Steve Waugh: 'The public has almost overdosed on cricket'

The stands at the MCG were far from packed Getty Images

Steve Waugh feels that the cricket-watching public, at least in Australia, "has almost overdosed" on the game, and it has reached a point where the interest levels are on the wane.

"There's a lot of cricket, it's hard to follow as a spectator, it's very hard to keep up with it," Waugh said on SEN's Saturday Morning Mowers Club show. "The three one-dayers against England [earlier this month, which Australia won 3-0] seemed pretty insignificant, really. I mean, what were they playing for? There wasn't big crowds, I think the public has almost overdosed on cricket."

Australia have a rough few months coming up. They are getting ready for the two-Test series at home against West Indies, which will be followed by three home Tests against South Africa in December-January. After a short gap, they travel to India to play four Tests and three ODIs in February-March before playing Afghanistan in three ODIs, also in March. There are a number of T20 leagues through this whole period, including Australia's own BBL, and the IPL, where many Australian players are set to be involved, will start late March. They then have the Ashes series in England, and possibly the World Test Championship final before that, followed by limited-overs assignments in South Africa and India before the 50-over World Cup in India in October. The cricket doesn't stop after that either, with fixtures against India and Pakistan before the end of the year.

"You want the special series to be iconic, like the Ashes, and against India when they come out here," Waugh said. "It's hard to follow the Australian side because every time they play they have a different team on the field. For the fans and spectators, it is hard to make a connection because you're not sure who is playing.

"I don't know if it's anyone's fault but you need that consistency in the Australian side. You want to know who's in the squad every game, you want to be following it closely and it's really hard to do that right now."

Prior to the series, Australia had a disappointing run at the men's T20 World Cup, at home, failing to qualify for the semi-finals after a heavy loss to New Zealand and a washout against eventual champions England. Waugh called the performance by the defending champions "a massive shock", where "no one really stepped up and took the bull by the horns".

When asked if that was at least in part due to the changed, and changing, landscape of cricket, where players take part in leagues around the world, and play in different styles under different captains and coaches, Waugh didn't disagree.

"It's a bit unsettling, with different captains and different styles and, you obviously perform better under some and you think you've got better ideas than others and, yeah, it would be hard to be, I guess, the captain of the Australian side," he said.

"There was pretty much one captain [when he played], and you knew what the style was, and how you're going to play, and you knew the personalities. Yeah, they are all over the place and [it] probably is a bit unsettling."