Tribute To Mark Waugh

About this Item
SpeakersAshton Mr Alan
BusinessPrivate Members Statements

Page: 7214

    Mr ASHTON (East Hills) [9.28 p.m.]: Tonight I wish to talk about a lifelong resident of the East Hills electorate and a local hero, who also happens to be a neighbour of mine. His name is Mark Waugh. As we all know, Mark was a great international cricketer for Australia until very recently. He played for Panania Public School, which is my old school; Panania East Hills RSL, which is my old team; Bankstown, the greatest club side in the Sydney grade competition; for New South Wales; and for Australia. He also played English county cricket. I should add that Mark is a great and fanatical fan of the Bulldogs rugby league team.

    Mark played his first Test, against England, in Adelaide and the person he replaced was his brother, Stephen. Mark scored a century on debut and, until three or four weeks ago, has played consistently for Australia ever since. He had waited almost six years and scored thousands of runs before he had the opportunity to play his first Test for Australia. After his four successive ducks in Sri Lanka, Mark's nickname changed briefly from "Afghanistan"—the forgotten Waugh, as he was called at the time by those who knew him pretty well—to "Audi" because of the four-circles symbol on the front of those cars.

    Mark Waugh was, and remains, one of the most elegant, stylish and entertaining cricketers to play for Australia. Whether batting, bowling, fielding, or catching in slips, Australians always wanted him to succeed. As a kid growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I always wanted to see Doug Walters get some runs. Doug was legendary for putting down his cigarette, going into the middle and knocking up the runs. If he was out cheaply he would return to the dressing room and wonder why his cigarette had gone out. Mark also had that great laconic attitude of "what will be, will be" and proved very popular with the fans. Fans got double value when watching the Waughs bat because if Mark did not succeed perhaps Steve would.

    Mr Gaudry: A beautiful batsman.

    Mr ASHTON: I agree with the honourable member for Newcastle. I remember, as a teacher, watching Punchbowl Boys High School senior cricket team post a very competitive score in a one-day Davidson Shield match against East Hills Boys High School. The team was all out for about 150 after 40 overs. Brad McNamara, a lifelong friend of both Mark and Steve, played very well and scored 80-odd runs, and we thought we were likely to win the match. But then out came these two young fellows, Mark and Steve, who proceeded to score the 150 runs in about 24 overs. Neither lost their wicket and the game was well and truly won.

    Mark Waugh's slip catching is legendary. I remember seeing footage of Mark taking a catch some years ago—I think it was off Alec Stewart—when, fair dinkum, the ball appeared to be two or three metres behind him when he somehow managed to throw his body back and catch it. It is an image in sport that I will never forget. Mark exhibited grace under pressure. There were often rumours that he would not be selected, but Mark would make the team and then go out into the middle and do well. The tactics he used to get on top of the West Indies fast bowlers, in particular, helped make Australia the great cricket side that it has been for a decade at least.

    Mark's one-day centuries should not be forgotten. While many cricketers have struggled to make any centuries in one-day cricket, Mark has made 18 one-day centuries playing for Australia. That is an amazing record and, when added to his Test record, is a measure of the man. That is why Australia is the world champion in limited overs cricket. Mark's record number of catches will probably never be exceeded by a cricketer not wearing gloves. On behalf of my constituents, I take this opportunity to congratulate Mark.

    Mr Torbay: Hear! Hear!

    Mr ASHTON: I thank the honourable member for Northern Tablelands for his acknowledgement. I am sure I speak also for everyone in this place. I wish Mark all the best and I hope he continues to play for New South Wales and Bankstown. I also send my good wishes to his partner, Sue. Many people have commented about the way in which Mark was dropped from the Test team. I believe that, in the end, Mark was dropped not because the selectors thought he would not get runs against England but because they thought he would. If Mark had scored the runs he usually did, the selectors would not have been able to drop him and another player would not have had the opportunity to play for Australia. Well done, Mark Waugh.