Legends exit with Aussie cricket in fine shape, says Warne
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 8th January 2007
Australian cricket is in far better shape to withstand the retirements
of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer than it was 23 years
ago, Warne said Friday.
The trio of Test greats bowed out as winners in Australia's thumping
10-wicket victory over England in the final Sydney Test to clinch the
first 5-0 Ashes series whitewash in 86 years.
Australian cricket fell into a black hole, winning just seven of their
ensuing 46 Tests following the seismic retirements of Greg Chappell,
Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh after the fifth Sydney Test against
Pakistan in January 1984.
The parallels are obvious with the departures of three influential
members of the contemporary Australian team, but Warne said the
conditions now compared to then were completely different.
"Obviously, at that stage there were a couple of international sides
which were very, very good. And they were three great players for
Australia," Warne said. "The West Indies were a very tough side to even
touch at that stage. At the moment, we're a long way ahead of the next
best side. As you can see, England are rated the next-best side and to
win five-nil - you can't be any more comprehensive than that. So there
is a good gap between Australia and the next best side. That's not
being arrogant, that's just the facts."
The incomparable 37-year-old leg-spinner, who finished his 145-Test
career with 708 wickets at 25.42, said Australian cricket was in great
"First-class cricket in Australia is a good breeding ground for talent
to come in and play. There's some wonderful cricketers out there," he
said. "It's a good time to get some younger players into the Test side,
while it's been so successful, and there is a decent gap between the
next best side. I don't think Australia will come back to the field.
replace us three guys and I'm sure Australia will keep playing good
cricket and winning."
McGrath, Test cricket's leading fast bowler with 563 wickets in 124
Tests, was content in his retirement decision.
"I guess if you had to write the script for the perfect ending,
obviously to get a wicket on your last ball of Test cricket is the
perfect way to do it," he said. "It will hit me more later down the
track. When I saw that ball go up and Mike Hussey was underneath it I
was pretty happy, a perfect way to finish."
McGrath, whose wife has fought breast cancer, said there would be no
change of heart.
"I think we're retired from Test cricket. There will be no comebacks.
It's time for the young guys to step forward now. I think Australia's
in a very healthy position, so there won't be any calls next year for
us to come back."
Opening batsman Langer said he was relieved his 105th and final Test
was behind him.
"Talk about the perfect finish, I said to Haydos (Matthew Hayden) in
the last over, 'Mate, I'm getting a bit emotional here, how about a six
and a one to finish it,'" Langer said. "As he ran past (England
captain) Freddie Flintoff he said 'the little fella doesn't want much,
he wants a six and a one. Next thing you know, bang! A six and a one
and then you actually realize it was all over. It was an amazing moment
in my life. That's probably the perfect script, to be there when the
winning runs are scored with my opening partner, 5-0 up in a Test
Langer finished Test cricket with 7,696 runs at 45.27 with 23
centuries, and is the 20th all-time leading run-getter in Tests, and
sixth all-time Australian.