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India feels like second home: Steve Waugh

entertainment Updated: Nov 24, 2011 16:04 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
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Cricket ace Steve Waugh captained the Australian team to iconic wins during his reign from 1999 to 2004. Now post-retirement, the sportsman is spending most of his time promoting social causes around the world. And a lot of that time is invested in India. “Cricket took us to a lot of third world countries. I was exposed to things I hadn’t seen, including poverty and under-privileged children. But the catalyst for my work was meeting Mother Teresa in 1996 in Calcutta,” says Waugh, who visits India almost four times every year. “India feels like a second home. It’s so different from Australia, but I love it. It’s never boring.”



In the city, the cricketer was representing the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation that, in association with IWC Schaffhausen, launched a special edition watch, which has been engraved with a sketch made by eight-year-old slum dweller Sohel Abrar Khan, who was the winner of a worldwide competition.



Juggling balls and tossing footballs, he joked around with kids associated with the Magic Bus Project. He even asked them when they thought Sachin Tendulkar would score his 100th century: “All of India is waiting for that. I think the timing is correct right now. Mumbai being the (Tendulkar’s) hometown and West Indies’ flat wicket.”



However, on Team India’s recent performance, he adds, “They were very disappointing in England. But I watched the last few tests and I liked some of the young bowlers. They’ve got plenty of good cricketers; it’s just the transition stage that can be difficult. When batsmen like Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid go, that’s going to be messy. They’ll have to make sure they don’t go at once. It’s going to be a big hollow.”



A few years ago, there were reports claiming that the sportsman was looking to make his Bollywood debut. Bring up the topic and he laughs. “Was I? That has to be a low budget one if I was acting in it. I don’t watch a lot of Bollywood movies. But now, seems like I must. E