The Kolkata Test between India and Australia in 2001 is remembered as one of the finest Tests played ever. It shattered Australia’s dominance in world cricket and introduced the world a maverick named VVS Laxman. Although India is praised for their daredevil effort in that Test, a lot of Australia’s strategies are still being questioned. And now Shane Warne who played in that Test has said that asking India to follow-on was an arrogant decision by Steve Waugh.
The legendary leg-spin bowler hs recalled the memories of the Kolkata Test in his autobiography ‘No Spin’. Warne has written that Steve Waugh’s decision to inflict follow-on was a bad decision.
He further explained that the decision was based on arrogance about the opposition and Australia’s own supposed invincibility. He noted that the decision was not based on the cricketing facts.
Australia came to the Kolkata Test winning 16 consecutive Tests and a tag of invincibles on their chests. They slammed 445 runs in their first innings and then routed India for just 171 runs. With a lead of 274 runs, Waugh the then Australia skipper asked India to follow-on. And then the miracle happened.
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted the entire fourth day without getting out. Laxman scored 281 runs, the then highest individual score by an Indian and India declared at 657 for seven wickets. On the last day, courtesy of Harbhajan’s spin bowling, India dismissed the visitors for just 212 runs and created history and registered Test cricket’s greatest comeback ever.
Another historic Test was the England vs Australia battle at Edgbaston in 2005 which England won by just two runs. In that Test, Australia won the toss and Ricky Ponting, the Aussie skipper elected to field first which Warne feels was the worst decision made by a captain.
According to Warne, Waugh’s decision to make India follow-on in Kolkata comes second in the list of the worst decision made by a captain he played under.