ASHES DIARY 2001 © Steve Waugh 2001. Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Pty Limited

If you're like me, then there're times when things get you down and you ask yourself, "Mate, what's it all about?" It's only human. As you ponder life's meaning, you need something to recharge your mental batteries--and I reckon nothing's better than Tugga Waugh's latest, ASHES DIARY 2001. Tugga's your man for a tight spot, so I picked up his book and a couple of tinnies and wasn't disappointed.
     Around this time last year Australia played a few Tests in India. The book has a picture of some nice-looking foam cut-outs of the players that made the rounds while they were over there. Have a quick squizz at it, it won't take you 30 seconds.
     Then a bit later in 2001 the greatest Aussie cricket team since the Invincibles got stuck into the Poms 4-1 to keep the Ashes. No surprises there, what with the usual suspects: Gilly, Marto, Punter, Haydo, Slats, Lang, Warney, Pigeon and the rest of the crew who rocked up to the line and had a go when Australia sounded the call. It's a ripper of a story, and you'll be fucken stoked when the lads pay their respects at Gallipoli before going to England and showing 'em who's top in batting, bowling, fielding and sledging.
     Tugga's not short on insight, and gives us the good oil on what it takes to captain a team of deadset legends going flat-out to show the world who's number 1--because that's what they are, no worries. There're lighthearted moments too, and tales of what goes on off-field. Junior gets a mention here, as Tugga tells how brother Mark went down to the local tattoo parlour with a few of the boys and got the job done on his ankle. Nice one.
     There's no stinting on drama either. You got to admire the skipper when he tears his calf in two places during the Third Test and leaves the field on a stretcher, but comes back in the Fifth Test and scores 157 not out without a runner. Is that up there or what. Like he said, "I'm a professional cricketer and I love playing for Australia. What else was I going to do?" For sure these are the words of a real battler who doesn't hold back in putting his hand up when there's work to be done.
     I have a lot of time for a fella like Tugga. Just because his team copped a few from the Proteas in the one-day matches this summer doesn't mean he deserves a bagging. There's no way this bloke is a spent force. He's the quiet achiever who goes about his business and gets results. And if a great Aussie champion like him decides to set aside his sporting commitments for a moment and sit down and pen a few books, then we owe him a listen. Simple as that. He's gold, mate. Good as.