By Brendan McArdle
March 24, 2006
Brendan McArdle has drafted a letter that Steve Waugh might consider
writing to Brett Lee after the bowler's recent remarks.
I was more than a little surprised and disappointed with your comments
the other day. I'm delighted that you and Ricky are getting along so
well, but did I detect some inferred criticism of my leadership?
Mate, from the moment you burst on to the scene for NSW, I pushed your
case for national selection. We were all greatly impressed by your pace
and spirit, and you made an immediate impact on our all-conquering team
in your early days representing your country. Just like now, we had
Warney and Pigeon to keep things under control and you were our
You say you were confused about your role under my captaincy, but I
don't exactly know what you mean. I used you in reasonably short spells
and wanted you to bowl as quickly as you could, a perfectly obvious
ploy for a bowler of your type. I set reasonably attacking fields, and,
as shown by our unprecedented run of success in both forms of the game,
we were handsomely rewarded on the scoreboard.
No doubt some of your disappointment about my tactics stems from that
final Test of mine against India in Sydney. Match figures of 4-276 off
52 overs are ugly in anyone's language, but you can't blame confusion
for all of it. We really missed Shane and Glenn in that series, and
India had some class batsmen. I know Ian Chappell bagged me in that
match, but maybe you just bowled badly. You probably showed then that
you just weren't capable of leading a depleted attack.
There were plenty of times when I was happy to carry your waywardness
because of the intimidation factor. On the 2001 tour of England, you
took only nine wickets at 55 apiece, and all the experts wanted Flem in
your spot. But we stuck by you because we all knew that Nasser and
Thorpey didn't fancy your pace, along with a few others. Mind you, you
can't blame me for that disaster when you got hammered all over
Headingley and we lost - I was nursing my injured calf and Gilly was
Not long after I retired, you spent a good 12 months out of the Test
team. You must have been terribly frustrated, but you bowled
beautifully in one-day cricket throughout that period, and it was just
unfortunate for you that Kasper was going so well. You and Punter must
have had mixed emotions watching from the sidelines in India 18 months
ago when Gilly led the boys to that ground-breaking victory. I still
have nightmares now about that damn follow-on in Calcutta in 2001.
It was disappointing to lose the Ashes last year, but you showed plenty
of ticker yourself with both bat and ball. However, I couldn't for the
life of me understand the tactics at the Oval. What did you and Ricky
talk about at lunch on that last day? It made for good viewing, but
Pietersen's *** on you soon after was the final nail in the coffin.
I was impressed with your recent Australian summer, particularly with
the maturity that seems to be coming into your bowling, though we all
know the West Indies aren't much chop. The days of Curtly and Viv are
Good to see that you've continued the good form over there in South
Africa, and that you're still giving that Graeme Smith plenty of grief.
Some challenges lie ahead in the next few years, as the two champs
won't be around forever.
Keep up the good work, but please be a bit more diplomatic when you're
talking to those media blokes. STEVE WAUGH