Steve Waugh, who led Australia to Ashes triumph in 2001 and 2002-03, has rejoined the Test team led by Tim Paine ahead of the fourth Ashes Test, starting on Wednesday at Old Trafford in Manchester. Holders Australia lost a lead in the five-match series to England after Ben Stokes pulled off an impressive series-levelling win at Headingley last week. As Steve Waugh returns to the side "after such a long time away from the game", Australia coach Justin Langer believes the 54-year-old's enthusiasm has been "like a kid at Christmas".
"We asked him to stay for the third Test, but he had to go back for a function," Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
"But he was actually going to fly there, do the function and fly back the next day. That's how much he's enjoying it. He's been like a kid at Christmas. To come back after such a long time away from the game, his passion and enthusiasm for the game has been brilliant and it's going to be great," he added.
Langer welcomed the move and said it will benefit his players in the present and future.
"Guys like 'Punter' (Ricky Ponting) and Steve Waugh, not only have they got a great presence within the group but they're great psychologists as well," Langer said.
"They've been in the cauldron before, they've seen it before. We talk about developing our leadership in Australian cricket, to have your guys being able to learn from people of that calibre is very important short term, but longer term there's huge value in that," he added.
Australia rode on Steve Smith's batting brilliance to win the first Ashes Test by 251 runs, following which the second Test at Lord's ended in a draw.
Stokes scored a gritty hundred in the third Ashes Test to help England beat Australia by one wicket to draw parity in the series.
(With IANS inputs)