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SportThe calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle

12:00  11 september  2019
12:00  11 september  2019 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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The calf , the dive and that raised bat : Steve Waugh ' s 2001 medical miracle The Age02:26. Ellis-Yolmen yet to agree to new deal Zero Hanger02:25.

Steve Waugh won the toss and decided to bat first. Having never made a Test hundred in India, Waugh was more emotional than normal as he tugged at the red handkerchief in his pocket, took off his helmet and raised his bat to a full house Eden crowd.

The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle © Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT Steve Waugh being helped from the ground at Trent Bridge in 2001.

Ten days before Australia were to win what was then a record seventh consecutive Ashes series in 2001, Steve Waugh took on the world's No.1 squash player Sarah Fitz-Gerald at London's Trafalgar Square.

The game of squash was part of a promotional event for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, which were to start exactly a year later.

Such occasions are usually hit and giggle affairs, which make good fodder for the evening news - but there's no such thing as a casual hit for Waugh. He'd played the game as a kid so why not have a crack at the world's best? What could go wrong here?

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Former Australian team physio Errol Alcott and members of the team look back on the famous Ashes century Steve Waugh posted, after weeks of rehabilitation for a severe calf injury, during the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval in 2001 .

Mark Waugh , the new batsman, was dismissed for a golden duck after Ganguly took a one handed close range diving catch from the next delivery. The other notable event in the Indian innings was a mistimed pull shot from Dravid, which saw an attempted diving catch by Slater.

"We played for 10 or 20 minutes and then got really competitive," Waugh explains. "She's obviously a great player. I ran around like a lunatic for a couple of hours."

Waugh pulls up stiff and tight in the back of his calves and Achilles but does not think much about it. Until the next Test.

As Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn bat Australia to victory and a 3-0 series lead in the third Test at Trent Bridge, Waugh is in a wheelchair at a Nottingham hospital feeling sorry for himself.

Waugh had ripped his calf setting off for a single in the run chase. "It felt like someone had thrown a shotput into the back of my calf," Waugh says. "Then I realised I couldn't run."

There was a five-centimetre tear and another of two centimetres. His tour was over, he thought. There would be no lifting of the urn.

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Read about Steve Waugh ' s Profile, Latest News, Articles, Career updates only on ESPNcricinfo.com. An inveterate sightseer, Waugh wrote a series of successful tour diaries, helped set up a charity for the daughters of lepers in Calcutta, and subscribed fervently to the power of the

Steve Waugh , The Oval, 2001 One of the toughest players of all time, Steve Waugh injured his calf as Australia chased victory at Trent Bridge, the third Test, to seal the Ashes. He was desperate to return for the final Test after England' s Mark Butcher had inspired victory at Headingley.

"It was going to be four-to-six months out," Waugh recalls. "We'd won the Ashes, I wasn't there as the captain. The next phone call was home to Lynette."

But it didn't go quite as he expected.

"There's no point me hanging around," Waugh remembers telling his wife. "The last Test is only 19 days away, I'm out for four months minimum, I may as well come home.

"She said "no you're not, you're staying there to collect the Ashes trophy on the balcony at the Oval', and that was it."

The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle © Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT The 2001 series would also prove crucial to Justin Langer's Test career.

"When you're married you've got to do what the wife says, so I stayed."

Waugh then says to team physiotherapist Errol Alcott: "Let's try to produce a miracle."

For the next 19 days, Waugh and Alcott are joined at the hip. As the team travelled to Ireland, Waugh followed Alcott to Birmingham where he was visiting friends. Alcott spends 10 hours a day with his diligent patient, five of which are dedicated to massaging the captain's damaged calf to realign the frayed muscle fibres.

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Steve Waugh makes a desperate but successful dive to complete his hundred on Day Two © Getty Images. Many believed Steve Waugh ’ s Ashes were over after he tore his calf midway through the third Test. But the gritty character that he is, Waugh returned for the final fixture at The Oval, against

Umpire Steve Bucknor, whose decisions in the Test were controversial and led to him being dropped from officiating in the Third Test. equalling the previous Test record, also held by Australia under Steve Waugh .

The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle © Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT Steve and Mark Waugh after the brothers both scored hundreds in the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval.

Waugh's daily routine, as outlined in his 2001 Ashes Diary, involves two pool sessions, stretching, walking, gym and two massages. Reading it is enough to make you wince.

"Deep friction for one hour, featuring intense pain, verging on agony (I'd give it nine and a half out of 10 for pain)," Waugh wrote.

