Australian Cricket: The Meteoric Rise and the Gradual Fall

By The Sober Schoolboy

Australian Cricket TeamOk guys. Let’s handle this like professionals, ‘sniff’.

Australia’s humiliating loss in the second test against India set a few alarm bells ringing and rightly so. They have been off the pace for a while now and generally seem to be managed poorly. Even before this series I found myself wondering how it had happened that the recently all conquering Australians had lost so much bite when it mattered.

A perfect example of this would be their recent test series reversal against South Africa. Australia dominated the first two tests and should have been out of sight by the time the third one came around. The Proteas owed just as much to Australia’s susceptibility in pressure situations as they did to the heroics of players like Faf du Plessis.

As a young cricket fanatic in 2006, I remember being in awe of the Australian test line-up. A team sheet that included world class players like Hayden, Ponting, Gilchrist, Warne, McGrath and Lee was probably the only test side ever that would be able to rival the great West Indian sides from the 1970s and 1980s.

What made this team truly exceptional, however, was their ingrained fight and determination to win. We toured there in the 2005/ 06 season with much being said about South Africa’s new policy of “brave cricket”.

Our team wasn’t bad at all at the time, with players like Smith, Gibbs, Kallis, Ntini and Pollock all being able to exert some influence on most situations. The Australian team was too good though, and like an All Blacks team in the Rudolf Straeuli era simply swept us away like we were Bangladesh. Unlike those All Black teams, however, the Australians delivered at World Cups as well, not losing a game between 1999 and 2011.

australian_cricketWe’re so much better than you!

Now the Baggy Green test side is getting hammered in India with Michael Clarke having scored 24 percent of their runs during the last season. That’s almost as balanced as Gareth Bale’s scoring ratio for Tottenham compared to other players this season.

Players like David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon simply don’t possess the qualities to take over from the aforementioned team and group of players. It seems like an issue with selection as well as coaching though, with the Roberto Mancini of cricket coaching being in charge of this team.

Mickey Arthur was lousy as South Africa’s coach and was a really weak character. This attitude seems to be rubbing off on the current group,with an alarming lack of fight present in this team.

It is easy to say that the previous group were simply a golden generation, but would it not have been possible to groom someone besides Michael Clarke for the challenges they are facing now?

This week it was announced that the likes of Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Khawaja had been dropped from the squad for the third test against India for not completing their homework assignments.

Australian Cricket   I told those guys to finish their homework…

What must be said, however, is that Australia still has some good talent on the fringes, with players like Pat Cummins being a good example of the potential that these players have.

The whole escapade smacks of Australian arrogance and a lack of planning: with the way forward being to involve some of these experienced ex- players with the team and bring the winning mentality back.

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