Wednesday, February 21

"i've got a bad feeling about this..."

There's a lot of Australia bashing and debate going on. Are they past it? Is this the end of an era? Are they a (relatively) spent force? Is their finally proximity between them and the rest of the pack?
Its a bit early for me to be able to answer in the affirmative to any of these. I am wary of writing them off-nay, even belittling them- for they have shown that they are champions in more ways than one. Yet, one cannot elude the feeling that they have lost a bit of their edge- depleted team, injuries and exhaustion notwithstanding. Losing 6 from 7, and the manner of some of these losses, is just very...un-Australian.

Simon Barnes lays into the (erstwhile?) champion team a bit, and justifies gloating very persuasively. He goes a bit jedi in this bit, which admittedly sounds rather right:

The luck has deserted Australia along with the confidence and sureness of touch. It always does when a side starts to lose. One crucial injury has followed another: that’s the way things happen with losers. When the force is with you, an injury seems to become a positive advantage, forcing a new and brilliant player into the front line. Australian are at present a team deserted by the force.

I do believe one must refrain from getting carried away with all this bashing/rejoicing/moping (depending on your perspective), for this team is most dangerous when faced with the need to recover. The lack of recovery time and the spate of injuries is sure to hamper that bounce-back-ability, but only their results in the World Cup will show us where the future lies. Just when I started to think that Mr Barnes might be a tad overdone,

Is this a terminal decline for Australia? Or is it merely a brief moment of regrouping? Who can tell? The one certainty is that the great Australia cricket dynasty reached some kind of punctuation point at the end of the Ashes series, and right now it looks more like a full stop than a comma.

Anything less than a slot in the World Cup final will, as I see it, be taken as a confirmation that the flow of world cricket (at least in ODIs) has taken a turn. Until that time, which is a substantial ten weeks away, lets wait.


samir said...

Shakester: thanks for your comments on my blog - I've responded back there. BTW, I agree with this analysis - both parts of it - that Australia could get more dangerous, and that anything less than a final will be viewed as a failure.

shakester said...

hey samir, for the world cup's sake, I hope its the latter with them

Stu said...

Nothing less than a spot in the final! Sounds like you're very keen to have an excuse to write them off. This is one day cricket - even at full strength, even at the height of power - a side could easily miss out on a spot in the final of a World Cup - ask the South Africans.

In ODI contests, any international side can upset any other side on a given day, and to win consistently is nearly impossible.

Australia has been "written off" after every loss for the past two years - I guess one of these times it is bound to be correct...

shakester said...

Hey Stu, good to see you here again.
I'm not keen at all- in fact if there's anything I have said in thepost its that they are likely to bounce back with a vengeance.
And what I said (or at least meant) was that in the view of the cricketing world in general, not making the final would be confirmation that Australia has joined the mere mortals in ODI cricket.

To win consistently is nearly impossible, yet Australia has done almost exactly that for the past few years. Surely yuo will agree that the aura around them (and there has been one) has sprouted from very real results.

As for writing them off, I think the only times the ODI team has been genuinely questioned (by the public/media in general) is during the summer in England in '05, and now. Every loss has not brought about people talking of their dominance ending, but 6 in 7 has.

ps- why I wont ask the Safricans, or for that mantter any team at the height of its power, is because no one- even at their very best- has shown the consistency and sheer bloody-mindedness that the supreme Aussie side has.

shakester said...

and, stu- it says that not reaching the final will mean "that the flow of world ODI cricket has turned' not that Australia need to be written off.:)