Shane Warne Reveals He Was Against Steve Waugh's Decision To Enforce The Follow-On In The 2001 Kolkata Test

Shane Warne Reveals He Was Against Steve Waugh’s Decision To Enforce The Follow-On In The 2001 Kolkata Test

Shane Warne, Steve Waugh
Shane Warne, Steve Waugh. (Photo: Twitter)

Shane Warne, former Australian leg-spinner, recalled the historic 2001 Eden Gardens Test against India, where the Men in Blue, riding on sensational knocks from VVS Laxman [281] and Rahul Dravid [180], scripted a comeback from the ages and deny Australia their 17th consecutive Test win, despite following on and conceding a 274-run lead in the first innings.

Shane Warne revealed that he was against Steve Waugh’s decision to enforce the follow-on during the 2001 Kolkata Test. He reckoned that the result could have been different, had Australia just batted instead of enforcing the follow-on. He said that Steve Waugh made a wrong call in his ‘adamant’ eagerness to claim the world record for 17 consecutive Test wins.

”It’s completely different conditions [to the ongoing England Test]. It was 45 degrees, we’d been out on the field for a long time, the wicket was going to get worse. I think at that time, I remember Steve Waugh coming out to us bowlers … [Jason] Gillespie, think [Glenn] McGrath, myself, and I think [Michael] Kasprowicz was there,” Shane Warne was quoted as saying by Wisden.

”And as we saw happened, seven down, eight down, nine down … he comes and… ‘How’re you feeling?’ and McGrath was like, ‘I’m a bit weary’. I was like, ‘Weary, let’s use that word’. Then we have Dizzy and Kaspa. Kaspa had only played a few games, a few overs [he bowled 13 that innings, seven fewer than Warne], and he was a bit like, ‘Let’s go, skip, I’m ready to go!,” Warne recalled.

And I was like, ‘Come on, Kaspa’. It was completely different conditions back then, and Steve Waugh was adamant that he wanted to win that record amount of Test matches in a row, I think it was 17. To me, it was the only way India could win that Test match. If we go and bat again, make the 200 – the lead was 450 [474] – they try to defend it, it’s a different game. So, yeah. I thought he got that wrong.,” he added.

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‘Too good’.- Shane Warne on Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman

Shane Warne Reveals He Was Against Steve Waugh's Decision To Enforce The Follow-On In The 2001 Kolkata Test
VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid (Credits: Twitter)

As it turned out, Steve Waugh’s decision turned out to be a wrong one as VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, battling physical and mental agony- defied the odds to script a sensational comeback. The duo batted throughout the 4th day, during the course of which, Laxman went on to break the then-record of the highest individual score by an Indian [236 by Sunil Gavaskar] while Rahul Dravid scored his maiden Test hundred against the world champions.

The Aussies tried to break the fifth-wicket stand but such was the grit, determination, and relentlessness of the duo that it was only after they have piled up 376 runs that the pair was finally dislodged. And, Warne fittingly paid his tribute to the marathon knocks played by Laxman and Dravid.

”But they played beautifully, Laxman and Dravid. In my time of playing, [it was] as good an innings as there was. Laxman’s innings was beautiful, Dravid’s was too. Sometimes you’ve got to dig down and say, ‘Too good’.” Shane Warne added.

India posted 7-657 in their second innings and then proceeded to bowl the world champions out for 171 to notch up a barely believable 171-run win.

Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.