Australian Cricket August 27, 2008

The fall of Australia

Cricinfo
From Ashok Sridharan, India Blasphemous as it may sound, I'll stick my neck out and say that the current Australian side is not a great side, it is merely a good side with a few great individuals
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From Ashok Sridharan, India
Blasphemous as it may sound, I'll stick my neck out and say that the current Australian side is not a great side, it is merely a good side with a few great individuals. For all the talk of their complete dominance and being head and shoulders above their opponents, the simple fact is that their dominance has been on the wane, especially post Warne-McGrath.

There's no doubt that Australia's complete dominance in the late 90s and the early noughties would have never been possible but for them. The only time in recent years that the two were missing (Against India in 2003-04), the Australians had to fight tooth and nail to avoid being beaten by an Indian attack that was little stronger than a club attack (missing two key bowlers in Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh by the way).

Coming to more recent times, Australia beat India 2-1 at home last season in a series that could well have gone the other way but for some appalling umpiring at Sydney. That they were beaten at Perth - the Australian equivalent to Barbados for the West Indies in the 80s - by a team from the Subcontinent with an attack peopled largely by rookie fast bowlers (Pathan, Sharma and RP Singh, whose combined age was 64 years) shows just how far their powers are on the wane. Their recent outing in the Caribbean too would have been a lot closer but for Brett Lee, whose 18 wickets at 23.7 was the difference between the sides. That they should have been stretched by a West Indies side rated only better than Bangladesh by itself speaks volumes about their decline.

While Australia have commendably managed to remain perched on top of the Test table despite the exodus of several key players in recent times, its hard not to get the feeling that they are ripe for the plucking. Their decline may not be as marked as that of the West Indies in the 90s and beyond, but there's no doubt that the age when Australia just walked over any opponent is now over. India came close to pulling that off last season and it remains to be seen whether India, South Africa and England (in chronological order) can expose the cracks that outstanding individual performances have papered over.

Brett Lee, who turns 32 this November is unlikely to be able to go on at the same rate beyond another season or two at the very most. Of the younger lot, Tait has so far been injury prone and Mitchell Johnson, touted as a once-in-a-generation bowler, is yet to establish himself in the team. There appears no seriously talented spin bowler anywhere in the horizon. Michael Clarke apart, none of the other young batsmen have so far made a serious case for themselves at the highest level. Hayden will be 37 and Ponting will be 34 later this year. Players like Hussey, Stuart Clark and Brad Hodge, all in their mid 30s might be more than useful, but are not going to help the future and are unlikely to be around too much longer.

For sure, all or at any rate nearly all the above-mentioned players are not going to be around another 3-4 years down the line. Only time will tell whether Australia's rise to the summit was due to the much vaunted Australian system or whether it was simply due to the coincidental appearance of several supremely gifted players in the same generation.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 3, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    Mr.Brendanvio, let me thank you for expressing your disagreement with my views in such a rational and mature manner.

    You're right in that the 'decline' I referred to was indeed with respect to waning dominance. And yes, I am indeed ignorant about the Australian domestic setup and its players (no broadcasts in my part of the world).

    Australia are quite unlikely to slip to the bottom of the table the way West Indies have done, but there indeed exists the possibility for other teams to raise their level and try and challenge Australia's supremacy. Its now a question of who dares to believe himself (if indeed anyone does).

  • Pat on September 2, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    It is too early to say whether warne, mcgrath etc. were once in a lifetime players or products of the Aussie cricketing machine.

    I strongly suspect the former is correct as the current crop seem to me to be technically excellent but moderately talented players. The coaching system added to the nature of Aussie pitches helps in the development of good batting techniques as well as extreme patience and accuracy from bowlers. There will normally be a large crop of very good players to be picked from. But will they be as good as the 2002 team continually? I seriously doubt it. All this Aussie triumphalism about their cricketing prowess seems to me revisionist. But the fall which befell the West Indies when they were last in the position of Australia is, I think, unlikely to occur. More competitive test cricket, however, is likely over the next couple of years.

  • Brendanvio on September 1, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    Ashok, I concede you've got a plum headline. Look at the comments you've gotten and consider the traffic through to your blog. That's probably why they took the liberty of titling your piece.

    I must point out, in relation to several of your points made, that you also mentioned you did not know much about the Australian domestic system or the players coming through. It would probably be a good idea in future to do so as not to get caught out (I made sure I did so for a piece on the Indian team).

    It's not an issue with a rapid decline, its an issue to the appearance of invincibility that Australia has clung to through this era of dominance, which has slipped with high profile retirements, but has not dimmed their performances as yet. Nor does it prove they are ripe for the plucking in test and ODI cricket.

