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'I just didn't agree...': Mark Waugh breaks silence over on-air battles with Karthik, Shastri; reacts to being replaced

Mar 02, 2023 12:04 PM IST

Mark Waugh has been replaced by former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in the commentary box for the remaining two Tests of the series in India.

Australia batting great Mark Waugh has been replaced by former fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in the commentary box for the remaining two Test matches of the series in India. Waugh had proven to be a bit of a divisive figure in his stint, engaging in some clashes with his colleagues, particularly Ravi Shastri and Dinesh Karthik. Karthik had taken to roasting Waugh after the latter had criticised Virat Kohli for his slip catching technique in the first Test and there was one instance in which the banter seemingly took a bit of an angry turn.

Mark Waugh had a few run-ins with Ravi Shastri and Dinesh Karthik in particular.

It has to be noted here that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had appointed Waugh only for the two Test matches since the beginning. The former batter himself was a replacement for former Australia captain Michael Clarke, who was dropped after footage emerged of his rather public brawl with his girlfriend.

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The point where the back-and-forth between Waugh and Karthik seemed to have taken a turn for the worse was when the latter was peppering him with questions about disagreements the pair had over field placements that Australia had for Cheteshwar Pujara. "I didn’t know this was a press conference,” Waugh responded at one stage. "I'm going to limit your questions per session - you’re going to get one question, alright? No more." Sanjay Manjrekar, who was the third commentator then intervened to read out the score.

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Waugh has, however, stated that his battles with Karthik was "good fun". "It was just a bit of banter. He's the young brigade...these modern players see things differently to how we see them. It was all good fun, I can assure you. That's good. You've got to have different opinions. It'd be pretty boring if everyone had the same opinion," said Waugh on 'Breakfast with Harf' on RSN radio.

"I just didn't agree with a lot of his opinions, to be honest. He couldn't work out my field settings etc. I think Mitchell Johnson's taken over my role in the next two Tests with Matt Hayden, just to give some balance to that commentary box in India."

Waugh also had a few run-ins with former India head coach Ravi Shastri. Shastri had ribbed Waugh for predicting India were going to be whitewashed during their 2020/21 tour of Australia after the visitors were routed in the first Test. India were famously all out for just 36 runs in their second innings of that match but then went on to win the series 2-1, despite the absence of most of their regular stars in the last Test.

"I remember one prediction from Mark, India will lose 4-0 when we got all out for 36," said Shastri in the commentary box during the first Test of the ongoing tour. Shastri was India's head coach at the time. Waugh had a quick reply: "I am not the only one who predicted that".

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