Averages ... Mark Waugh
By STEVE SPINKS
FORMER Australian cricketer and half of a famous twin pairing, Mark Waugh, believes Test cricket could be at its lowest standard for decades.
Waugh, who will be in Ballina on Saturday night for a Tintenbar-East Ballina Cricket Club fundraising auction, was forthright with his views on Test cricket and the bloated records of batsmen around the world.
"Averages are definitely an indication of your career," Waugh said.
"But at the moment every batsman around the world seems to averaging between 45 and 50.
"I think the weak bowling attacks of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are definitely not up to Test standard and maybe they do bump up the averages a bit.
"But there is also a bit of weakness in bowling generally.
"A lot of good bowlers have retired in the past few years like Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald, Darren Gough, Andy Caddick, Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.
"There is definitely a transition period happening."
It's hard not to agree with Waugh's point of view.
Facing up to a rampaging Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in their prime is a little more disconcerting than taking on the might of Bangladesh.
The 128-Test veteran was in India to watch Australia break their hoodoo with their first series victory in India for more than 30 years.
"I thought Australia played well," Waugh said.
"But I thought India were a little disappointing, because Australia never really looked like losing."
He was also impressed with former Lismore cricketer Adam Gil-christ's effort captaining the Aussies in the first three Tests.
"He did a great job," Waugh said.
"It's not easy to wicketkeep and set a field as well . . . it takes plenty of concentration."
Despite never winning on the sub-continent, Waugh wasn't too disappointed that he wasn't a part of the record-breaking team.
"You like to beat everybody overseas and obviously India is one place I didn't win," he said.
"Maybe it was built up too much, but it doesn't worry me.
"The series in 2001 was actually the best series I played in.
"They were unbelievable games and we were basically beaten by a freak partnership by Laxman and Dravid."
After retiring from playing last season, Waugh has thrown himself into writing a column for the Sun-Herald, commentary on Fox Sports and plenty of promotional work.
The avid punter even managed to attend his first Melbourne Cup recently.
He is also in the process of launching his next venture, Club Waugh Racing, which will be a horse racing syndicate.
While on the Far North Coast, Waugh will catch up with his grandmother Ella Waugh, who lives in Ballina.
Limited tickets for the auction night at the Ballina Jockey Club are still available, but they need to be pre-purchased. No tickets will be sold at the door.
There will be plenty of signed sporting goods including memorabilia from Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Waugh up for auction.
Tickets are $75 with children $55, which includes a meal. For further information contact Brett Crawford on 0419 815 259.