    My only gripe is my above point Ashok. I mean no insult with any comments before, nor do I beat my chest. I try my best to look at an arguement in a balanced and fair way.

  • Aussie Dinks on August 31, 2008, 3:38 GMT

    SL won the test matches and India won the one day matches.South Africa won the test matches and England won the one day matches. I can not believe some people think this means that certain teams like India and South Africa are on the wane and it certainly doesn't mean that England are developing their own just because they have won 3 one day matches in this series at home. You should win at home because if you don't you really are very bad. As for the good and bad days for the umpire how come it seems that some teams get more bad days of the umpire than other teams. Like Brain Lara for example he must have got out more times LBW than any other player wether it was or was not. And yes it is hard to swallow but the truth is Australia are not the invincible team that we once was and you can be as delusional about it as much as you like but it will not alter anything but as I said before we are still good and the team to beat.

  • Ben on August 30, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    I agree on the fact that australia will struggle in the next few years, but one has to remember that the systems in place are second to none for the younger generation. this is why australia will always be there or there abouts. england are starting to develop there own, whether that manages to produce a world class team is debatable, although they are looking stronger, with south africa looking apparntly on the wane. you mention india quite alot, im sorry, they are have the be the most hot & cold team, yes even more unrealiable than the south africans. they come to australia beating their chests, blaming the umpiring and so on. I personally am an umpire, and like batsmen and bowlers, have good and bad days, you accept that as part of the game, get over it.

    its hard to tell who will come through as the next frontrunner, india and south africa have a lot of rebuilding, SL dont have the depth and kiwi's are finding their domestic scene isnt producing the goods. status quo anyone?

  • Tboy on August 29, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    Of course aus are going to miss Gilli, Mcgrath & Warne.You are talking about arguably 3 of the greatest cricketers to play & 2 of them were in Benauds 11 (a man who knows a thing or two about the game) What is impressive is that while Aust are rebuilding they are maintaining a number 1 ranking & at times look vulnerable but thats bound to happen with the loss of such talent. As others have stated Aus domestic strength is deep. India will need to rebuild soon, VVS, Sachin, Sourav & Rahul cannot play forever. Kumble too. Can they maintain their ranking while this occurs is the big question. England have proved that you can be a flash in the pan for a year or two (maybe Mint fuelled?)but good consistent selection policies have evaded them. SA are rebuilding & mixing veterans with new blood. Pakistan are as enigmatic as ever (they could field a 400+ run ODI or an 80 run ODI team on any given day) SL are in the same boat as SA with veterans & new blood with Mendis the obvious standout.

  • marwaan on August 29, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    tom callaghan, you can't be serious!!! humble pie? this aussie team? 1 test victory in a series dominated by south africa for what, lets see here, 15 sessions in a test, that makes it about 30 sessions (2 tests ended on the 4th day), and somehow you think your team of has beens and wannabees are going to make this aussie team eat humble pie? You Poms are special...Johnson to ping KP 7 out of 10...I'm south african, and much as i hate to say it, the Aussies will still be an extremely good unit for many years to come...rest of the world has some serious catching up to do...

  • Sue on August 29, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    My only problem is really as my previous comment "Who the hell is this Ashok Sridharan" Please send him to an asylum as he does not have any sense. Somebody please help him. God bless him

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 29, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Mr. Jimmy,

    My words were: “Michael Clarke apart, none of the other young batsmen have so far made a serious case for themselves at the highest level.” I obviously don’t know who the upcoming players are, nor did I claim to know about them- how can one know about players who haven’t even played test cricket so far?

    And stop ranting about the Sydney test, to which I made but a passing reference. As for crying loud for video replays, it was the Indian team Mr Jimmy, not me. And you are not seeing me in October Mr Jimmy, its Australia playing India- absolutely nothing to do with me. Cricket for me is just a game and no more.

    Regrettably, what I intended to be a debate has degenerated into an exercise in chest thumping and jingoism. I just can’t understand why so many readers take what’s no more than mere speculation about their teams future as a personal comment against them.

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 29, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Mr. Tinker, I feel compelled to reply since you've directly addressed me.

    My references to India were only in the context of their last 2 tours down under- where they were quite competitive. I have not touted India as successor to Australia’s crown and I haven’t even remotely hinted that they consider themselves as champions. I’m unable to understand why you’re assuming that I’m being partisan.

