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Thread: Steve Waugh - the overrated test captain

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    International Debutant Salamuddin's Avatar
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    Steve Waugh - the overrated test captain

    In the captaincy thread, we had Steve Waugh v Ganguly and people telling us how Waugh was just this unbelievably good captain ( a captaincy great was how Marc the Warwickshire Zealot put it) .

    .......Steve Waugh was a great batsman, no arguments from me on that count.....one of the best I have seen in 15 years of test match watching....but as a captain, I think he was better than Ponting (which isn't really saying much ) but well below the brilliant Mark taylor and Allan Border.

    I think Waugh just reaped what Taylor and AB sowed....he captained an Aussie team at the absolute zenith of their powers....with Mcgrath, Fleming, Gillespie and Warne at their absolute peaks backed by Useful bowlers in Kasper and McGill......even Scaly Piscine could have captained that Australian team with success.

    The reason I don't think Waugh was that great as a captain was that he often lacked a Plan B....sure PLan A worked most of the time thanks to the quality of the team he was captaining, but when an opposition decided to fight it out....in particular when two opposition batsmen were well set and putting on a big partnership, he seemed completely bereft of ideas and would instruct his bowlers to bowl wide outside off stump in the hope of inducing a mistake from the batsmen.
    It was the same tactic he tried in the Windies in 1999 when Lara made his big scores, in India in 2001 (where it came horribly unstuck), against NZl at Perth in 2001 and against India at home in 2003-2004.
    Needless to say Australia failed to win any of those series and I think his unimaginative captaincy definitely played a role in that.

    In short, decent captain but definitely overrated.

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    U19 Debutant _TiGeR-ToWn_'s Avatar
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    I would have to agree there with you, slightly. He did happen to reap the rewards of the hard yards done by Taylor and Border, his team was one of the greatest we have seen and for a few years no team came close to beating them.

    But the team did need a leader to set them on the correct path and that is why I believe that he was the right person for the job. He was able to control and take this team of champions and meld them into a champion team.
    "I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying." MJ

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    Banned Pratters's Avatar
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    Never thought Steve Waugh was any where near a great captain myself. Some of the field placements I saw him implement weren't very good. I would put guys like Cronje and Fleming way ahead of him.

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    He wasn't a great captain with regards to tactics and field placements and modern captains like Fleming and Vaughan would beat him there. But I still feel Steve Waugh was a good captain because of his attitude towards the captaincy and towards the game, he was such a gritty batsman that a lot of people on this forum would choose him as the one batsman they would want to bat for their lives.

    This was where Waugh's greatness truly shone through because with a leader that would do anything within his powers to try and win the game then the team he was leading would surely take some inspiration from that. I mean sure he lead a team of superstars like Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath but he also fought tooth and nail for his team and his country. That is why I think Steve Waugh is a great test captain.
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    International Vice-Captain Slats4ever's Avatar
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    steve waugh's problem was that he could never be a considered a great captain because of the brilliance of the players he had!!!

    he did an ok job... few things at times he shoulda done differently but overall ok... heaps better than ponting
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    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Steve Waugh can be considered a great captain not because he pulled a team out of the mire ala Border, but because he turned a world-class side into an all-time great one. Towards the end of Taylor's leadership, the Australian public could reasonably expect the national team to win about half their games. At Waugh's peak, a serious media inquest was held every time his men didn't garner a positive result every Test. Why? He realized that most of a cricket game is played between the ears, and that a player's greatest asset is his confidence - and he did his best to instil that in his charges. He brought in guest speakers, placed a huge emphasis on body language and backed his teammates to the very end.

    Critics also accuse Waugh of being blessed with great personnel. Conveniently, they forget that it was he that bred a lot of this talent through the influence of his captaincy. Gilchrist wouldn't be what he is today if Waugh hadn't asked him to open the batting in 1998-99, he provided much-needed support for a mentally shot Warne in the 1999 World Cup (who rewarded him with two match-winning performances) and he supervised the resurgence of Ponting who was staring at a career of Sydney pub brawls and a moderately successful FC career in 1999.

    Great captaincy isn't just about field placements and bowling changes. Waugh was a true leader of men.
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    Cricket Spectator Anon E-Mouse's Avatar
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    I think you may be doing Border a disservice.& giving a little to much credit to Waugh at the same time. Border dragged the Aussie team out of the dump & made them what the have become Waugh just took the credit

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    International Debutant Salamuddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy
    Steve Waugh can be considered a great captain not because he pulled a team out of the mire ala Border, but because he turned a world-class side into an all-time great one. Towards the end of Taylor's leadership, the Australian public could reasonably expect the national team to win about half their games. At Waugh's peak, a serious media inquest was held every time his men didn't garner a positive result every Test. Why? He realized that most of a cricket game is played between the ears, and that a player's greatest asset is his confidence - and he did his best to instil that in his charges. He brought in guest speakers, placed a huge emphasis on body language and backed his teammates to the very end.

