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From scalpels to baseball bats

March 24, 2009

They were written off by all the experts. They said their captain was one the root causes of the problem. They even suggested that he was more concerned about his own record than the team’s performance. That without the blonde legspinner and the foul-tempered metronome of a seam-bowler, they were just another ordinary side waiting to be thrashed by the other test sides. India went there and beat them at the WACA in Perth. That they had been soundly beaten at the previous game at the SCG was forgotten in the brouhaha over bad behaviour. They went to India, and this time, were beaten soundly. Then South Africa came to their shores and beat them in a series for the first time. I still said “Freddie isn’t that easy to kill

In terms of change in personnel, this side has pretty much been completely replaced over the short course of two-three seasons. Warne, Mcgrath, Langer, Martyn, Gillespie, Gilchrist. Loss of form for Lee and Hayden resulting in the latter’s retirement. I’m not even talking about ‘The Roy meltdown’. Talk about rocking the boat! Imagine being Ponting as your ‘tried and tested’ leave to be replaced by green-horns. With each replacement in the batting order, there was just that much more pressure on Ricky to score runs. Could he really be blamed for trying to hang on to some modicum of familiarity by publicly stating that Haydos could play as long as he wanted to? I don’t think so.

The new recruits have started to make their presence felt. Johnson stepped up his game by several notches. Siddle, Hilfenhaus and co have made their presence felt too.  They aren’t as pretty. Hughes’s lunges at deliveries outside offstump will never be mistaken for Mark Waugh’s languid clips to the midwicket fence. Siddle’s bustle to the wicket won’t be mistaken for that of Lee or Mcgrath. But they’re starting to get the job done. Their only real hole, in my opinion, is that of a quality spinner. From the little evidence of Bryce Mcgain, looks like their search will continue.

From a highly-skilled surgical team that would take their opponents apart with minimal effort, they now rely on bludgeoning them into submission.

In the last twelve months, they’ve played 15 test matches, won seven and lost five. A win percentage of under 50% is below par, only what is par for them though. India, with a far improved performance by their usual standards has won six of their last 13 test matches and they’re being talked about as challengers in addition to South Africa. They might not be blowing teams off the park like they used to, but I reckon the most difficult phase of their transition is done. They now know that they can win without all those names mentioned above. It’ll be a while before they are scything teams open and winning test matches in three days, but they can still hand out a sound thrashing. Ask Graeme Smith.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2009 11:56 am

    It is good to see the new Aussies doing well. And its a testament to the Shield game that they survived this.

    I think the only way for this team is up and that is worrying for the rest of the world.

    Australias guard was only down for about a series or two.

    Other teams might have suffered for years, Look at WI, Kiwis losing players to the ICL.

    Remarkable feat. But the icing on the cake will be the Ashes, if Ponting can lead his young side to a win in England – dont doubt England having to wait another 20 years for an Ashes win.

  2. March 30, 2009 10:01 am

    Good point about the West Indies and Kiwis. I’m putting my money on a sound thrashing for England because while the Aussies have been resurgent, the English have only seemed to regress.

  3. April 2, 2009 11:28 pm

    I agree that Aussies would win this year’s Ashes and very comprehensively too. Yaa i seriously think that way.
    They are definitely back. As the post says that they may not blow the oppositions apart now, but they still know how to take 20 wickets and win matches. Who would have expected them to go to SA and do what they did, after being thrashed at home.
    And England are a side struggling for everything really. So I cant see them posing a challenge to Australia.

    But India and SA are sure to challenge Aus for the no 1 slot. It wont be easy sailing for Aus as in the past.

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