    And let me also point out that the ‘fall of Australia’ heading wasn’t mine- this blog doesn’t give contributors the option of putting a heading- it’s the editor who puts it. The ‘fall’ word, which appears to have inflamed a lot of Aussie fans, wasn’t my contribution.

  • Ashok Sridharan on September 3, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    Mr.Brendanvio, let me thank you for expressing your disagreement with my views in such a rational and mature manner.

    You're right in that the 'decline' I referred to was indeed with respect to waning dominance. And yes, I am indeed ignorant about the Australian domestic setup and its players (no broadcasts in my part of the world).

    Australia are quite unlikely to slip to the bottom of the table the way West Indies have done, but there indeed exists the possibility for other teams to raise their level and try and challenge Australia's supremacy. Its now a question of who dares to believe himself (if indeed anyone does).

  • Pat on September 2, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    It is too early to say whether warne, mcgrath etc. were once in a lifetime players or products of the Aussie cricketing machine.

    I strongly suspect the former is correct as the current crop seem to me to be technically excellent but moderately talented players. The coaching system added to the nature of Aussie pitches helps in the development of good batting techniques as well as extreme patience and accuracy from bowlers. There will normally be a large crop of very good players to be picked from. But will they be as good as the 2002 team continually? I seriously doubt it. All this Aussie triumphalism about their cricketing prowess seems to me revisionist. But the fall which befell the West Indies when they were last in the position of Australia is, I think, unlikely to occur. More competitive test cricket, however, is likely over the next couple of years.

  • Brendanvio on September 1, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    Ashok, I concede you've got a plum headline. Look at the comments you've gotten and consider the traffic through to your blog. That's probably why they took the liberty of titling your piece.

    I must point out, in relation to several of your points made, that you also mentioned you did not know much about the Australian domestic system or the players coming through. It would probably be a good idea in future to do so as not to get caught out (I made sure I did so for a piece on the Indian team).

    It's not an issue with a rapid decline, its an issue to the appearance of invincibility that Australia has clung to through this era of dominance, which has slipped with high profile retirements, but has not dimmed their performances as yet. Nor does it prove they are ripe for the plucking in test and ODI cricket.

    My only gripe is my above point Ashok. I mean no insult with any comments before, nor do I beat my chest. I try my best to look at an arguement in a balanced and fair way.

  • Aussie Dinks on August 31, 2008, 3:38 GMT

    SL won the test matches and India won the one day matches.South Africa won the test matches and England won the one day matches. I can not believe some people think this means that certain teams like India and South Africa are on the wane and it certainly doesn't mean that England are developing their own just because they have won 3 one day matches in this series at home. You should win at home because if you don't you really are very bad. As for the good and bad days for the umpire how come it seems that some teams get more bad days of the umpire than other teams. Like Brain Lara for example he must have got out more times LBW than any other player wether it was or was not. And yes it is hard to swallow but the truth is Australia are not the invincible team that we once was and you can be as delusional about it as much as you like but it will not alter anything but as I said before we are still good and the team to beat.

  • Ben on August 30, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    I agree on the fact that australia will struggle in the next few years, but one has to remember that the systems in place are second to none for the younger generation. this is why australia will always be there or there abouts. england are starting to develop there own, whether that manages to produce a world class team is debatable, although they are looking stronger, with south africa looking apparntly on the wane. you mention india quite alot, im sorry, they are have the be the most hot & cold team, yes even more unrealiable than the south africans. they come to australia beating their chests, blaming the umpiring and so on. I personally am an umpire, and like batsmen and bowlers, have good and bad days, you accept that as part of the game, get over it.

    its hard to tell who will come through as the next frontrunner, india and south africa have a lot of rebuilding, SL dont have the depth and kiwi's are finding their domestic scene isnt producing the goods. status quo anyone?

  • Tboy on August 29, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    Of course aus are going to miss Gilli, Mcgrath & Warne.You are talking about arguably 3 of the greatest cricketers to play & 2 of them were in Benauds 11 (a man who knows a thing or two about the game) What is impressive is that while Aust are rebuilding they are maintaining a number 1 ranking & at times look vulnerable but thats bound to happen with the loss of such talent. As others have stated Aus domestic strength is deep. India will need to rebuild soon, VVS, Sachin, Sourav & Rahul cannot play forever. Kumble too. Can they maintain their ranking while this occurs is the big question. England have proved that you can be a flash in the pan for a year or two (maybe Mint fuelled?)but good consistent selection policies have evaded them. SA are rebuilding & mixing veterans with new blood. Pakistan are as enigmatic as ever (they could field a 400+ run ODI or an 80 run ODI team on any given day) SL are in the same boat as SA with veterans & new blood with Mendis the obvious standout.

