FAREWELL FRIENDS 27/11/03
Decision evolved over a period of time
In a column exclusive to TOI, Aussie skipper Steve Waugh, 38, who has announced hisretirement from Test cricket, effective after India’s tour, looks back at his career.
Throughout my playing career, I’ve heard many times that you’ll know when it’stime to call it a day. They said: “One morning you will just wake up and knowinstantaneously that you want to retire or it’s time for a change of direction.’’Well I’m here to tell you that it has never been that black and white to me.Over the years there have been moments of self doubt that haven’t always had astraightforward answer, but whenever these challenging times have cropped up,they have always been extinguished quickly. The thought of being able to achievesomething new every day and to believe you can improve, have always drawn meto the challenges that lie ahead. Over the past 18 months the ‘R’ word has been aconstant, never more than a couple of questions away at any given pressconference, regularly written about in newspaper articles, and discussed by justabout everyone.It has been both bewildering and expected, from my perspective. The formerbecause I’ve always seen myself as just a cricketer from the western suburbs of Sydney who happened to be lucky enough to live out his dreams and play for, andcaptain, Australia. To have so much attention on my departure just feels strange, but I can alsounderstand that after having played for Australia since Boxing Day 1985 I havebeen a part of people’s lives for nearly 20 years. When you get to a certain age as aprofessional cricketer, you tend to be categorized. As a bowler, 33-35 is an agewhen the issues tend to focus on how much longer have you got. A batsman mayhave the luxury of a couple of extra years’ grace. But I will always argue that age isirrelevant unless you have two competing players of equal skill, desire, commitmentand fitness levels. This criterion equally applies to youth and if someone meetsthese requirements at 15 years of age, then their youth shouldn’t be used againstthem.My decision to retire was made in consultation with my family and my management.It’s been a decision that has evolved over a period of time and one I believe hasbeen made at the right time. I’m glad that I didn’t finish after last season’s Sydney Test, even though it would have been a fairytale finish. I knew I had something left