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Thread: Steve Waugh as Australian Captain - How good was he?

  1. #1
    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    Steve Waugh as Australian Captain - How good was he?

    I've been on this board for just over 2 years now, and one thing I've always found interesting while roaming the endless number of threads on many topics is the varying opinions on the Australian captaincy during their era of dominance, and mainly the role Steve Waugh played as captain.

    I can recall (without being able to link anyone to specific posts, I'm assuming those who hold various opinions will come out in this thread though) some posters claiming Steve Waugh added very little (in terms of pure captaincy, not his batting) to Australia's era of dominance, and was more of a figure head who had it easy, and when he was tested on the odd occasion he sometimes would fall flat. Often the opinion is that the last great Australian captain was Allan Border who did the hard yards building the great Australian team up from one of mediocre players which Taylor and Waugh took advantage of. Others say Mark Taylor too was a great captain, whereas Waugh wasn't. At the same time I've come across posts who have praised Waugh for his 'steel' like nature as captain, and believed he ran a team of champions very well.

    These opinions have always come in between various discussion of captaincy or Steve Waugh in general, rather than in a specific discussion based on his captaincy. I was just wondering what people thought of him as a leader of the Australian cricket team during their one of their greatest and the most successful periods in cricket. Whether it be his tactics, policies, selections etc.

    I myself always found him an excellent captain, but I do believe he wasn't tested enough to be viewed as one of the great captains of contemporary cricket.
    Last edited by Jono; 16-02-2006 at 05:45 AM.
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    International Coach Barney Rubble's Avatar
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    Personally I always felt he was a genuinely outstanding captain. Sometimes it can be difficult to lead a team of stars, because it's difficult to achieve unity - he did that better than most captains I can remember.

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    International Coach social's Avatar
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    Great captain - led by example and was fantastic at man management (see resurrection of Hayden's career as an example).

    To be fair, didnt need to be a great tactician because of players at his disposal and competition.

    IMO, Taylor had it easier as he simply handed ball to McGrath and Warne and got Waugh to score most of the vital runs.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Good man-manager generally but was a pretty ordinary tactician intially (came up with some truly weird fields on occasion). Even at the end, often didn't have a Plan B because, let's face it, how often was it needed?

    But yeah, I said at the time that Warnie should have been made captain of Australia and nothing I saw in Waugh's captaincy would make me alter that. Warnie wasn't the ideal statesman by any stretch but as a captain's captain, he was superb.

    It just stuck in my mind in the 1998 ODI series involving SA and NZ how even when SA were cruising to victory in a few games, when Steve Waugh went off the field a few times, Warnie's captaincy made the game close again. It sort-of went like this; SA cruising needing about 3-an-over to win it, Waugh goes off the field, Warne takes over and sets a few new fields, SA lose a couple of wickets and there's real tension in the air, Waugh returns, SA win easily.
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    State 12th Man Autobahn's Avatar
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    I've always had the impression that Border and Taylor often had to fight harder to get results then Waugh did.

    Great batsmen and leader but didn't really often anything special to the captaincy, plus i think a lot people won't forgive him for ending slater's international career.

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    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autobahn

    plus i think a lot people won't forgive him for ending slater's international career.
    Hear Hear!

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    Hall of Fame Member FaaipDeOiad's Avatar
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    Taylor > Waugh in my opinion, but Waugh was also an excellent captain.

    I think you can only judge a player on what they face, and Waugh had to deal with different problems than other captains. He had to get the best out of a team of stars, and I think he did that superbly. The Waugh method of captaincy had a major impact on international cricket as a whole - the new age of aggressive test cricket is something that will live on as his legacy.

    Also, whatever one might say about Waugh's "Plan B", the fact that he has by far the greatest record of any captain ever speaks highly of his ability to get the very best out of a great team. Waugh's Australian team wasn't just talented, it was absolutely ruthless. Since 1999, Australia have whitewashed about 50% of their series. The West Indies in the 80s whitewashed about 3 or 4 series. That alone is utterly remarkable.

    Still, Taylor was the captain who impressed me more on the field. You never felt like any situation was hopeless with Taylor in charge, and his leadership (not Borders, in my opinion) was what built the foundation for Waugh to make the most successful team in history.
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    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    The times suited Steve Waugh. He was not blessed with a great tactical mind, but with McGrath, Gilchrist, Gillespie and Warne at their zenith, he didn't need to be. To make that team great, they needed a ruthless edge. Steve Waugh gave them that...and then some.

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    Hall of Fame Member aussie's Avatar
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    i think he was a outstanding leader and seemed to get the best out of the star players he played with. But maybe he wasn't the best tactician because in the only 2 series when opposition teams got on top of Australia i.e (VB Series 2002 & India in Australia) his captaincy looked very dull TBH. But other thant that his captaincy always was good..

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autobahn
    I've always had the impression that Border and Taylor often had to fight harder to get results then Waugh did.

