Loyalty to money in modern game: Waugh
Aussie legend says skewed focus from today's players is 'tough on the fans'
19 April 2016, 07:39 PM AEST
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh believes the nature of the modern game means the focus of many players is now on money over team success.
With the proliferation of lucrative domestic T20 competitions around the world, players can earn vast sums once considered unthinkable in cricket, and Waugh says such a situation has led to a focus on earning capacity, which he conceded is understandable.
"Somebody like Brendon McCullum retired from Test cricket even though I feel he still had three-four years in him," Waugh told Indian media at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin.
"He is just working for superannuation right now, for his family, which is alright. Overall I feel there is no loyalty to the team, there is loyalty to money now. I don't blame the players but it’s tough on the fans."
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Waugh added that the demands of each of the three formats meant it was unlikely that any one country would be able to dominate across the board.
South Africa bucked that school of thought by reaching the No.1 ranking in all three formats simultaneously in 2012, and Australia was on the precipice of following suit ahead of a T20 hiding by India only three months ago.
But more broadly, Waugh's assessment is accurate, as the West Indies' recent ICC World T20 success highlighted.
"I think Australia is the closest when it comes to striking a balance (between the three formats)," he said.
"India has the potential and England is also coming up nicely … I think it's impossible to strike a perfect balance given that there are three different teams. It's not realistic.
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"There is a danger (of focusing too much on T20 cricket) and we all know that. Look at West Indies.
"The incentive to play T20 cricket is so much more than Test cricket.
"I appreciate that (Australia) put Test cricket on a pedestal and because of that probably T20 has suffered but I respect Cricket Australia for giving primacy to Test cricket.
"As a result we didn’t have a settled line-up in World T20 and we got what we deserved. I guess there will be a shakeup and we will pay T20s a bit more respect."