Lets get one thing straight from the get go: Australia has not fallen spectacularly from the top of the cricket world and in all probability will never do so. Like it or not, other nations will always struggle to beat Australia and the majority of them will continue to fail against them; and when on Australian soil, fail dismally. Don’t believe me. Bad luck; I’m right!
But what about South Africa going two-nil up (or even white-washing the series) I hear you say. What more evidence could a sane person need that the Australian side are being caught by the chasing pack?
All debates have sides, and all sides have interests. In the case of those pronouncing the fall of Australia as a dominating team, these interests don’t take much working out. Many people have simply grown sick and tired of seeing the Australian side humiliate other sides series after series, year after year.
Not many teams or individuals in the sporting world can hold the ascendancy for so long and not lodge themselves right up the noses of all but the most one-eyed and sickeningly parochial supporters. Many commentators on the game, of who Peter Roebuck has been one of the most vocal, have simply become fed up with the Australian team. While commentators such as Roebuck often aimed their discontent at the personalities of those in the side, the way they played the game and the manner in which they behaved towards their opponents, the bigger reason, the only reason that really matters, was that the bloody side hardly ever lost. It was the Sydney test against India that famously brought it all to a crescendo.
While people were not impressed by some of the behaviour of the Australians, what really hurt was that Australia won a test that appeared from every angle to be heading for a draw. The pick pocketing of a test in such a manner all became too much for some.
And so with a couple of series defeats the temptation of some to pronounce the end of the misery is too great to resist. And who can blame them? For all they so desperately want is for test cricket involving Australia to once again be the intense and fierce battle it has been in the past. Not just a series here and there every half dozen years or so, but competitive. Series after series, year after year.
However, such is the emotion in these arguments, filled with almost desperate hope that the monotony of Australian series wins is over for a considerable time to come – that the stone cold facts of the matter have escaped some.
The facts are that, as great as certain Australian cricketers are, the highly tuned set-up for developing cricketing talent in this country is such that whenever a great player has retired there has always been and will continue to be a good solid cricketer waiting in the wings, ready to step into the breach and help keep the ship on course.
Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle are two cases in point. The two have stepped up in the current series against South Africa and proved themselves to be nothing short of very good international cricketers.
Siddle bowls with aggression and understands the line and length required to take wickets at the highest level. Johnson on the other hand is shaping up to become a devastating allrounder, who looks just as likely to shape a game with his bat as with the ball.
While Warne and McGrath might very well be once in a lifetime cricketers, when you replace them with talent that maybe comes along two or three times in a lifetime, the result is going to be much the same. Teams might get closer but predictions of Australia sinking down to the doldrums fail to recognise the vitality of the game in Australia.
South Africa may have proved that the Australian side is no longer an unbeatable fortress, it is much too soon to be writing the obituary on Australian test cricket dominance. Such is the production line of talent in Australia that, as lamentable as it is for some, the Australian test side is never going to be anything short of damn good.
If commentators continue to believe that the Australian will merely peter out and become a shadow of their former selves, they are setting themselves up for a great disappointment.
Liked this post? You should subscribe to our email updates - why subscribe.