Australia’s players will have the experience of Steve Waugh to lean upon once again for the upcoming fourth Ashes Test against England at Headingley with the former skipper rejoining the squad as mentor.
Waugh had been roped in as a mentor for Australia’s Ashes touring party earlier this summer with the former captain spending the first month of the tour in England before he returned home after the second Test at Lord’s.
Waugh was absent at Headingley as England stormed back to level the series on the back of Ben Stokes’ heroics but head coach Justin Langer is delighted to have the 54-year-old’s services once again ahead of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
“We asked him to stay for the third Test, but he had to go back for a function,” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“But he was actually going to fly there, do the function and fly back the next day. That’s how much he’s enjoying it. He’s been like a kid at Christmas.
“To come back after such a long time away from the game, his passion and enthusiasm for the game has been brilliant and it’s going to be great.”
Waugh is not the only former Australia skipper to be roped in by Cricket Australia as mentor for the men’s team in 2019. Ricky Ponting performed a similar mentorship role for the Australian team in the 2019 World Cup and Langer has given the approach his stamp of approval.
“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,” Langer said.
“They’ve been in the cauldron before, they’ve seen it before.
“We talk about developing our leadership in Australian cricket, to have your guys being able to learn from people of that calibre is very important short term, but longer term there’s huge value in that.”
Langer will now hope Waugh’s return for the Old Trafford clash can inspire his troops once again in their quest to retain the Ashes urn on English soil for the first time since 2001. The five-match series is currently locked at 1-1 ahead of the penultimate Test at Manchester which gets underway on September 4.
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