Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief. FINALLY, the Australian dominance over Test cricket has ended. The cricketing world has witnessed the unnatural phenomena of an Australian team losing 3 Test matches in a row since 1988. Humble pie has become the staple diet of Ricky Ponting; their battle scarred captain sporting a bruised ego. His recent post match interviews have been a steady stream of excuses on behalf of an underperforming team that’s scraping the barrel to replace the superstars of the last decade. Ponting, who played a big part in the success of Steve Waugh’s world dominating all conquering team, has become the scapegoat for the shortfalls of this team. I doubt that there’s a single cricketer in Australia who envies Ponting’s current situation, especially as we approach an Ashes summer.

It’s evident that Ponting has the desire to mould a winning team under his own brand of captaincy. A brand of captaincy that would carve a niche for himself as one of the great cricket captains following the feats of Bradman, Hasset, Benaud, and Waugh in Australian sporting folklore. In all fairness, there is no shame in that for such a gifted and accomplished player who has given so much to the sport he loves. He makes his desire obvious with every inning that he goes in to bat with tough gritty knock that holds it all together around him. He has put away his signature hooks and pulls for less risky run scoring. He doesn’t dance down the track to the spinners as much as he used to do, but he still scores steadily against them. His inspired fielding belies his age as it seems that he has not lost even a degree of sharpness with his near superhuman speed and agility.  However, a gutsy captain and a team of fit athletes is not by far a winning formula in the game of cricket.

Performances show that Australia is still a very competitive team, but there are a few slip-ups in recent times in their usually flawless resume.

In addition, Australia’s win/loss ratio has plummeted to an all time low within the last 10 years. The following table shows the Test and ODI results of the Australian team split in to two periods; 1998 – 2008 and 2008 to the present. 


Win/Loss Ratio
These statistics show that the Australian win loss ratio has fallen from 5.06 to 1.54 in tests, and from 3.08 to 2.21 in ODI’s within the last 2 years; a hideous statistic by Australian standards. They clearly indicate that Australia are on a downward spiral and are steadily losing their aura of invincibility. It’s evident that they’ve lost their x-factor by the loss of players like Hayden, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath.

We saw a once great West Indian team fall after the collective retirements of Richards, Dujon, Marshal, Greenidge and Haynes. This ended an era of West Indian dominance over cricket and almost two decades down the line, the repercussions of their retirements still echo in the West Indies. Not even the likes of Lara, Richardson, Walsh or Ambrose could arrest the decline. Even though they are a decade apart, the similarities between the rise and fall of these two teams are uncanny. The retirements of Hayden, Gilchrist, Langer, Warne and McGrath are having a similar effect on the fortunes of the Australian team. History, statistics and recent performances all point towards an implosion of Australian cricket.

Finally, is this really the end of the era of Australian dominance? Without a doubt, the rest of the cricketing world will be painting bull’s-eyes on effigies of the Australian’s backs in the midst of formulating many a vengeful campaign. They finally have a chance to grind the tormentors of their generation in to the dust. I say don’t count on it. They’ve been given a harsh reminder of what it’s like to lose frequently again. If the Australian teams of the past have taught us anything, then it’s that they are going to come back even harder at each and every opponent. I have a strong notion that we haven’t seen the last of Ponting & Co or the best of them either.

- Statistics courtesy of statsguru from cricinfo.com.
*   9 Matches did not yield results.
** 4 Matches did not yield results.


  1. Australia has been the top team for over half of their entire time in international cricket, in all formats (aside from T20, when Australia has never been number 1). While this period was the most dominant that Australia has ever been, they had periods in the 1930s, 1940s and even 1960s when they were the top side in world cricket. It may be another 30 or 40 years before Australia is the best side again and they may never be as dominant as they recently were, but I don't expect them to drop down as far as West Indies have, if for no other reason than Australian cricket just has so much history and so much depth. It also should be noted that Australian cricket right now isn't bad because there are no good cricketers about - it is primarily because of the poor selections. Our batting is just as good as it ever was - they just aren't being selected, while we persist with out of form and just plain horrible (e.g. Marcus North) batsmen. We have some amazing keepers out there, they just aren't being selected (e.g. Wade and Hartley). We have probably our best ever selection of quality fast bowlers, it is just that we aren't utilising them properly, largely because we insist on playing a spinner for the sake of a spinner. And finally, no, we don't have a good spinner, and right now we'd be better served to go in with 4 fast bowlers. Eventually, the selectors will wake up to what teams they should be selecting and then, all of a sudden, this Australian team will be really good. Maybe not easily the best in the world, maybe not even number 1 at all, but a hell of a lot better than they are performing now. My current test XI: Michael Hussey (opening), Phil Jaques, Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson (at 4), Cameron White (c), Steve Smith, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Clint McKay, Doug Bollinger, with Xavier Doherty to replace McKay if the pitches are spinning like crazy (e.g. Sydney) or Hilfenhaus if we are going to England. The problem is that they won't go in with the best side, and, in a few cases, have them batting in the wrong positions. We also have the wrong person as captain.

  2. @ therealadrian - Thank you for your comments.
    I agree. Historically, Australian teams have been a very good rather than mediocre. I’m positive that they won’t encounter the same problems that West Indies cricket encountered in the early 90’s. Firstly, they have excellent player development through the junior ranks which frequently unearth and groom young talent from all parts of the country. Secondly, the competitive nature of their domestic cricket provides an opportunity for these players to hone their skills before they reach the world stage. I believe Australia can produce 2 or 3 international teams at any given time due to the competitive nature of their domestic cricket. Even though Australia has an abundance of cricketing talent, I don’t envy the Australian selectors at all. Having too many good players available for selection is more complicated than picking a playing XI from a smaller group of good players. A luxury that Sri Lankan, West Indian, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh selectors have.

    What’s incomprehensible is the persistence the Australian selectors show with past failures. The biggest being the promotion of Michael Clark as T20 and stand-in captain when he has clearly shown that he’s not the man for the job. Instead, Cameron White seems to be the obvious choice. Decisions such as opening the batting with Katich when solid opening bats like Jaques and Rogers are at hand as well as persevering with Hauritz who has a 40+ first class bowling average is bizarre. Slotting North at the all important No. 6 position is also inexplicable as he is neither a Border nor a Martyn. Anyhow, it’s safe to say that while the Australians are going through a bit of an extended slump, they are by no means a rudderless ship. The most exciting prospect is the upcoming Ashes which promise to be an interesting and even contest.

  3. Good to read about the Australian dominance and losing the matches in 1988,really interesting and useful to read,the post is also great.


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  4. @ Carl
    Thank you for your comments. Your feedback is always welcome on my articles.