Why Australia is where they are today, is the question that every Australian cricket fan is asking right now.
Not many can answer as to what exactly happened to the “GREAT” Australian side, which ruled the cricketing world with complete dominance.
However, the real question is what have happen to a team that looked unbeatable for over a decade, but eventually fallen apart so easily in just 3 years?
It was all hunky dory till 2007, when Australia regains the World Cup title for the 2nd time in a row.
Everything was looking perfect from the team to the captain, from the players to the management, & from the backup to the over all system.
People used to say that this regime will not fall apart that easily, and for good generation to come.
But in just 3 years, that’s all it takes to destroy the power house of the cricketing world.
As far as I can understand, my perception is different from the rest, and I can briefly mention some very important points that I believe that led to the downfall of the mighty Aussies.
No 1 – Lack of respect for players
No 2 – “Favoritism”
No 3 – Lack of respect for backup as well
No 4 – Lack of patience for backup
Point Number 1: Lack of Respect for Players
Well a lot of people can disagree on this, or they would at least argue about it that this is not the case, but I will disagree with that mindset.
For every successful team, one would have to find a balance of things to begin with.
I mean, how can any team afford to kick out player with the likes of Michel Bevan, Andy Bichel who never ever caused any trouble in the team, and who was on the top of their game?
Michel Bevan and Andy Bichel were two of the main players because of whom Australia won the 2003 World Cup.
Michel Bevan to be precise, who was tagged as the “GOD” of finishing matches for turning a lost cause into a winning one, was pivotal to the successful defense of the World Cup.
Andy Bichel, on the other hand was in his prime form in 2003, when he along with Bevan and many other, played a crucial part in winning the 2003 World Cup.
Yet Cricket Australia (CA) did not renew their Central Contracts in 2004. There is every reason to believe that no matter how big you are as a cricketing nation, you cannot just let the players go like this when they have been a part of some great achievements.
It’s not right morally and this is not how people treat their Hero’s. The same mistake they did with Damien Martyn as well, where they pressurized him to the extent that even with a very decent record, he retired eventually before time.
Point Number 2: Too much favouritism
Well as we have heard about the word of “Favouritism” in South Asian cricket, apparently, they are not the only ones that have this problem, as it happens to be a problem in Australia as well.
May be not as much as in India, Pakistan or West Indies, but it is there for sure. The prime example of that was Brad Hodge and David Hussey.
They both were the prime performers in Australian domestic cricket for seasons after season, and as well as abroad, but they were given very little chance or let’s just say that no chance to show their metal at the highest level.
Brad Hodge was and is the best middle order player in Australia, and that too without a shadow of doubt, but yet they include Marcus North and then Steve Smith in their test line up to bat at No 6, and left Brad Hodge out of the equation who have an average of 58 Runs per inning in 6 tests.
Point Number 3: Lack of Respect for backups
Cricket Australia did not only shown disrespect to their great players, but to their backup as well.
The likes of Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clarke, Brad Hodge, Nathan Hauritz were all ignored way too quickly than one expected it to be.
Nathan Bracken was the No.1 bowler in ODI when he got injured, but he never came back to the side.
Stuart Clarke was called to be the nearest replacement in Test cricket at least for Glenn Macgrath, due to his immaculate line and length, but he got injured and never came back for unknown reasons.
Nathan Hauritz had a bad patch and he was ignored forever while Brad Hodge never had a bad patch but even then he was ignored.
Such things, which shows that you think way ahead than the actual future, can sometimes make you think as to where you are actually going.
Point Number 4: Lack of Patience for backup
Cricket Australia did not show patience with their backup as well.
They shuffled their players way too quickly and that’s not clearly the way to go about it.
Some time back, England used to do the same thing, which was shuffle, shuffle and more shuffle.
Now they have learned the art of keeping the basics straight. Not Every player can be Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath, Shoaib Akhtar, Murlitharan, Alan Donald, Sachin Tendulkar or Brain Lara, so everyone should never be treated equally.
Not everyone can produce the results like these legends of the game did, and one would have to acknowledge this fact and go on with their job.
But unfortunately, it was exactly opposite way around in Australian cricket arena. They expected the results of Warne, Gilchrist and McGrath from Hauritz, Brad Haddin and Stuart Clarke.
For all the logical reasons, those players were LEGENDS of the GAME and they will be easily fitted into any World XI of all time.
So there is no point in expecting their kind of results from any other player so easily.
The solution to the Australian cricket problem is very easy and they can be back and become a force very soon.
What they need to do now is to realize first of all that they don’t have the services of great’s of the game, so they have to be realistic and patient about the results and the outcome of different events.
They have to be realistic that since they literally ruined their quite good backup themselves, they are now left with not a good team, nor a good backup.
This means that CA will have to become patient and realistic about their approach and stick with the players and give them time and space to perform.
They have to stop giving players the red signal that they will not play for Australia again at the age of 28-29, just like they did to Nathan Hauritz who is just 29 and as a spinner he still has at least 5-6 years left in him.
They also have to stop avoiding players who performed for them in the recent past just because they got injured just like they did with Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clarke. With these kinds of efforts, they have to build up a good team and a good bench strength sooner than later, and it will be absolutely no surprise that we will Australia, back on the top, and that too within no time.