    Great batsmen and leader but didn't really often anything special to the captaincy, plus i think a lot people won't forgive him for ending slater's international career.
    Border maybe, but Taylor?
    Taylor came into the captaincy at just the right time, and completed the job of making Australia the best in The World (in Tests).
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardj
    The times suited Steve Waugh. He was not blessed with a great tactical mind, but with McGrath, Gilchrist, Gillespie and Warne at their zenith, he didn't need to be. To make that team great, they needed a ruthless edge. Steve Waugh gave them that...and then some.
    This is something I've always found interesting...
    Does anyone seriously believe that Border and Taylor lacked the ruthless edge? No, Waugh just demonstrated it more obviously than either (because he had the chance to), exactly as Michael Vaughan has merely demonstrated team-spirit more obviously than anyone previously.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    I've been on this board for just over 2 years now, and one thing I've always found interesting while roaming the endless number of threads on many topics is the varying opinions on the Australian captaincy during their era of dominance, and mainly the role Steve Waugh played as captain.

    I can recall (without being able to link anyone to specific posts, I'm assuming those who hold various opinions will come out in this thread though) some posters claiming Steve Waugh added very little (in terms of pure captaincy, not his batting) to Australia's era of dominance, and was more of a figure head who had it easy, and when he was tested on the odd occasion he sometimes would fall flat. Often the opinion is that the last great Australian captain was Allan Border who did the hard yards building the great Australian team up from one of mediocre players which Taylor and Waugh took advantage of. Others say Mark Taylor too was a great captain, whereas Waugh wasn't. At the same time I've come across posts who have praised Waugh for his 'steel' like nature as captain, and believed he ran a team of champions very well.

    These opinions have always come in between various discussion of captaincy or Steve Waugh in general, rather than in a specific discussion based on his captaincy. I was just wondering what people thought of him as a leader of the Australian cricket team during their one of their greatest and the most successful periods in cricket. Whether it be his tactics, policies, selections etc.

    I myself always found him an excellent captain, but I do believe he wasn't tested enough to be viewed as one of the great captains of contemporary cricket.
    Stephen Waugh was not a poor captain in my estimation, but certainly I've heard virtually no-one describe him as better than Mark Taylor. I don't believe Waugh did anything that was especially difficult to do, except - maybe - for maintain unity amongst a team of stars. Even so, that's hardly something that's never been done before, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and even, initially, Richie Richardson did so without difficulty.
    I found Stephen Waugh a perfectly adaquete captain, and no more than that. This, however, is no slight on him, because he never got the chance to do anything else. Ricky Ponting has, and has already achieved something Waugh never did - victory in the subcontinent not once, but twice, and on consecutive tours. All right, the India victory wasn't what it was cracked-up to be (and Ponting missed most of the thing anyway) but in Sri Lanka Australia's achievement was a phenominal one. How much of that can be put down to Ponting is, of course, debatable, and it could be argued that by insisting on the selection of Symonds ahead of Katich he actually jeapardised it.
    Ponting also has the chance, of course, to come back from defeat against England, which Waugh never needed to do.
    I'll be getting Waugh's book sometime soon and will probably be able to offer a fuller assessment after reading it.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member archie mac's Avatar
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    Well to be honest I would rate them:

    Waugh
    Taylor
    Border
    Ponting

    I thought Waugh took the Aust. side to a new level. They were more ruthless under him, and early on (once he decided to do things his way) had some great results.

    He set new bench marks for scoring rates, and always played for a result.

    The one thing he did not have was an alternative plan. If the bull at the gate method did not work and the gate would not open, he seemed to just keep banging his head. This cost Aust. a couple of Test matches but only one series.
    You know it makes sense.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I say it again - do you really percieve Waugh as a more ruthless cricketer than either Taylor or Border?
    I don't think he was, I just think he was smart enough to realise that a team which pervaded it's ruthlessness had distinct virtues - as Michael Vaughan has done with making a huge show of team-spirit. He's fooled pretty much everyone into believing his team's team-spirit is unusually good.
    And I think Waugh did the same with ruthlessness. Of course, his team was the best of the lot and so he had more chance to do so.
    Equally, with the getting-loads-of-results - the fact that it's a global trend suggests it wasn't too much to do with him, it was a result of many things - among them better allowances to make-up lost time, better bat technology and, in some cases, more poor batsmanship.
    Of course, the players involved have an effect, too. Waugh didn't make Gilchrist, his brother, Martyn, Hayden, Lehmann, etc. into attacking players, they always were (with a "fairly" on Hayden). The only batsman who has made an obvious, deliberate effort to score quicker under Waugh's leadership is Justin Langer - one of if not his most fervent disciples.
    Last edited by Richard; 16-02-2006 at 02:02 PM.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archie mac
    The one thing he did not have was an alternative plan. If the bull at the gate method did not work and the gate would not open, he seemed to just keep banging his head. This cost Aust. a couple of Test matches but only one series.
    This one not count, then?
    I'll grant you that the 2001-2003\04 strategy had yet to really evolve in those days.

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