  • marwaan on August 29, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    tom callaghan, you can't be serious!!! humble pie? this aussie team? 1 test victory in a series dominated by south africa for what, lets see here, 15 sessions in a test, that makes it about 30 sessions (2 tests ended on the 4th day), and somehow you think your team of has beens and wannabees are going to make this aussie team eat humble pie? You Poms are special...Johnson to ping KP 7 out of 10...I'm south african, and much as i hate to say it, the Aussies will still be an extremely good unit for many years to come...rest of the world has some serious catching up to do...

  • Sue on August 29, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    My only problem is really as my previous comment "Who the hell is this Ashok Sridharan" Please send him to an asylum as he does not have any sense. Somebody please help him. God bless him

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 29, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Mr. Jimmy,

    My words were: “Michael Clarke apart, none of the other young batsmen have so far made a serious case for themselves at the highest level.” I obviously don’t know who the upcoming players are, nor did I claim to know about them- how can one know about players who haven’t even played test cricket so far?

    And stop ranting about the Sydney test, to which I made but a passing reference. As for crying loud for video replays, it was the Indian team Mr Jimmy, not me. And you are not seeing me in October Mr Jimmy, its Australia playing India- absolutely nothing to do with me. Cricket for me is just a game and no more.

    Regrettably, what I intended to be a debate has degenerated into an exercise in chest thumping and jingoism. I just can’t understand why so many readers take what’s no more than mere speculation about their teams future as a personal comment against them.

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 29, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Mr. Tinker, I feel compelled to reply since you've directly addressed me.

    My references to India were only in the context of their last 2 tours down under- where they were quite competitive. I have not touted India as successor to Australia’s crown and I haven’t even remotely hinted that they consider themselves as champions. I’m unable to understand why you’re assuming that I’m being partisan.

    And let me also point out that the ‘fall of Australia’ heading wasn’t mine- this blog doesn’t give contributors the option of putting a heading- it’s the editor who puts it. The ‘fall’ word, which appears to have inflamed a lot of Aussie fans, wasn’t my contribution.

  • Ashok Sridharan on August 29, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    I see that there are a lot of readers who've come hammer and tongs at me for merely suggesting Australia's decline- to the extent that some have even branded me an Indian supporter awaiting Australia's 'decline' with eager anticipation (apart from references to 'cheap talk').

    Anyway, let me clarify that I have no idea who the upcoming Australian players are and I made no such claims. There may be talented young players, but few so far have made an impact at the highest level. I therefore still stick to my point: only time will tell whether its just a transitory phase or the passing away of an era.

  • mini_tugga on August 29, 2008, 2:07 GMT

    And I agree with you Tushar! I hope it didn't read like I was putting all Indian fans together, because I know most fans are not as rabid as those burning effigies (the ones who decry Aus as cheats and liars in a conspiracy with racist umpires to keep India down). I think India are close to Aus in talent, but perhaps lack the same drive & definetly experience (I am very glad to see the lazy fielding is becoming a thing of the past). As for SL, I can't wait to see Mendis bowl at the Aussies (and see kumar bat again!). We've handled murali fairly well in the past but having it come from both ends will be something else! Lets all keep our fingers crossed for the rest of the world to catch up with Aus so we get more exciting & close series like '05 Ashes! I don't think it will be too long...we'll still be #1 though :)

  • Tushar on August 28, 2008, 14:08 GMT

    Just wanted to add something here, I agree with you Mini that we (Indians) should get over the Sydney defeat. We lost the series 2-1, sydney was just 1 of 2 games that we lost. But I do disagree with you stating that we Indians think its our right to be #1 because of the money we have. Most Indians, I hope, would tell you right away that we are not even close to Aus when it comes to level of cricket. SA are certainly close to Aus but are they really #2, yes India lost to SL but hope you watched the India-SA series. Also let see what Aus do agains SL when they face Mendis for the first time, SL's admit that even they have trouble playing Mendis. Anyways I think Aus are # 1, SA edge out Ind & SL who I think are level for 3rd.