At the end of each day, Waugh gives himself a rating in percentage terms of his likelihood of playing at The Oval. Starting at zero, there is daily improvement, in small increments no greater than five per cent. He does not get beyond 50-50.

As Waugh inched closer to the start line, one of his most loyal proteges was having his faith tested.

Justin Langer had lost his place in the side after a lean run in the epic series in India earlier that year. His West Australian teammate Simon Katich was to leapfrog him after Waugh was ruled out of the fourth Test.

On form, Langer had no grounds to be disappointed. He had averaged 20.33 in five first-class games against the counties - hardly the set of numbers to warrant a recall to the world's No.1 side.

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The 2001 –02 VB Series was a One Day International (ODI) cricket tri-series (14 matches) where Australia played host to New Zealand and South Africa. After drawing with New Zealand and defeating South Africa in the preceding Test series, Australia went into the tournament as favourites; however

Original Title. Steve Waugh ' s Diary 2001 . Over the years, Waugh has also shown that he believes in using sport as a means to help the deprived and the underprivileged and he has backed those beliefs in India in a determined and practical way at a home built to house the children of lepers in Udayan

His nadir came after a match against Sussex in between the third and fourth Tests. Selectors were considering changes. Waugh, of course, was out, and the runs had dried up for veteran opener Michael Slater.

"Justin opened the batting in that game, all he had to do was score a few runs to justify why he should be selected," coach John Buchanan recalls. Langer made two and 14.

The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle © PA Wire Steve Waugh has been back in the Australian camp as a mentor during this year's Ashes.

"Sitting on the bus on the way back to the team hotel I've never seen somebody so distraught and so completely down on the world," Buchanan says.

Buchanan and Adam Gilchrist, one of three selectors on tour alongside Waugh and Trevor Hohns, take him to the bar for a drink. Buchanan and Langer stay for the long haul.

Buchanan's recollection of the night is not crystal clear. It was 18 years ago and they had downed more than a few - but two comments stick in his mind.

"You've betrayed me," Buchanan recalls Langer saying. "I said 'what do you mean?'. He said 'you know I'd run through a brick wall for you and Steve Waugh. At the beginning of the tour when you had the opportunity to show the same loyalty to me you chose not to'.

"Then he said 'you've also ripped my heart out'. I said 'what do you mean by that?'

"In his mind at that point in time that was how low he was, that he'd never play for Australia again. His baggy green dream had evaporated.

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Stories of Waugh ’ s intensity are now part of cricketing legend. There is the apocryphal sneer at In the final Test, with the series already won, Waugh batted for over five hours with a serious calf After Steve Waugh , this is no longer a criticism levelled at touring first world teams since he has

Coming out from lunch, Waugh proved himself a worthy leader of a team that has won 16 Test matches on the trot. Having never made a Test hundred in India, Waugh was more emotional than normal as he tugged at the red handkerchief in his pocket, took off his helmet and raised his bat to a full house

"We get up to the hotel room and before he goes in, I said 'look, hypothetically, if you were picked, how do you think you'd go?'

"He said 'just give me a chance'."

Hohns, Waugh and Gilchrist are to make a call, the effects of which are still being felt today.

Time to make a statement

Waugh decides on the morning of the game he will play, which he now concedes as being "pretty stupid" and "a little reckless".

His motivation to play is not out of selfishness but to make a statement to England. There had been a belief within the Australian camp that English players were missing games too readily due to injury.

England captain Nasser Hussain had been sidelined for two Tests with a broken finger, but the view in the Australian dressing room was along the lines of why get an X-ray, and if you can hold the bat you can play.

"I was probably tricking myself into believing that we're tougher," Waugh says. "Obviously, we're not, we're the same as them.

"Cricket at this level was about a bit of bluff. There was pride in the baggy green and setting the example to the other players - hang on, you can get through adversity if you put your mind to it."

Four days out, Waugh starts believing he has a "realistic chance" of playing but it's not until match eve that he can run at 70 per cent capacity, though he is scared to really push himself. He had given himself that 50 per cent chance to play in his diary, but by game day there is no percentage rating. It just says "good enough".

Day one belongs to Langer - even if he finishes it with ice packs on his head after being struck on the helmet by Andy Caddick - and Australia, who reach 2-324 at stumps.

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If this proves to be Steve Waugh ' s swansong in England then those who were lucky enough to get From early on in his innings, the calf injury that forced him to leave the field by stretcher at Trent The pitch was flat enough to convince a delusional batsman he could bat like Bradman but for the bowlers

Langer had not opened at Test level since his second game in 1993 but on this day he is a new man, having promised himself to enjoy the moment. This newfound relaxed attitude is rewarded with a ton.

