After a decade of dominance, the Australian team seems to be on the wane. The mighty ‘Invincibles‘ now suddenly seem very much human and vulnerable. The aggressive and care-a-damn attitude has given way to a more subdued approach. Well, this had to happen.
The average Australian cricketer which we used to see was an aggressive go-getter who used to wear his attitude on his sleeve and was proud to wear the baggy green cap. He believed in winning and blowing the opposition away. This was the quality which was well and truly inculcated by the captains of the Australian team; Mark Talyor, Steve ‘Conqueror’ Waugh and Ricky Ponting. The Australian dominance which started in style on Australia’s tour of West Indies flagged off Australia’s journey to being the most feared outfit in world cricket. Boasting of world-class players like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and the Waugh brothers, what followed was wins, wins and more wins. The past 10 years saw some fine exhibition of ruthless cricket, pulling off unbelievable wins and winning the 1999 and 2003 World Cup in spectacular fashion.
England, however, seem to be the flavour of the season. Having humbled the world champions on occasions more than one, the present England team seems to have done enough to displace Australia as the number one team in cricket. The England players vis-à-vis the Aussies are young, in fine nick and of course, talented. On the contrary, Australia arrived in England with many of its key players out of form, and some picking injuries later. The Australians seem to be a shadow of their former self with the batting scratchy, fielding sloppy and bowling pedestrian. One of the most eye-catching moments were on the penultimate day of the third test when Australia, who in the words of Steve Waugh do not believe in a draw, batted tooth and nail to save the day. Whatever the outcome of the series, one thing is clear that Australia are no longer the supreme force in cricket.