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05 December 2023

Steve Waugh wishes he played T20 cricket

By Reuters

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, known for his risk-free batting style that brought him nearly 11,000 Test runs, wishes he could have flung the bat in the Twenty20 format. 

Waugh still sits seventh on the all-time Test run scorers list having called it a day in 2004, aged 38, narrowly missing out on the Twenty20 revolution. 
The game's newest form was first played in England in 2003 and made its way over to Australia by early 2005 and despite his passion for grinding out long innings, Waugh says he would have loved to have chanced his arm in the fast-paced short format. 

"I would have loved to have played Twenty20 cricket. That's one we missed out on," Waugh told Reuters on Monday at a Laureus event inside Championship (second division) soccer club Millwall's stadium in south London. 

"It would have been great to work out how to play the ramp shot, reverse sweep. All that stuff's exciting to watch. It's something we can do as players so it would have been great to have learnt it." 

The 46-year-old, famous for his steely approach to the game and the lucky red rag he used to mop his brow during long stays at the crease, was also a skilled medium pacer in his day and reckons his bowling could have adapted to Twenty20. 

"I would have enjoyed the bowling, having to work out what you've gotta do, what variations to use," said the former world number one Test batsman. 
Waugh's open mindedness on a format that has its critics and has contributed to a decline in Test cricket's appeal says everything about the changing nature of the sport. 
"The game's changed. Look at Dave Warner the other day in a one-dayer. He hit a reverse sweep right-handed for six. Amazing!" said Waugh of his explosive compatriot, who smashed the quickest Test century by an opener (69 balls) against India last month and averages 52.37 after just six matches. 

"He's what people want and it's great to see him in there. He brings people through the gates and that's what you want. He plays a bit differently but he's got a good technique. 

"He's not going out and playing shots he hasn't practised, he knows what he's doing." 

Warner's cavalier batting style provides Australia's selectors with an interesting dilemma. 

The stocky 25-year-old's century against India was spectacular but he has also been known to carelessly give his wicket away. 

Waugh does not care, as long as Australia are winning. 

"It's great to see them doing well again. They've got some good young players coming through," said the captain who led Australia in 15 of their world record 16 consecutive Test victories after taking over from Mark Taylor in 1999. 

"The great thing about world cricket nowadays is a lot of teams are capable of beating each other." 

Top-ranked England's 3-0 series drubbing at the hands of Pakistan on Monday was a stark reminder, and with Australia on the up the 2013 Ashes in England looks like an even fight after the Aussies suffered defeat in the last two editions.