"On the back of not having played any cricket, not scoring any runs, he goes on and makes a hundred - it was an amazing turnaround," Buchanan says.

It is a sliding doors moment, not just for Langer but for Australian cricket. Without this breakthrough innings, who knows if Langer would have broken his way back into the side to become an important player in one of the greatest teams the game has seen? And would he have had the runs on the board to build the credentials - and aura- which leads to him becoming the national coach?

Meanwhile, Waugh bats through half an hour without drama to be 12 not out. "It gave me the encouragement that everything was going to work out OK," Waugh wrote.

He is only half right, as he would find out the next day.

Waugh's confidence soared on the second morning after an extensive net session when seemingly every ball he hit found the middle of the bat.

All was going well until Waugh reached the mid 20s and called his twin Mark for a sharp single. A twinged right buttock was the result. He now had two bad legs.

At that point, his batting remained unaffected but not so after his dodgy calf gave way. It was not as bad as the initial tear but he could no longer run. Leaving the field was not an option. Waugh had told his team he was fit.

"I knew I had an obligation to my team to keep batting even though I was struggling to score runs. It's amazing when you have an injury how much it focuses you on your cricket and what you have to do," Waugh says.

"You get into the zone of not thinking about anything else bar scoring runs because you owe the team. I took the gamble to go into the Test match.

"At that point I said to Mark 'no more quick singles, I'm going to slog now'."

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The plan was to either find the boundary or walk singles, which he sticks to faithfully until he reaches 99, a number that can do strange things to batsmen, even one as accomplished and experienced as Waugh.

Spotting a fumble at mid-wicket, Waugh embarks on a quick single but can only shuffle his legs. Having lost sight of the ball between the bowler and the umpire, Waugh dives desperately to make his ground, joining Langer and his twin Mark in three figures. The picture of him raising his sticker-less bat as he lies on his tummy is one of the iconic images of his career.

This century is dedicated to Alcott, whose magic hands have worked wonders on a man who three weeks ago could only wiggles his toes.

"Without him there was no way I was going to play," Waugh says. "It was his hundred as much as mine."

To his admirers, the decision to play is symbolic of the pride Waugh shows in the baggy green and the great lengths he will go to wear it. An alternative view, presented by former England seamer turned journalist Derek Pringle, is he had been selfish in taking the place of a fully fit player.

"To most, the Australian captain is not an indulgent man, but by playing with a barely healed injury, he was indulging himself," Pringle wrote in The Independent.

"While it appears churlish to describe a man who scores 157 not out as selfish, his impression of Hopalong Cassidy cost the team runs. The counter argument, is would a replacement like Simon Katich have done the same? Don't bother to send your answers on a postcard."

The price Waugh pays for his century increases on the way home when he develops deep vein thrombosis and is out for another six weeks.

The rest of the game belongs to Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who between them claim 18 of England's 20 wickets. It is particularly special for Warne, who becomes the first Australian to 400 Test wickets.

Though victory does not come until late on the fifth day, it is an emphatic success for Australia.

"Winning by an innings and 25 runs was outstanding in itself, but don't forget that we only lost four wickets in the match, of which two were gifted," Waugh wrote. "That gives a true indication of our dominance."

The match marks the end of an era for England, who farewell former captain Mike Atherton in this game. Only Marcus Trescothick from this XI will be around in 2005.

When Waugh boards the plane at Heathrow to return home, the idea of losing a series in England is unfathomable let alone the drought that will follow.

"If you said to me that day at the Oval that 18 years later we hadn't retained the Ashes in England I'd have thought 'no way, you've got to be kidding'," Waugh says from the Australian team's hotel before the fourth Test in Manchester after rejoining the camp as a mentor.

"When you're in that position with a really great side, you just think it'll continue, you don't see where the end will come.

"Hopefully it comes full circle and both 'Lang' and myself are there at the Oval and the team gets the chance to hold those Ashes."

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The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle
The calf, the dive and that raised bat: Steve Waugh's 2001 medical miracle

Ashes 2019: Shane Warne has named his controversial all-time Ashes XI.
Australia's 'King of Spin', Shane Warne, isn't afraid of throwing a controversial opinion out there. However, he may have outdone himself this time. Ahead of the fifth Ashes Test, he took to Lord's Cricket Ground's YouTube channel to name his All Time Ashes XI. While in the video, he clarifies that this is to mean only players that he's played with or against, the fact that he's left former Australian Test captain Steve Waugh out of the XI is a bit of a mystery, given his 51.06 average at Test level.

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