    Critics also accuse Waugh of being blessed with great personnel. Conveniently, they forget that it was he that bred a lot of this talent through the influence of his captaincy. Gilchrist wouldn't be what he is today if Waugh hadn't asked him to open the batting in 1998-99, he provided much-needed support for a mentally shot Warne in the 1999 World Cup (who rewarded him with two match-winning performances) and he supervised the resurgence of Ponting who was staring at a career of Sydney pub brawls and a moderately successful FC career in 1999.

    Great captaincy isn't just about field placements and bowling changes. Waugh was a true leader of men.

    I'd say Australia's transformation from a very good team into a truly great one was due more to John Buchanan than Steve Waugh.......
    certainly it coincided with Buchanan's appointment....

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    Cricket Spectator Anon E-Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salamuddin
    I'd say Australia's transformation from a very good team into a truly great one was due more to John Buchanan than Steve Waugh.......
    certainly it coincided with Buchanan's appointment....
    See` above comment

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    U19 Debutant Alysum's Avatar
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    how the hell can you say that to the most succesfull captain of all time? Sure he had good players with him but you still have to manage the field and who bowls dont you?

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    International Debutant Salamuddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alysum
    how the hell can you say that to the most succesfull captain of all time? Sure he had good players with him but you still have to manage the field and who bowls dont you?

    It's what you do when things are not going well that counts and Waugh loses big time on that count......

    He lost/drew series he should have won comfortably and I think his unimaginative captaincy deserves some blame for that.

    The series I'm talking about
    Wi 1999
    India 2001
    Home v NZl 2001
    Home v india 2003-3004

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    I wonder if perhaps it isn't people like Flemming who are over-rated. With Steve Waugh, people are very critical of his failures (in some cases rightly slow), but I'd argue lose perspective because they don't recognise that his plans failed rarely. In Flemming case people talk about how insightful his field placings are and how great his general leadership is, but given how often NZ fails at test cricket, isn't it right to say his plans fail consistently, and he is constantly caught lacking a Plan B. It's been argued NZ don't have strong enough personal, but they same to do decently in the one day arena.

    In Waugh's case he took a similar team to the one Taylor had at the end of his tenure, and completely turned them around. There was a ruthless streak the Australian's had with Waugh, I'm not sure if there's every been any other test captain who has chased a win the way Waugh did.

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    International Debutant Salamuddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Complicated
    I wonder if perhaps it isn't people like Flemming who are over-rated. With Steve Waugh, people are very critical of his failures (in some cases rightly slow), but I'd argue lose perspective because they don't recognise that his plans failed rarely. In Flemming case people talk about how insightful his field placings are and how great his general leadership is, but given how often NZ fails at test cricket, isn't it right to say his plans fail consistently, and he is constantly caught lacking a Plan B. It's been argued NZ don't have strong enough personal, but they same to do decently in the one day arena.

    In Waugh's case he took a similar team to the one Taylor had at the end of his tenure, and completely turned them around. There was a ruthless streak the Australian's had with Waugh, I'm not sure if there's every been any other test captain who has chased a win the way Waugh did.
    But Waugh captained against much poorer sides than Taylor or Border.
    Furthermore, his record when he did face tougher oppostion (WIO in 1998/1999, SRi Lanka and India away) isn't as dominant.

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    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Which were, incidentally, three of the four series that he didn't win as captain.

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    He also had the testicular fortitude to insist that he got the right team of great players. A lot of the foundation of Waugh's most successful period as captain came from the extended run of great form of the Hayden and Langer combo at the top. This only came about because Waugh, in particular, was prepared to draw a line in the sand with Slater when the latter was coming off the rails and starting to disrupt the team. If you've read Slats book, it was sad for the player, but I think history vindicated Waugh in this case, although he couldn't have guessed how successful moving Langer into open would haev been. Given Slater's record, a lot of people might have let it run on longer, with more disruption to the team, and probably lost a series or two before the hard choice was made. You look at some other teams that have let personalities come before the team and the damage that's done. In cases like this Waugh showed real leadership and commitment to his goal, although some people like Slater might never quite forgive him for it. You wonder whether Gillespie would have got so many chances to stuff up the team during the 2005 Ashes if Waugh was at the helm rather than Ponting...
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