The Beginning of an end – The Fall of Australian Cricket
It is easy to draw some similarities between the Australian Cricket Team and the Liverpool Football Club. Not many would have the similarity between them. The Liverpool Football Team is considered as the best during my Grandpa’s time. The Last Time when they won an English Premier League Trophy, Sachin Tendulkar was in pursuit for his first International Hundred, Michael Schumacher was yet to sit inside a Formula 1 car and Zinedine Zidane was just a young kid playing for Cannes.
Now after 23 years in 2013, they are finding it hard to finish in the top 4 in the league table but are considered as a top team courtesy their History. Like the Liverpool FC, Cricket too had the West Indian Team which dominated the 1970’s and 1980’s. To add with West Indies, the Australian Cricket team is likely to follow the footsteps of Liverpool FC.
The rise of Australian Cricket
It was a time when the West Indians ruled the Cricketing fraternity. They had won the 1975 World Cup, 1979 World Cup and were strayed by India in the finals of the 1983 version. Since then West Indies lost their way and steadily Australian Cricket began to take charge. Allan Border led Australia won the 1987 World Cup and announced their arrival to the Cricket aficionados. Gradually the Australian Cricket team raised the bars and started conquering other teams that were in business.
Australian Cricket Team – Class of 1990’s and 2000’s
Soon the Australian Cricket Team increased their might and became a force to reckon with. Allan Border made way for Mark Taylor as the skipper. Players like Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh made their mark at the international level. Soon they were joined by the acrobatic gloveman Adam Gilchrist and the man who had a habit off finishing things off every time he was asked to do so – Micheal Bevan. McGrath and Warne formed a lethal partnership.
The Australian Cricket Team under Steve Waugh won the 1999 World Cup and that marked the beginning of Aussie domination in World Cricket. Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie broke their way into the side and provided the much-needed stability in the bowling line-up. Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden carried the art of opening the batting in ODI’s to yet another level. They went on to become one of the most successful pair to have played the game. Justin Langer joined hands with Hayden in tests and defied the bowlers around the world.
The Australian Cricket Team successfully defended their World Cup crown in 2003 under Ricky Ponting courtesy some new faces such as Brad Hogg, Andrew Symonds and Damien Martyn. After toiling hard for years at domestic level, 31-year-old Mike Hussey along with his young Michael Clarke made their debut for the Australian Cricket team. Within no time the rookie batsman (Hussey) transformed into a consistent batsman that earned him the name Mr. Cricket. So many cricketers had the opportunity to play International Cricket, but only Mike Hussey had the privilege to be called Mr. Cricket. Since making his debut for Australian Cricket Team in 2005, he remained the backbone of the Aussie batting line-up.
The Australian Cricket Team created history by becoming the first team to complete a Hat-Trick of World Cup wins in 2007.This signaled the start of Transition Period of Australian Cricket.
Australian Cricket Team sans Legends
Just before the 2007 World Cup, legendary spinner Shane Warne called it a day from International Cricket and so did Martyn and Langer. McGrath too announced his retirement from Tests and decided to bid adieu from ODI’s after the 2007 World Cup. In other words, after the 2007 World Cup, the Australian Cricket Team was functioning without the CPU of their bowling attack.In the following year, Gilchrist along with Hogg followed his buddies after the CB Series loss to India. The Australian Cricket Team started struggling in the International Circuit. But still they managed to perform well courtesy Hayden, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke and Andrew Symonds. After a poor run with the bat, Hayden lost confidence in himself and decided not to turn up for the Australian Cricket Team in the future. Symonds had some problems with the Australian Cricket Board, media and even the team management because of his behaviour that made him out of favour for the future series.
The Management had some tough questions to sort out. It is difficult to replace the quality of players that the Australian Cricket Team had in the past and that reflected on the team selection. The selectors struggled to find potential replacement for the retired stars but still they managed to win some games due to the presence of Ponting, Hussey and Brett Lee. In 2011, The Australian Cricket Team suffered their first loss in a World Cup since their loss to Pakistan in 1999 World Cup when they lost to Pakistan in Hambantotta.
In their very next match, the Australian Cricket Team were knocked out by the eventual Champions India and thus ending their invincible run in World Cups. Lee too retired after the Cricket Carnival and Ponting made way for Micheal Clarke as the Skipper. The form of the Australian Cricket Team became disastrous and that banked a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Ponting and Hussey. Ponting failed to deliver under pressure raising some eyebrows over his retirement and eventually called it a day after the test series against South Africa in 2012.
The last man standing from the Golden Generation of Australian Cricket, Hussey too followed his former skipper after the very next series against Sri Lanka. The Australian Cricket Team are struggling hard to sustain as a top team at the International Level.
The Fall of Australian Cricket
Since the departure of Australian Cricket’s golden generation, losing matches consistently has become a habit for the Australian Cricket Team. The Australian Cricket Team which is currently in England for the 2013 Ashes is a victim of Transition Period. Since the retirement of Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist, the Aussies have tried 8-10 Spinners, more than 20 Pacers and 5 Wicket Keepers but none of them prevailed in the Long Run. Some talented players like Simon Katich and Nathan Bracken fell victims to the politics inside the Australian Cricket.
Now a days, the controversies in the Australian Cricket Team are making headlines instead of their triumph and domination over their opponents. Over the last 4-5 months, Home-Work Gate Controversy, David Warner-Joe Root incident, Sacking of their coach Mickey Arthur 3 weeks before Ashes and the “CANCER” remarks on Watson made news and had a negative impact on the Australian Cricket Team. West Indies too had a similar crisis after the 1983 World Cup and are yet to recover from it.
Whereas India had their Transition Period in 2011 and 2012. But the Indians overcame the issue and continued to dominate the World Cricket courtesy the team management’s decision to give chances to the fringe players too often. But both West Indies and the Australian Cricket Team failed to do so. At the end of the day, all these crisis in the team(the reason for Australian Cricket’s poor performance) points to the Transition Period of Australian Cricket. Their team management without keeping an eye on the future failed to test the bench strength and instead persisted with the same bunch of players in almost every match. So after their retirement, the other players failed to replicate on the success achieved by their seniors.
“In the past the Australian Cricket Team owned several World Records including the longest unbeaten streak in Tests(they held it twice in 2000-01 and in 2006-07). But now, they are struggling to Draw a single Test.”
Such is the effect of Transition Period on them. At present, the Australian Cricket are fighting so hard to win the Ashes battle in England, the series they used to rule 5 years back. Let’s hope the Australian Cricket Team overcome the problems and avoid the path of West Indian Cricket Team and Liverpool Football Club.