain of this awesome team can not be underestimated. The Aussies lost the series to India last year, but since then have demolished England, South Africa, Pakistan and England again.
What more do the Aussies want from their team? Ponting can captain a one-day team, but Tests are very different. While the Aussies keep winning series I see it as pointless to change the team. It would be a big loss to them if Steve Waugh was given the axe.
Steve Waugh is one of the all-time great cricketers and captains. He should retire at the end of this Ashes series to avoid the ignominy of being dropped, very possibly before his time.
Being Australian he is unfortunate that his country has such strength in depth that they can afford to drop him in favour of a younger man (look what happened to his twin brother). If only England had that luxury rather than asking some of our great players to go past their "sell-by date" like Alec Stewart.
Despite his loss of form in the last couple of years, Waugh would still be good enough to be an automatic selection in any Test side, aside from Australia that is!!
I still remember his century at the Oval in 2001 when he was just on one leg - but that was 15 months ago! Selectors have a short memory and with guys like Clarke, Love and Hussey coming up, it really is time for Steve to call it a day.
The guy has won everything that cricket can offer (except a series win in India) and it would be sad and silly for him not to bow out gracefully in front of his home crowd but instead try to carry on and let the selectors end his career abruptly.
Look no further than his twin brother on the latter scenario - Mark played his last Test in Sharjah in front of empty stands - wouldn't you think that a guy who has scored 20 test centuries deserve a better farewell than that?
Steve Waugh, being the most successful Aussie captain ever, has the firing power to be retained in the Test side as captain, at least till the 2004 Indian tour to accomplish his goal of a series win in Indian soil.
He also deserves a last chance in the Aussies' one-day squad! For me, after Viv Richards, he is the most revered cricketer along with Sachin Tendulkar.
Steve is definitely past his peak. He has been such an outstanding cricketer and a composed skipper. Rarely did he fail to rise to the occasion and for the kind of team Australia is today he has a major share in it.
Provided he can get back to form and retain it, I don't see anything that should stop him from playing for another 6-8 months not just in Test cricket but also in the shorter version of the game.
The current debate amongst Australians regarding the future of Steve leaves people from the Indian sub-continent dumbfounded! They are used to seeing bragging but hollow cricketers like Sourav Ganguly being handed one opportunity after another to lead the country whereas such a magnificent cricketer like Steve is being pilloried just because he is 37!
Steve Waugh is undoubtedly the best cricketer of his generation and not even the Tendulkars and Laras come close to challenge him on this regard. He is the most committed cricket player you will find in the game now and has given everything to the Australian people and the game itself.
But there comes a time when all great players need to move on and this is probably the right time for Steve to call it quits. He has had a great career, won the World Cup twice and there is nothing much left for him to prove. Finishing off in style at SCG would be a fairytale ending and he should take it.
Steve Waugh has been a magnificent captain for Australia. However, all good things must come to an end and unlike the English, Australia must cull the old brigade to ensure they stay competitive in the future.
I really hope Steve Waugh doesn't do a Mark Taylor and outstay his welcome. He has done an excellent job for his country and if he can still produce the goods then fine, by all means put him in the team, but sentiment alone shouldn't be the reason for his selection.
The man is a legend. His contribution cannot be measured in runs, wickets and catches alone. Force him into retirement now and the Aussies will regret it. West Indies and India are tough tours. Steve Waugh is a fighter who's skill and character will be needed.
Mr Hohns and his cronies are a disgrace. I don't recall Mark Taylor being given the same ultimatums when he couldn't buy a run. It could well be another 20/30 years before they find another Steve Waugh. He has turned a very good team into a great one and the selectors should drop him at their peril.
In his illustrious career, Steve Waugh has become a living legend in the game. The Australians, in their quest for the best, will do a terrible dis-service to world cricket and Australian cricket if they decide to terminate his career.
I remember the time when Australia's previous captain Mark Taylor went through a terrible lean patch and the cries for his head were unanimous. The selectors then stood by him because the team was winning.
The situation is similar but can't be compared with Steve Waugh because he has not lost his form or the fighting abilities that make him such a great player. Australian Test cricket is also in better shape, being undoubtedly the best in the world.
I think the talk to drop him is utter rubbish and an exercise in sheer stupidity. Steve has many years of great cricket still left in him and an unfinished agenda to defeat India at home. He must continue as long as he believes that he deserves ato and no one can judge that better than him.
First of all Steve is a great player - every great player goes through bad form but it doesn't mean that you kick them out. Trevor Hohns is an unsympathetic guy. I think Steve should retire when he feels like it, not when people are forcing him to do so.
I think he is done. For his age and his current form it won't be too long before the selectors eventually pull the plug off. So he should quit after the Ashes as the Australian selectors are ruthless to drop anyone who once becomes liability to their side. It will be sad to see him go but at least it will be a relief that he left the scene with dignity.
Waugh, being a great cricketer as he is, should and will know when's the right time for him to call it a day. I find it ludicrous when people say that money is motivating Waugh to prolong his international career.
I have not seen a more committed team man than this brilliant Aussie. I trust him and his decision more than I trust an opinion from some selector who I know little about.
I can't believe a man of Waugh's stature is being treated like this. For me, among all the superstars of world cricket, here's one who really deserves the best. In spite of all this, the way the media and the ACB is treating him is plain unfair and mean.
It's time the cricket world pays this man enough credit for what he's done and what he would do!
Steve, the cricket world salutes you...your gutsy performances over the years have brought a great deal of pleasure to the true supporters of this wonderful game.
My advice would be for you to announce your retirement now and finish up in Sydney in front of your home crowd, who think of you as our own.
Don't become a selection statistic like Ian Healy did, close the book on your own terms and be sent out as a winner and champion.
Trevor Hohns and his mates have a track record for bringing the guillotine down on illustrious careers at unsympathetic moments.
Steve, please don't let that happen to you, for you deserve a far more appropriate departure from your playing career than the type that was (not) afforded to Heals.
As an Englishman, I have followed Waugh's career since the mid-80s. He has been an outstanding cricketer, captain and ambassador for cricket, but it is time for him to take a rest. I would like nothing more than for him to score 100 in his last Test at Sydney as England win by 8 runs!
I think the chief of the selection committee Mr Hohns is putting pressure on Waugh by making such statements, as we know that Waugh excels when under pressure. We can expect a big innings from him. Good luck to him.
23 Dec 02 | The Ashes
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