21 March 2013

Steve "Tugga" Waugh still has the shots

"To me, being Australian is about looking after your mates, taking care of the less fortunate, supporting the underdog and enhancing the spirit that makes all Australians unique." Steve Waugh.

A big part of what the Baggy Green Blog stands for is to carry the passion and pride supporters were blessed with as Steve Waugh took Australian Cricket to new heights. He nestled a new found integrity into the team and enhanced the connectivity between the supporters and the players, with management never dictating or affecting that strong connection. 

Waugh takes guard and unleashes a few shots we saw in his career.
Photo: Ian Reid
Fast forward to present day, that ethos has been tampered with, but amidst the drama that has unfolded with the current Border-Gavaskar series, I went down to the St Clair Oval, Woodville, to watch the return of Waugh In The West II. The event saw Steve "Tugga" Waugh lead a South Australian All-Stars team against Grange Cricket Club in a Twenty20 match. The last event was apparently well received.

The event raised funds for The Steve Waugh Foundation, which has a major objective in helping support Australian children and families affected by rare diseases.

Being the first sport driven community event I have attended since being in Australia, I was uplifted seeing the amount of people that attended to show their support. Everyone put their feet up and just enjoy the friendly Twenty20 match.

Tim Nielsen chats with Triple M. Photo: Ian Reid
Triple M Radio (Adelaide) was covering the event and gave plenty of awareness leading up to the game. Reporting live from the ground it was excellent to see the dj's speak with Tugga himself, as well as former-South Australian Keeper/ Australian coach, Tim Nielsen, who was one of the featured South Australian celebrities.

Obviously the topic of the recent events was spoken of and their opinions were well received, well thought out.

What amazed me was the hype that Tugga still has. Children who wouldn't have even witnessed his career were manic in their efforts to meet the Baggy Green legend and grab an autograph, along with other grown men (like myself) who were eager to shake hands with the man and just enjoy a brief moment alongside someone who has inspired so many people on and off the cricket field.

The appreciation shown towards Tugga from all who attended the event showed what an impact he made and what a legacy he has left, so much so that even a new generation have an interest in this legacy. The fact he continues to inspire people and play such a big role within the community reflects his integrity.

Clouds covering the St Clair Oval. Photo: Ian Reid
Sitting on a chair as the game came to an end, with rain clouds swooping in above the small floodlights around the St Clair Oval, Tugga sat there, leaning forward, absolutely fried after his innings - which I must add resulted in an entertaining half-century.

Despite being visibly exhausted from the afternoons proceedings, he sat there doing his duty in chatting to everyone and signing autographs for many happy Waugh-loyalists. Even in retirement he still has the demand!

All in all it was an easy going, casual evening out and I am glad to report that Tugga still has the neat arrangement of shots. Some classy slog sweeps, straight drives, back-foot drives, leg glances and animated heaves to mid-wicket came out during his innings.

My brief meet 'n greet with Tugga. A great inspiration!
He was the star of the event and he delivered with the bat, as he did so many times during his epic career. At the end of the night what mattered most was a successful night for The Steve Waugh Foundation, the community and of course good fun for all who attended. Certainly was for me.

I was fortunate to have a brief meet 'n greet with him and although brief it was special nevertheless. Always good to meet those who inspire us at some stage in our lives.

The final Test between Australia and India is underway, Shane Watson is leading the side as Michael Clarke was not cleared as fit to play, regarding his back injury.

Tasmania and Queensland
have begun their clash to see who will hold up the Sheffield Shield. Queensland hold the title, but Tasmania will be eager to claw it back after handing it over last season.

It's a 5 day match, so Tasmania have started their innings with caution and no sense of urgency. First wicket partnership is nearing a 100 run stand.
Congrats to Ricky Ponting as well on winning the Sheffield Shield Player of the Year award!

As per the Baggy Green Blog Facebook page:

"Punter still has the Sheffield Shield final, which will give him a chance to build upon the 875 runs he has scored.

Here's the other award State winners:

Limited overs Player of the Year:
Aaron Finch (VIC)

Women's National Cricket League Player of the Year:
Nicole Bolton (WA)

WT20 Player of the Year:
Jenny Wallace (WA)

Toyota Futures League Player of the Year:
Nick Winter (ACT)

Lord's Taverners Indigenous Cricketer of the Year:
Nathan Price (NSW)

Cricket Australia Umpire Award:
Bruce Oxenford

Benaud Men's Spirit of Cricket Award:
Tasmanian Tigers

Benaud Women's Spirit of Cricket Award:
NSW Breakers."

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