Home > Cricket > Special
The Rediff Special
A reign to remember
May 04, 2005
- Steve Waugh led in 57 Tests, won 41, lost 9, drew 7
Steve Waugh took Australian cricket to heights never reached before.
He succeeded Mark Taylor as Test captain in 1999 and led Australia in 15 of their world record 16 successive Test victories.
His double century (200) in the fourth Test against the West Indies helped Australia script a memorable 2-1 series triumph in the Caribbean, which started the team's winning streak.
During the late nineties, he was regarded as one of the world's best middle-order batsmen, the most difficult to dismiss.
Bowlers hurled everything at him, from spin to pace, but returned to their mark breathless, and disappointed, as Waugh stood tall. Nothing could get him down, not even a blow on the body or helmet.
One of the regrets of his career is not being able to win a series in India, something he publicly declared.
It was appropriate that he retired in January 2004, after playing in one of the best-ever series against his most fierce opponents.
That India-Australia series will be remembered for the gutsy batting of Waugh in the final Test and the fitting emotional farewell that followed.
One of the important aspects of Waugh's captaincy was that he drew respect and trust from his team.
"If Steve asked me to run into a brick wall, I would run as fast as I could and hit the wall as hard as I could. I would not question his request. I trust and respect everything he says," Justin Langer said, when questioned about his relationship with Waugh.
Waugh captained Australia in 57 Tests, winning 41 of those, and drawing only 7, for an astonishing win percentage of 71.93.
His batting record was even more impressive. He amassed 10,927 runs in 168 Tests at 51.06, with 32 centuries and 50 half-centuries.
He quit cricket at 36, and there was no doubt that when he left he had established Australia as the super-power of world cricket.