India need to win the big matches: Steve Waugh

Friday, February 11, 2011

NEW DELHI - Former Australia captain Steve Waugh rates a more “confident and aggressive” India highly and says they only need to learn how to win big matches like Australia.

Waugh said India, like South Africa, have not been able to win big matches, something the Australians are very good at and their World Cup record is a testimony to it — an “incredible” unbeaten run for 27 matches.

“India are an experienced side and well coached by Gary Kirsten. They are now more aggressive and confident, but they have to start winning the big matches. The South Africans, too, have to win matches that matter. Their past record of not winning big games will haunt them. Australia have won big matches when it mattered and that is what India has to do,” said Waugh on the sidelines of unveiling new games of social mobile gaming company PlayUp, of which he is a brand ambassador.

Waugh, known for his ability to fight pressure situations, has an advice for Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni: “As a captain you have to embrace pressure. If there is no pressure, you will not do well. You can test yourself in the toughest of conditions. As a captain you cannot be in a better situation to test yourself. If you take pressure in a positive way it is good, otherwise you will have problems.”

Waugh, captain of the 1999 World Cup winning team and a member of the 1987 team which won the Cup for the first time in Kolkata, said Ricky Ponting’s team cannot be counted out.

“Australia winning 27 World Cup matches in a row is an incredible run. They are still the number one team. They have a well-balanced side. They have picked four fast bowlers and its an aggressive strategy. The key would be to keep the bowlers fit,” he said.

“Brett Lee is back in the team and he is a sort of player who can motivate the team and provide the impetus.”

“World Cup is all about momentum. In 1999 we did not have a good start and then we began to win matches to get into a momentum. It’s amazing how momentum carries you through.”

Waugh, however, feels that toss is going to play a crucial role from the knock-out stage.

“Toss will be a major factor from quarterfinals onwards because it will be difficult to bowl under lights and dew. It is a bit unfair for the teams,” he said.

Waugh said the absence of injured players Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz would be a big loss.

“Hussey is an important player. I am surprised that he is left out. They could have kept him in the team.”

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