Waugh nod for change

T20 wave

 Steve Waugh has some lessons for Bangalore’s youngsters. DH Photo

“Yes, it is exciting. Cricket will only get bigger and bigger as years go by,” said Waugh on the sidelines of a clinic with young cricketers on Thursday. “It is particularly exciting for younger guys stepping on the world stage of cricket for the first time. Some of the New South Wales members have not played before in India, in front of huge crowd and large TV coverage. It is almost a dream come true.”

While domestic T20 competitions may have thrown up more opportunities for youngsters, the chance to play for the country remains the ultimate for the 1999 World Cup-winning captain. “Representing the country would be the ultimate honour. I felt great pride representing Australia and imagine how an Indian cricketer would feel representing one billion people.

“It is nice playing for clubs because that is where you make your money. At the end of the day you want to be representing your country,” said Waugh, whose foundation is associated with 6UP -- a mobile prediction game launched during this year’s Champions Trophy.

The money apart, T20 competitions provided a chance for youngsters to showcase their talent and Waugh felt he would not be surprised if a few make it to their national squad from the upcoming CL T20. “The selectors from each country get more chances to see how players perform under pressure. I am sure with CL T20 we would see a few players starting their international careers, because they get chance to perform on the world stage and under pressure. And, if they do well they could get picked for their national side.”

Waugh, however, said Test cricket would remain the peak. “You’ve got to expand the game to capture audiences in China and United States. Newer competitions provide more platform for the the growth of cricket. T20 is exciting time but Test cricket is the ultimate challenge. As long as we work this together, it’s fantastic.”

Waugh, one of the most successful Test captains, said he had another ‘final frontier’ to conquer. “My passion right now is philanthropy. Cricket is no more my number one priority. I started my Australia foundation -- Steve Waugh Foundation -- five years ago and now we have a global foundation. Underneath that we will fit the Steve Waugh India Foundation, which is starting up right now.

“It is focussed towards rare diseases which is a big issue in Australia as well as India. It needs a co-ordinated approach so that people affected get the right doctors.  It is a more important frontier to conquer than playing sport. This is another challenge and that is why I like it.”

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