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Steve Waugh – Australian for Mental Toughness

The Sun has finally set over the Australian Empire. The guiding light of this great cricket team Steve Waugh has hung his boots and will not grace the cricket grounds around the world with his red handkerchief. Few men have had better farewells in sport. The one who comes to recent memory is another legend in his sport, Pete Sampras. In a field where memory is short lived, the name of Steve Waugh and his deeds will be sung and remembered for time immemorial.

I started following this Australian Cricket team with such great intensity purely due to the “ICE MAN”. I read far and wide about this extraordinary cricketer from Bankstown, New South Wales. I passed some of the vintage Waugh stories to my brother, with whom I had relished and cherished numerous Waugh moments. Whenever the run rate is a little below the normal rate and Steve Waugh is facing a spinner, both of us would cry out “Steve slog sweep him”, to the extent of almost pleading him to slog sweep the ball over midwicket. Ironically, it was this slog sweep which proved to be his undoing in the final innings of his glittering career. Whenever the Aussies are in a spot of bother and Tugga walks to take guard, we both would say in unison ” ICEMAN pathu paan da”( Iceman will take Care). We rubbed on the spirit to my mom who has many times faced the brunt of our Waugh superstitions. I am sure she will vividly remember the 120 that Waugh made in the final super six game against South Africa in the 199 World Cup when she received the best hospitality from her sons. The truth being that we did not want her to get up from the chair as soon as Steve Waugh started unleashing his repetoire. But I guess, she should be thankful to us for having made her some exceptional rearguard action from the modern day gladiator.

I would rate the hundreds that Waugh made in the Caribbean as the most memorable moments of his career. I stayed up all night to watch Waugh battle out Curtley Ambrose and the West Indian pace battery. In an innings which ended the West Indian domination over World cricket, Waugh displayed character and silenced his detractors who had suspected his technique against the short ball.

If Waugh was hardness personified in the field, he was softness personified off the field. His human gestures ad philanthropic efforts have earned him great admiration and respect even in his final frontier of India. His endeavor to build homes for the leprosy affected children in Calcutta has ensured that his deeds will stand the test of time and will be remembered for a long time.

He has chosen to go out on a high. Few men can ever come close to him in terms of toughness and leadership. I will always revere him as my greatest idol in life.

For men may come

men may go

Waugh stays on forever.

Written by Sudarshan Suresh

January 8, 2004 at 12:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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