Tough challenges inspire Waugh
January 20, 2018
In his short career so far, Austin Waugh has built a reputation for being able to deliver in clutch moments.
Little over 12 months ago, the all-rounder came to the crease with NSW Metro 2-18, before smashing an unbeaten 122 to guide them to the Under 17 National Championships.
He followed that up with a hard-fought 60 - after coming in at 3-2 - to seal a series win for Australia Under 19s against Sri Lanka in April.
Now, the 18-year-old has been presented his biggest test yet - standing up for Australia at the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
“I think every time is really special, when you get the chance to play for your country,” Waugh said before the tournament.
“But I guess coming out to a World Cup, it’s something not too many people get to experience in their lifetime. I’m just really looking forward to grabbing the opportunity and seeing what comes.
“I love the challenge of coming in in tough times. I always like to grab the opportunity when it comes, if that means the team’s in big trouble or if we’re in a good position.
“I just love taking on the challenge as it arises I guess.”
It’s no surprise, really, that Waugh thrives on the challenge when his father Steve did just that for Australia for almost two decades.
But he says it’s largely been others - including former Test spinner Beau Casson - who have helped shape his game.
“(Dad’s) given me a few tips here and there, but it’s more been other coaches around the Cricket NSW circle. He’s always been there to give a helping hand when it comes to that side of things,” Waugh said.
“Beau’s been a really big part of my cricketing journey so far. He’s been with me for a few years, has passed on a lot of of great stuff and helped my game immensely. I’ve also got my Dad to talk to if anything goes wrong, he’s also got a lot of experience in the game. They’re two great blokes I can rely on if anything goes wrong or when I’m going well.”
Having finished his school studies, Waugh can now fully focus on his cricket - and is giving his all to try to bring the World Cup trophy back to Australia.
The next step in achieving that is a do-or-die quarter final against rivals England, at Queenstown on Tuesday.
And Waugh believes a close-knit Australian unit has what it takes to push deep into the competition.
“We’ve got a great bunch of blokes, I think the off-field relationships really count as well,” he said.
“We’ve got a really talented group, but also we’ve got a really hard working group. We don’t sit back and wait for it to happen, we’re always on the front foot looking to take the opportunity.
“We’ve got a really good team and I think we can go all the way.”