Fall from grace – Team Australia

In the last couple of years  Team Australian is steadily spiraling downwards, this weeks dubious 47-All out against South Africa reflects the glaring reality of the standard of Australian Cricket. Ever since the 2008 series against India, where their superstar batsmen Mathew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist retired, they seemed to have lost their invincibility.

A team which epitomized ‘ mental toughness’ is now in serious need of mental upliftment, their listless performance against SA was totally bizarre. They seem to be loosing their cool in crunch situations. And for me exasperating. Nervous, unsure, defensive the fight doesn’t seem to exist anymore, simply crumbling meekly. There are more than half dozen games which come to my mind where they have lost from a position of strength, all this in the last 2 years.

One of the chief reasons for their poor show is run machine, Ricky Ponting. He hasn’t scored a single test century in the last 2 years, his ODI form has dipped, a scratchy century against India in the QF, CWC was his last significant knock. Top guns like Hussey and Clarke have shouldered lot of the batting responsibility however, a weak top order and lower order hasn’t helped their cause.

Bowling seems to be their biggest worry, Lee has lost the sting, Johnson is not able to convert promise into breathtaking performances, younger bowlers are still finding their feet at the top level, there’s not even one quality spinner in their ranks. Naturally they’re finding it really hard to win big games.

Off the field, the so called professionally driven board is in terrible mess, they seem to have bigger issues, Katich’s open attack on the board and the now captain goes to show that all’s not well in their so called “perfect” system.

They have managed to do fairly well in the ODI format and hold on to the top position but only just, matter of time they will be displaced. In Tests and T20s they find themselves in an unfamiliar position.

One more area they need to ponder upon are the coaches, they’re stuck with silly pseudo nationalism and hired coaches who had little or no international exposure as players. Time has come for them to look overseas and get someone who has a solid cricketing background.

Personally, I don’t see things improving for Oz any sooner simply because they haven’t hit the bottom yet, sooner or later they will. It will be interesting to see how and when Oz will strike back and rise again.