Monday, 16 March 2009


What a whirlpool of emotions and theories has erupted in the last few months around Australian cricket. Careers have sadly ended , others have shot off into oblivion and sensationally some have ignited. And yet after all the turbulence of these last months we find our much beloved team in much the same place as they were before it all began. The same place, but in a vastly different vehicle. We now find ourselves talking excitedly about our new crop of youngsters not nervously chewing our nails wondering if the old hands can somehow manage one more foray into battle dragging the weak and weary through the trenches. For so long the wisened cricket community had talked up our second tier Sheffield Shield players with bravado suggesting that an Australia A side would probably be the second best team in the world and possibly believed it. That theory was tested and then blown to pieces by a rampaging South Africa hell bent on crushing a hoodoo that had existed for too long. Their series win seemed almost like fate and was helped along by some scratchy Australian form with the bat, ball and worst of all the field. I watched with a mixture of exasperation and disappointment as Australia systematically ruined a second day position of power and wondered the whole day if the game was following some sort of script. Had the ghost of Hansie Cronje righted a wrong? No, it was cricket plain and simple and it was not pretty to watch if you follow the baggy green. But it was good for world cricket. The Australians had been knocked from their high horse and a new sense of opportunity was realised by the struggling and challengers alike. They can be beaten and it could be us. Even the Australian victory in Sydney did nothing to quell the rising confidence of the rest of the world. It was hardly convincing, once again we struggled to finish of a team that should have been dead hours before. A broken handed Graeme Smith almost held on. The feeling was confirmed, the Aussies are ripe for the picking. You just knew some old aristocrat in the UK was polishing up a new batch of OBE's ready for the team once they took back The Ashes.
And then we went to South Africa. And the rest of the world waited for the bloodbath that would surely drag us from our throne once and for all. No Lee, no Hayden, no Symonds, No Clarke. The most inexperienced team to tour in a long, long time. Three debutants in the same test first up. Who would make the runs? Who would take the wickets? It was time, it was destiny. But the rest of the world had maybe not read enough Australian papers to have taken in the cold hard facts of the situation. Our Sheffield Shield is the best domestic competition in the world. An Australia A side could probably be the second best team in the world...


  1. All too true Nospmas. You can no doubt see the strength of a nation's cricket team by who is left out of its first 11. Rogers, Klinger, Hodge and others have smashed runs all season, on various pitches. Harwood, Nannes, Cleary, Harris and others have taken piles of wickets. Then there's the new breed of keeper-batsmen in Manou and Wade.

    All too rarely have I read commentary on how amazing it was for Aus to dominate everywhere for so long. All too frequently have I read ill-informed commentary on how Aus had been pulled back to the pack. India and RSA have obviously worked hard to improve as units (ie in all departments of the game) and rightly deserved to claim honours against Aus. But was this widely recognised? Hell no it wasn't! Rather, literary morons preferred to hypothesise how far Aus had fallen down the ladder. Perhaps this is understandable as identifying a crisis sells newspapers and generates interest: it may have fuelled determination amongst the players too! Funnily enough I don't hear a great many detractors being vocal at the moment. Hopefully they've lost their jobs and are writing for Womans Weekly about hair removal options.

  2. POTD Nospmas. good review of the views and attitudes around the Australian side situation.

    what was the wrong that may have been righted by the ghost of Hansie "How much" Cronje?

    One thing is for sure, a big difference since India is the structure and confidence of the bowling side. and apart from Johnson who found himself there and Siddle who was green, the Australians have needed this kicking to help drag in others and ask a bit more from the part timers. The depth of the batting in Sheild cricket is astonishing, i just hope that the best of the bowling isn't just Johnson and Siddle... the others have all contributed, but need to lift a notch to compliment the quality of the aforementioned: Hilf, i'm looking at you!

  3. A great summation beautifully written Nospmas!
    Could a better script have been written? Australia give the rest of the world a sniff, just enough incentive to lift their game a peg, (just enough time for us to re-tool) and then whammo, were back... "sorry it took us soooo long".

  4. I think Hanse would feel he owed South African cricket some sort of debt for raping it's image over the course of it's captaincy and years after. Perhaps a little spiritual intervention at the MCG that fateful 3rd day last year....

  5. that's a fair point Nospmas... i wasn't sure what you meant. i hope he did feel remorse, because i know any cricket purist wants to see a result based on skill, effort, determination and pride, not the almighty $ which is well obtainable to any player in the upper levels of the game.