Australia in India
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    India 265/6
    (50 ov)
    Australia 269/6     (48 ov)

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Steve Waugh Column

I am proud that everybody gave 100%
Steve Waugh - 10 April 2001

Steve Waugh
While I did not use the terms "last frontier" or "final frontier" to describe the Australian tour to India - someone made it up along the way - I certainly said that it would be a great challenge for the team to win here. We had set our sights on extending our streak here and there is no doubt that I am disappointed we could not win the series. However, I am not unhappy with the way we played and I am proud that everybody gave their 100 per cent in pursuit of this dream.

Australian Team
There are obviously different opinions about where exactly this Australian team stands in the immortality list of all-time great teams. I have no doubts that when it's all finished and when this team is together no more, everybody will speak highly of it, especially when they consider the record we have set. Sixteen wins in a row is a tremendous run of matches and it is a record that will take some breaking. All I can say is that this side is a very competitive one and will give many sides of the past a run for their money.

This was definitely a hard-fought series and I won't deny that a few incidents did take place in the field. However, I guess everybody involved will learn from their mistakes and I don't think the things that were said and done have left a bitter taste. The moments were also exaggerated and that did not help at all. There was a lot at stake for both teams and many players on both sides reacted at the heat of the moment in a manner they would regret at leisure. On the eve of the Goa match, Cammie Smith spoke to the team managements of both sides, and that helped clear the air before the last game. All said and done the cricket here was tough and enjoyable right through.

As far as Sourav Ganguly is concerned, I would not like to comment on his captaincy. I'm sure the Indians are happy since he has led them to victory and that's what matters. While I have nothing personal against him, I would have to admit that it was not an easy relationship.

Indian Team
The Indians definitely had a tough edge to them this time round and are a different side at home from what they are abroad. For them the real challenge is to win Tests away from home, only then will they be considered a side that can excel in all conditions. There is certainly a great difference in the team that toured Australia a little over a year ago and the team that we played against here. This team looks pretty confident at the moment and back themselves. They are probably a little more positive and seem to be better organised than any of the Indian teams I have played against in my career. The tough edge that they have discovered helped them overcome difficult circumstances in the Test series and this is why they eventually emerged winners. They won the vital moments in the series, and were deserving winners in the end.

Since we lost the Test series, there has been some conjecture as to whether we could have picked some of the players who were left behind. I have no regrets on that score. We were one wicket away from winning in Calcutta on the fourth morning, and that one wicket would have won us the series. Full credit to the way the Indians fought on that day to turn the tide in their favour.

Positives have emerged for both sides during the series and none more so for us than Matthew Hayden. He had been on the bench for quite some time and is proof that if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it with hard work. He was our most successful player by far and never failed right through the series. On the Indian side, the tremendous performance of Harbhajan Singh would be a plus. He took an enormous number of wickets and made the absence of Anil Kumble seem like a blessing in disguise. Who knows, if Kumble had been fit he may not have even got a chance to play.

There were a few defining moments in the series, but my handling the ball was certainly not one of them. A freak dismissal is just one moment, it happened to Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai too, and cannot change the course of a Test too much.

Harbhajan Singh
It was the manner in which Harbhajan got more than a couple of wickets at a time that finally proved decisive. That, and the epochal innings played by VVS Laxman. His innings lifted the rest of the side and showed them that they can play positively against our team.

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Other Articles by Steve Waugh:

"It's nice to end the tour on a winning note" (07 April 2001)
"Rotation system is towards a long-term goal" (31 March 2001)
"It is nice to have some new blood in the side" (25 March 2001)
"We are backing Warne to do well on this track" (17 March 2001)
"I may have played my last game at Eden Gardens" (15 March 2001)
"We are not taking the Indians lightly" (10 March 2001)
"Five bowlers I rate highly" (06 March 2001)
"It's a smart move by Ganguly to play in Delhi" (05 March 2001)
"I dedicate this victory to the memory of Sir Don" (01 March 2001)

Teams Australia, India.
Players/Umpires Steve Waugh, Sourav Ganguly, Matthew Hayden, Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S.Laxman.
Tours Australia in India

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