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September 30, 2002 | 1133 IST

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Jury out on axing of Waugh twins

Australia missed Steve and Mark Waugh in their seven-wicket Champions Trophy semi-final defeat by Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday, The Daily Telegraph newspaper said on Monday.

It was a situation where the 37-year-old twins, who have been axed from the one-day side, would have flourished, the Sydney newspaper said.

Steve remains Test captain and Mark is also in the team for the three-Test series against Pakistan which starts in Colombo on Thursday.

As the twins cling to their hopes of returning to the one-day side for Australia's World Cup defence in South Africa early next year, The Daily Telegraph says the Waughs should remain in contention.

"In their biggest Test since Ricky Ponting replaced Steve Waugh as captain, the Australians struggled to deal with the pressure of playing in front of 25,000 fanatical locals at the Premadasa Stadium," the newspaper said.


"The Australians lacked composure with the bat and posted just 162 runs. It was the type of situation the Waughs have flourished in over the years but one the Australian team on Friday clearly did not like.

"With just a home series (of one-dayers against England and Sri Lanka) to play before February's World Cup, Australia are no closer to vindicating the national selectors's decision to axe the Waughs, particularly Steve, last summer."

Australia failed to reach the finals of the 2001-02 one-day series at home against South Africa and New Zealand and promptly named Ponting as the new captain of the limited-overs team and sent him to lead the side in South Africa without the Waughs.

Ponting's side won the series against South Africa 5-1 before losing at home to Pakistan 2-1.

"Admittedly it won't be until after February's World Cup that a final verdict can be reached on the Waughs," the newspaper said. "While their hopes of a recall are remote, both feel they still deserve to be in the team."

Steve Waugh was quoted in Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on Monday as saying: "There's a realistic chance that I will play in the World Cup."

Steve has made 325 one-day appearances, 106 of them as captain including the World Cup final against Pakistan at Lord's in 1999.

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram (343) and ex-India captain Mohammad Azharuddin (334) are the only players with more one-day international caps than Steve.

Mark is Australia's leading scorer in limited-overs internationals with 8,500 runs in 244 matches.

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