Shane Warne recalls how Steve Waugh’s decision to enforce the follow-on cost Australia the 2001 Kolkata Test
Warne also lauded Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman for the magnificent knocks.
Updated - Aug 23, 2020 1:09 pm
One of the most popular and dramatic Test matches ever was played in 2001 at Kolkata. India won the game against the mighty Australians, who were at their best, and had won the first encounter of the series rather easily. It was only the third time a team won the match after being made to follow on. There are a lot of stories about the Test and how the two heroes of the game, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, turned the tables on the visitors
Australia had won 16 consecutive Tests before the one in Eden Gardens. Their captain, Steve Waugh, asked Indians to bat again when the conditions were humid. Shane Warne, one of the legends of Australian cricket, feels that Australia could have easily taken their streak to 17 matches if they just had continued to bat in the third innings.
“It’s completely different conditions [to the ongoing England Test],” he said on commentary for Sky Sports during the England-Pakistan Test when Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler put on a 359-run partnership for the 5th wicket.
“It was 45 degrees, we’d been out on the field for a long time, the wicket was going to get worse. I think at that time, I remember Steve Waugh coming out to us bowlers … [Jason] Gillespie, think [Glenn] McGrath, myself and I think [Michael] Kasprowicz was there. He remembered him asking how were they feeling. Kasprowicz, the least experienced speedster who had bowled 13 overs, said, ‘Let’s go, skip, I’m ready to go!’
“And I was like, ‘Come on, Kaspa [Kasprowicz]’. It was completely different conditions back then, and Steve Waugh was adamant that he wanted to win that record amount of Test matches in a row, I think it was 17. To me, it was the only way India could win that Test match. If we go and bat again, make the 200 – the lead was 450  – they try to defend it, it’s a different game. So, yeah. I thought he got that wrong,” Warne added.
Laxman and Dravid played beautifully, says Warne
Warne praised the two protagonists of the game as well. He mentioned that their innings was incredible and he had to accept that. Both of them played in severe conditions and put up a remarkable 376-run stand.
“But they played beautifully, Laxman and Dravid. In my time of playing, [it was] as good an innings as there was. Laxman’s innings was beautiful, Dravid’s was too. Sometimes you’ve got to dig down and say, ‘Too good’,” Warne said
Both Waugh and Warne were a part of a tussle when they played together as well as earlier this year. The leg-spinner, in his autobiography, termed the former Australian captain as the most selfish cricketer he had played with. He later restated his comments on Twitter. The former skipper responded with, “His comments are a reflection of himself, nothing to do with me. That’s all I’d say.”
For the record AGAIN & I’ve said this 1000 times – I do not hate S Waugh at all. FYI – I picked him in my all time best Australian team recently. Steve was easily the most selfish cricketer that I ever played with and this stat……. https://t.co/QMigV788L7
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) May 15, 2020