As a young man in my late 20’s I can remember the days where Australia simply had to turn up to win a match. The diminishing of this so called invincibility was inevitable after the retirement of some of the games greatest players, but the manor of the decline is shocking.
After the retirement of Warne, McGrath and Ponting et al, there was a period of time where Australia were still considered one of the best test sides. They were amongst a crowd of teams that would dominate teams on their home turf. This list includes England, India and South Africa. Further retirements to players such as Johnson dented the Aussie team, with a group of young players chucked in learning the hard way.
It now seems that Australia have been thrust in to the group of teams below for test cricket, with a number of below par performances in Sri Lanka and in particular the home series against South Africa.
The problems lie with team selection, at the moment the selectors seem to be trying a ‘chuck a player in’ method. This is that they are trying out a player in one match, if that player fails he is out.
The selectors are in fear of another batting collapse, which has seen good wicketkeeper Peter Neville dropped from the side in place of Matthew Wade who is not so good behind the stumps.
Nathan Lyon who is having a confidence loss instead of being taken aside by Shane Warne for mental coaching is also under threat of being dropped. This very public way of conducting their business surely can’t be helping him. It was not long ago that he was being considered the best spinner in the world, that to by playing on Aussie grounds made for seem bowling.
Is there no stand out players in Australian state cricket at the moment? It once world boasted players who were of a high international class that could not get into the Australian side. Players such as Stuart Law could have starred for any other international country.
Steve Smith, Darren Lehman and even vice captain David Warner have to take some blame, there is no clear leadership from these three. Warner in particular playing care free as if he has no responsibility.
As a fan of cricket it is sad to see Australia so poor in the longest format of the game. Test cricket needs a strong Australian side to keep the game alive.