Former England wicketkeeper Warren Hegg, speaking to Alex Davies on the Lanchashire Legends series, recalled how he was brutally sledged by Steve Waugh on his Test debut against Australia at the MCG in 1998.
Twelve years after his first-class debut in 1986, Hegg landed his first Test cap after being drafted into the England team as a 30-year-old for the 1998 Ashes. On the second day of the fourth Test, Hegg dreamily entered the field for his maiden Test innings, astounded by the grandeur of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“We won the game, it was brilliant. But I remember when my turn to bat came and I was a nervous player anyway, I walked from the dressing room and I walked down the steps, and I walked onto that famous turf at MCG and I felt a million dollars. Three Lions on my chest here, I got me brand new gloves on, they’ve not been used much. Cap on England.
“Watered pitch, I looked around me, this amphitheatre, (I) felt like a Gladiator, a million dollars. (Felt like) I have made it, I have actually reached the stars. And I walked past Steve Waugh who was at square leg.”
That’s when Waugh decided to shake the debutant into reality with the choicest of words.
“He [Waugh] turned around and said ‘Mate, you wanna be f****** embarrassed, you’re an absolute f****** disgrace. You’re 30 years old, you’re only making your Test debut now. You are taking the spot of a young man, you’re a disgrace to cricket, you are a disgrace to England.
“I went from that me to that me (lowers hand) in one minute. I could only revert with two famous words, and I will leave it to your imagination to tell. He went and got me out about four overs later. I nicked one of his gentle away swingers to my hero Ian Healy.
“What an experience [it was] to play Test cricket. Once you got that cap, they ain’t taking it back off you.”