- Born 2 June 1965 Canterbury, New South Wales
- Educated East Hill Boys' High School
- Occupation Professional Cricketer later Journalist and TV Commentator
- Debut 7 June 2000 v Zimbabwe at Castle Avenue
- Cap Number 629
- Style Right hand bat, right arm medium pace.
- Teams New South Wales, Essex, MCC, Australia
Mark Waugh was the most stylish Australian batsman of his day. Though his debut for Ireland came in 2000, he had a longer association with our cricket, having first appeared at Castle Avenue in 1986, when a young NSW player making his way in the game, he spent a season playing club cricket in England, and came into the MCC side for the annual match as a late replacement. Seldom can a virtually unknown substitute have had more of an impact on a game. MCC won the toss and were 62/1 when Mark came in. He proceeded to hit 239* in 270 minutes before the declaration came at 399/7, thus equalling the 239 made by NVM Riches of Wales at Ormeau in 1926, as the highest score made in Ireland by a visiting batsman. Riches' 239 had been the highest ever made against Ireland until 7 months before Mark's innings. Then, however, Ireland had encountered a precocious Zimbabwean teenager called Hick! Ireland replied to MCC's 399 with 326, whereupon, Mark was at it again with a blistering 101* in 90 minutes before another declaration was made. The match was eventually drawn.
He also played for Australia against Ireland in 1993 again at Castle Avenue. There was to be no repeat of his 1986 heroics. He was caught by Decker Curry off Garfield Harrison for 26 after adding a second wicket 53 with Matthew Hayden, who went on to make 133.
Mark's two matches for Ireland came in 2000 when he came, under the sponsorship of the Independent Media Group, as part of the ICC's programme to assist Associate Member countries. His brother Steve had preceded him two years earlier. Mark's brief was to coach and to play in the two matches against Zimbabwe. Unfortunately he gave only a glimpse of his real form, even though the two matches were at Castle Avenue. Zimbabwe were then a more formidable side than they have later been forced to become, having three high class bowlers in Heath Streak and the Strang brothers, Their batting was also solid and, in the first match, they began with 227-4 off 50 overs, their progress impeded by Mark catching two well set batsmen, Craig Wishart off Matt Dwyer for 35, and Alistair Campbell, a cricketer not a spin doctor, off Kyle McCallan for 52. The "ask" was within Ireland's capability but, after Mark was out for a top score 38, bowled by slow left armer Grant Flower, younger brother of Andy, they lost momentum and finished on 178-7. Mark was among the leading Irish batsmen again the following day, being the second top scorer. Alas he only made 17. McCallan hit a fine 67, but - apart from Mark - only one other batsman reached double figures, Peter Gillespie with 14.
Unfortunately, no account of Mark's career would be complete without a reference being made to his involvement with Indian bookmakers. There has never been any suggestion that he was in any way caught up in match fixing. Indeed when the then Pakistan captain, Saleem Malik approached him at Rawalpindi in October 1994 to perform badly, he responded by hitting an undefeated 121 from 134 balls in 202 minutes. Pakistan still won but thanks to a big stand between Saeed Anwar and Inzaman-ul-Haq rather than any under performing. Mark and Shane Warne were, however, approached by an Indian bookmaker, who strained credibility by telling them his name was John, to provide information on weather, pitch conditions, team tactics and selection. They always refused to pass any details about the last two items; the others were provided but could easily have been gleaned from the media. Cricket Australia fined the two players when their involvement was discovered but attempted to conceal the news. The story eventually broke some four years later; there was considerable anger in Australia with even Prime Minister John Howard expressing his "considerable disappointment." Attending the Fifth Test of the 1998-99 Ashes series at the SCG, I recall more than a few boos greeting Mark as he walked out to bat, and the reception was not from the Barmy Army, there in force though they were. His response was an elegant 121 adding 190 for the 4th wicket - inevitably with Steve - in 202 minutes. The boos had died away when he was eventually caught behind off Dean Headley.
After his retirement, Mark - forgiven by the establishment - became an AM (Member of the Order of Australia). He married successful race horse trainer Kim Moore in 2002 and now works in the media. A rather bland and uninformative biography of him by James Knight was published in 2003.
In the late 1980s, as he struggled to make his way into the Test side, the Soviet Union was locked in combat with The Taliban in a conflict that few other people took much notice of. Thus Mark became known as "Afghan" - the Forgotten Waugh! This proved an exceptionally inappropriate nickname. One thing Mark Edward Waugh will, never be in cricket is forgotten.
Edward Liddle, April 2010