Steve Waugh has rejoined the Australian squad, ahead of the fourth Ashes Test, as mentor after the team’s debacle in the third Test at Headingley, Leeds, following his exit after the second Test. The former Australian captain will be staying with the team till the end of the Test series with an aim to pep up the confidence level of Tim Paine & Co.
The visitors were on the verge of retaining the Ashes in the third Test before a monstrous effort from Ben Stokes saw England snatch victory from the jaw of Australia. Stokes, along with tailender Jack Leach, added 76 runs for the 10th wicket and played an unbeaten knock of 135 to level the series for the home team in the most dramatic manner possible.
The 1999 World Cup-winning captain arrived in Manchester late on Sunday and would be resuming his job from Monday. Australia head coach Justin Langer praised the Waugh’s efforts to return in the time of crisis and said, “We asked him to stay for the third Test, but he had to go back (home) for a function. To come back after such a long time away from the game, his passion and enthusiasm for the game have been brilliant and it’s going to be great.”
Langer also lauded Ricky Pointing, who joined the Australian supporting staff as the assistant coach before the World Cup, earlier this year. “Guys like ‘Punter’ (Ponting) and Steve Waugh, not only have they got a great presence within the group but they’re great psychologists as well. They’ve been in the cauldron before, they’ve seen it before,” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
Waugh has been an experienced mentor and has worked in similar roles before. He did not limit himself to only cricket and mentored the athletes from other fields of sports too. He held the monitoring position in Australia’s Olympic team for the 2008 Games in Beijing and 2012 in London. “A lot of my work is done in the nets or in the hotel or going for a walk in the morning. It’s observing with fresh eyes and if I can get the players more confident and relaxed, I see that as my role,” Waugh was quoted as saying after the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.