Steve Waugh says ICC must flex rules to ensure results

Steve Waugh felt that Australia were unlucky to not win the third Ashes Test against England as rain played spoilsport © Getty Images

New Delhi: Aug 7, 2013

Steve Waugh said the International Cricket Council (ICC) must flex its rules to ensure results in cricket matches. He said in light of Australia’s drawn third Ashes Test against England.

Play on Day Four of the Test was stopped for bad light half-an-hour before the scheduled close. After a while, once stumps were drawn, the sun shone for almost an hour. On Day Five only a handful of overs were completed as the heavens opened up. The match was drawn and England retained the Ashes with a 2-0 lead.

Waugh was of the opinion that Australia were unlucky not to win the Test in Manchester. “It was unfortunate that the weather ruined our chances at Old Trafford. We should have won that Test and the series would still be alive. But I guess the weather gods were on England’s side,” Waugh told the Hindustan Times.

He also said that the ICC must be more flexible in its rules as the fans suffer the most. “It’s important for everyone to be a little flexible. You are cheating the spectators sometimes. If ICC and the umpires were a little more flexible, Australia would have got to bowl more overs on Sunday, and a result would have been possible. I can understand Michael Clarke’s frustration.”

When asked whether the play should have been restarted on Day Four once the sun came out, Waugh replied, “Absolutely, because even the spectators who have arrived at the ground want to get their money’s worth and see a full day’s play.

“When conditions are perfect for cricket, an effort should be made to restart. There has to be a sense of flexibility from ICC. As governors of the game, they too want results, and give spectators what they want. Even TV audiences suffer. If you restart play, everyone benefits. That’s why these new rules need to be looked into.”

Despite Australia losing their third straight Ashes, Waugh was not too disappointed with the current team. The former Australia captain even praised current incumbent Clarke. “I am not very disappointed, to be honest. There have been a lot of positives for Australia. Michael Clarke is doing a fantastic job as skipper.”

Waugh, who is in India currently, also took time to discuss the coaching structures between India and Australia. “Over the years, Australia has always had the best academies, the best system to identify a talent pool and compete at the highest level. We need to start believing in ourselves again.

“I think the Indians have a better system in place today. And we’d actually like to use some of your coaches,” said Waugh jokingly.

The 1999 World Cup-winning captain has been involved as a mentor for Australia’s Olympic contingents. Australia have always been involved in various sports and have also excelled in many of them.

When asked about where India stands as a diverse sporting nation, Waugh said, “One thing I’ve noticed a lot, since I keep coming to India, is that interest in other sports has improved over the last few years. There is definitely a feeling that kids out there want to play more than just cricket.

“I obviously can’t say the same about your hockey structure. I’ve been around, and discovered that India has only 14 astro turfs. A small nation like Holland has 400 astro turfs. It’s a shame since hockey was a popular Indian sport at a time,” concluded Waugh.