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‘We were almost seen as a couple’ – Why the Waugh brothers decided to go in ‘different’ directions

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Steve Waugh, while in conversation with Michael Atherton on Sky Sports, opened up on his relationship with twin brother and former Australia teammate Mark Waugh.

Atherton recalled a comment from Steve on his equation with his brother, where he had said “being competitive and being able to be seen as individuals drove a wedge between us that took years to remove.”

Waugh admitted the duo’s relationship wasn’t straightforward, and that they decided to go in different directions before starting their first-class careers with New South Wales.

“Probably not [a straightforward relationship],” he said. “We were always in the same team, we were always in the same class, we lived in the same bedroom for 16 years, we shared the same clothes. We were constantly in each other’s reach. We lived in each other’s pockets and wherever we went, we sort of went together.

“Comparisons were inevitable – we were good at sports, anything we played, we were probably the best at in. So it was this all-encompassing, ‘Who’s the better Waugh?’ and the competition at school, who got the most marks. As I said, ‘Who got the first sausage? Who ate the most?’ … It was on.

“So we almost made, I don’t know if it was subconsciously or consciously, but when we got to 19, playing for New South Wales, it was like let’s go different directions and be around in person. Because we were almost seen as a couple and in some ways, that sort of drove us a bit apart.

“We got different bat sponsorships, we never did any endorsement together. I guess our interests varied. On tours, I wanted to take photographs and meet people, Mark liked to stay at hotels. So we have different interests, and it sort of grew from that. But we have mutual respect and I’ve always wanted Mark to do well.

“When he wasn’t in the Test side, I walked out on the ground and felt like I’ve lost something that he wasn’t there. In some ways, people see this as a strange relationship, but we have that respect for each other and whilst we don’t ring up and talk to each other a lot, when we catch up, it’s good to see each other.”

The Waugh brothers went on to cement their place as two of the greatest Australian cricketers, playing together for the national team for almost 14 years.

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