Australia legend Steve Waugh calls for direct entry for Associate nations in T20 World Cup

Two-time world cup winner says they should go straight into main competition

Australian cricket legend Steve Waugh in Dubai for the launch of the Laureus Challenge 2022.
Antonie Robertson/The National
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Australia cricket legend Steve Waugh says that after the stunning upsets they caused at the T20 World Cup 2022, Associate members should be given direct entry to the next tournament.

Namibia shocked Sri Lanka while both Scotland and Ireland defeated the West Indies, who were sent packing from the qualifying round to create the biggest surprise in the competition.

In the Super 12 stage, Ireland beat the eventual champions England, Zimbabwe outclassed Pakistan, and the Netherlands upset South Africa, who lost their semi-final spot because of the defeat.

“The Associate teams are good enough to come and compete in the T20 World Cup straight away,” Waugh, who is in Dubai to take part in the Laureus Challenge 2022, told The National.

“The T20 format is altogether a different game from Test and to some extent the one-day format.

“In the T20, the techniques are so different than batting in a Test match. In bowling, there can be so many variations. The batters in the shorter format will have to be strong and have good reflexes, and with good hand-eye coordination, you can learn and develop pretty quickly.

“I am a Test match cricketer and I think it’s the best format by a long way. However, I understand young people like the shorter versions as it’s exciting and it’s a social event.

“This format is growing in popularity among the Associate nations and I think they should come direct into the main competition.”

Waugh insisted eventual champions England were the favourites coming into the tournament.

“Pakistan had their chances, especially when Ben Stokes was almost run out when they needed 51 to win,” said Waugh, who captained Australia to victory in the 1999 50-over World Cup.

England v Pakistan T20 World Cup final - player ratings

“Pakistan gave a good account of themselves and they tried hard but England I think had the class and a very long batting line-up, and they were very good at chasing. The toss was important for them to win.”

The Australian public were naturally frustrated after their team failed to go beyond Super 12 stage.

“Obviously we were disappointed about Australia,” Waugh said. “They didn’t play the best cricket and looked a bit disjointed. If they got the momentum on this format anyone can win on the day.

“The Australian public was disappointed because they wanted to see the home side do well. They were just off the game and in T20 it’s really hard to change the momentum. So they were not good enough.”

Waugh also felt South Africa had a good chance of winning the World Cup this time with their bowling line-up but their shock defeat to Netherlands put paid to their chances.

Six-time Olympic sprint cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy in Dubai for the Laureus Challenge 2022. Antonie Robertson / The National

Waugh was joined in Dubai for the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space, by a six-time Olympic sprint cycling champion Chris Hoy, South African Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana, record-breaking mountaineer Annabelle Bond and Steve Lindsay, a Nasa astronaut with four decades of experience.

Waugh has been associated with Laureus for 17 years and the goal is to raise funds to support the work of Laureus programmes around the world.

Last year alone, Laureus supported over 275 programmes in more than 50 countries and territories, making a positive impact on the lives of more than 250,000 young people.

The 2022 Challenge is a trek through the rugged landscape of the UAE, beginning in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve before climbing into the Hatta Mountains and crossing the picturesque wadis – valleys – of the Sharjah Emirate.

“Laureus Sport for Good supports programmes in over 50 countries around the world,” Waugh said.

“I’ve been to a number of them and I know the impact these programmes make on young people’s lives.

“That’s really important when you’re walking for a charity – to know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. It’s a small token of pain for me to have a few blisters and sore muscles.”

Updated: November 14, 2022, 4:55 PM