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The game should not be Americanised: Waugh

By Our Special Correspondent

MUMBAI, SEPT. 2. Steve Waugh knows more than a bit about the decline in the form of batsmen and bowlers, and the fluctuating fortunes of a team. He said Sourav Ganguly's team would have to elevate its game in order to return to its winning ways.

"The Indians have not played much and are coming off a break. Australia has always rated India highly. Some of the Indian players have been around for a long while and they raise their game when they are up against the best. I'm sure they'll be fired up when the home series against Australia comes around," he said.

Waugh, now busy writing a book and a column for an Australian newspaper, flew into the city on Wednesday aboard the inaugural non-stop Qantas flight from Sydney.

He talked more about cricket than business and said that cricket had been part of his life and would continue to be so in the future.

He shed some light on how Australia had managed to make a clean sweep of its last 12 ODI finals.

"The Australians embrace the title matches and look forward to pressure situations. After winning two or three finals, Australians play with confidence and work hard at their game," he said.

He also agreed with Ricky Ponting's statement that too much technology should not be introduced into the game.

"The game is interesting enough as it is and I wouldn't want to see it Americanised too much with stoppages and time-outs. Cricket will lose something if technology comes into it in a big way. It will break the flow and excitement."

Memorable moments

Recalling several of his memorable visits to India since 1986, Waugh said, "I have a lot of friends here. The 2001 series was the greatest I've ever played in. I will never forget the Mumbai Test in which Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist got hundreds, but more importantly it was unforgettable because of the noise of the crowd when Sachin Tendulkar was batting.

"I could hardly communicate to my own players and we had to use hand signals.

"It was a nightmare for me. Tendulkar was unlucky to be caught, when he pulled the ball onto Justin Langer fielding close and the ball bobbed up to Ricky Ponting who took a great catch."

Waugh travelled with 280 passengers on the non-stop flight from Sydney.

"Previously the flight used to be 18 hours, via Singapore, Hong Kong or Bangkok. But it's only 11 hours and 15 minutes now. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the vegetable samosas served on the flight."

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