The final farewell
06 Jan 2007
By: Zac Gelman
As the Ashes came to a close, so did the careers of three integral members of the powerhouse Australian side of the past decade and more. Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer, have all played their last Test Match with the completion of Australia's five - nil drubbing of England. They were all emotional and reflective of their past glories and their future prospects.
Justin Langer who was clearly stirred in his last match, told the media that although he had a tear in his eye during the game, he was happy that it had come to an end.
"I'm actually a little relieved it's over," he said.
"I feel exhausted, to be honest. Talk about perfect finishes, I said to Haydos in that last over, 'Mate, I'm getting a bit emotional out here'. I kept looking at the runs; we had seven to go. I said to him, 'How about a six and a one to finish it?'
"As he ran past Freddie Flintoff, he said, 'The little fella doesn't want much. He wants a six and a one to finish it'. The next thing you know smack! Six, one and then you realise it's all over. That was an amazing moment in my life, really. In terms of a script, you probably couldn't have written a better one."
Langer spoke about how much the scene affected him before and throughout the match.
"When the national anthem was on, I saw my family up in the box and, looking around the room before we went out on the field, I was pretty upset and I'm sure it affected the way I played the first day, I dropped three catches. But that's good. I'd be upset if I wasn't a bit upset about it."
Retiring pace legend Glenn McGrath told of his final wicket and how perfect his last day of Test cricket was.
"If you had to write the script for the perfect ending, to get a wicket on your last ball of Test cricket is the perfect way to do it," he said.
"Seeing off stump cartwheel 10 or 15 metres back is probably the perfect way . . but a slow ball caught at mid-on, I'll take that."
"I think it'll probably hit me more later down the track. At the moment, it's just enjoying it, making the most of it. When I saw that ball go up and 'Huss' was underneath it, I was pretty happy."
The fast bowler noted how well he had played since the Ashes defeat in England in 2005 and how remarkable the comeback since then was.
"The way we've played since the last Ashes has been some of the most outstanding cricket I've been involved in," he said.
"You look back at the first Test in Brisbane and we were really pumped up and ready for that. Since Brisbane, it's been an amazing team performance. There's been no standout player. When we bowled, there was no easy runs and when we batted, they had to work really hard for their wickets. It's just been an awesome team performance.
"The first Test was left over from the Ashes 2005. The rest has just been - this is what we've had to do, focus on it, and we just haven't let up the whole time."
McGrath is not finished yet though, with plenty of one-day cricket left until he retires from all forms of the game after the World Cup.
"I'm looking forward to the next few months; the one-day series and the World Cup. For me personally, there's plenty of focus, plenty of motivation to keep going."
Shane Warne also spoke of life after cricket. The most successful bowler in the history of the game told of how good things would be away from the spotlight.
"Hopefully it will keep people off my front lawn for a while, following me around in cars. Hopefully that will die down," he said
"It will be pretty hard to replace 15 or 16 seasons of your life at the top of the world really."
"We've dominated international cricket, except for a few hiccups along the way"
Warne admitted it would be hard to replace the rush of competitive cricket in his life, but had a few plans in store to help counter the withdrawal symptoms.
"I'm sure playing poker will be up there. Playing pool or snooker, I'll have the odd wager on the golf course. But I don't think that anything can replace the opportunity of playing cricket for Australia."
Warne stressed that it was the perfect time to leave, on a high, at the top of his powers and Australia in a such a firm position.
"To finish on such a high, yes the score was a fantastic win, 5-0, but what is more important is to leave the game in such a good shape and with Australia playing such good cricket."
"They'll replace us three guys and I'm sure Australia will keep playing good cricket and keep winning."
And so ends the careers of three brilliant cricketers who have terrorised opposition bowling and batting attacks for years.
These three players that formed the backbone of this great Australian side for so long, will now have a quiet moment to reflect on their pasts as they plan for their futures away from playing field.
High Score: 250
Best Innings: 8/71
Bowling Average: 25.41
Highest Score: 99
Batting Average 17.32
Best Innings: 8/24
Bowling Average: 21.64Discuss this news item in the Cricket Web Forums