    Just another thought, I agree with MattH, would it not be nice if all the teams or lets say 4-5 teams were consistently closely matched, Man that would be fun to watch. I love cricket and I support India. But in an exciting & close game I don't care who wins :)

  • phantom on August 28, 2008, 8:00 GMT

    Redneck, I agree that the Aussies have a lot of decent fast bowlers to turn to in case of a crisis, but most of them are either pretty much untested or solid but unspectacular. For example Geeves has a grand career total of 82 first-class wickets at an average of just under 40, Tait had a Trescothick style mental breakdown last year, Bracken averages over 40 in Tests. Bollinger and Hilfenhaus have the most potential in my opinion, in fact I would have been picking Bollinger ahead of Mitchell Johnson, but neither of them have played a Test match yet. People talk about reverse swing and England's bowlers in 2005, but actually imo it was the Aussies lack of a strong 4th bowler (combined with Brett Lee going for over 40 a wicket) that lost them the Ashes. The 4th bowlers (Gillespie, Kasprovich and Tait) went for about 65 a wicket. I could see SA doing something if all their bowlers really fire and their batsmen go after Johnson and the new spinner/paceman. Unthinkable two years ago.

  • Geoff Plumridge on August 28, 2008, 4:05 GMT

    I think that England will be the next number one even after the loss to SA..

    I expect Australia to outbat India & SA in the next few series.. and then come crashing down against the poms to prove once and for all the final evidence of irretrievable decline.

  • mini_tugga on August 28, 2008, 1:20 GMT

    And as for those Indian supporters constantly taking every opportunity to moan & whinge about the Sydney Test. Get over it! It is not the first test to be influenced by umpiring errors nor will it be the last. The umpires were not to blame for India losing their nerve and losing 3 wickets in the final over of the day. And you all gloss over the Perth win that was just as much influenced by umpiring decisions going India's way. And did you hear Aus threaten to boycott, see us burning effigies, or calling for the result to be annulled? These Indian fans see it as their divine right to be the #1 side due to the wealth of the BCCI, irrespective of the inconsistency of their undoubtedly talented team. Grow up. India have a lot of work to do before they can challenge for the #1 position, or even challenge SA for #2. Come to think of it, weren't they just soundly beaten by SL? The depth of Aus cricket is there for all to see...DHussey, Marsh, Watson, Hilf, Bollinger, Pommers..the list goes on

  • mini_tugga on August 28, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    This article must surely be pure genius for intimating that the Aus team may be on the decline following the loss of Warne-McGrath! Or maybe not. Seriously, take two of the greatest bowlers of all time from any team and watch the decline. Australia may struggle at times to bowl out sides in the post-W/M era, but they are still blessed with one of the strongest modern attacks. We may not have a first class spinner, but who does? Besides SL? Panesar is yet to unleash his full talent and Kumble will not last much longer (Singh does not even rate a mention). Until we do I am more than happy for Pup & Roy to hold down one end. Despite any perceived lack of bowling strength, our batting line-up is the best in modern cricket. The so-called "Fab Four" is close to retirement (they may be lovely to watch but how they can be called the Fab Four when two of them barely avg. over 40 is beyond me) and Dhoni & Yuvraj have failed so far. Australia's only competition now lies with SA.

  • MP on August 28, 2008, 0:13 GMT

    I see this is not an article as much a letter to the Editor and I suppose the Editorial staff found it funny and since there is free speech and all why not post it out there - after all no one really knows how garbage is handled on the net

    Age is a criterion if it has fitness and form attached

    Hussey and Ganguly are in the same age group - pray tell me whose career is in sunrise mode and whose is in sunset mode

    Fitness and form - look at Lee at 32 he is humming. Harmison is near 30 and looking as deadly as ever, back in form.

    I attribute more to modern fitness training methods and medicines – for the erstwhile bar of early 30s to retire sportsman - look around have you seen so many hot women over 50 that look like there in their 30s say even 25 years back?

    Even in contact sports players play profession till late 30s

    You just have to be good enough to play with the best – that means an honest selection policy where only a moderate leeway can be given for training youth – not a whole sale academy. India and Pakistan suffer from using rookies with on the job training even in Tests – that is ridiculous – transition out the old gradually IF they fade and see some of their experience rubs off first to the young successors

    It is not age but how well you took care of yourself as a sportsman how good you still are against the very best - that is all that matters

  • L4zybugg3r on August 28, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    In response to AMIT, its a bit silly to talk about what might have happened, like aus got some terrible umpiring decisions in ashes '05. Had they gone our way we might not have lost a series for a very long time. In regards to last aus-india series it couldve quite easily gone our way even if india had won in sydney. Fab-four still very overrated, Ganguly needs to go.

  • REDNECK on August 28, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    phantom i feel compelled to tell you that australia probably have the most fast bowling depth in the world to add to the batting depth. just because you havent heard of geeves or hilfenhaus dosnt mean that they are not decent bowlers! geeves was leading wicket taker in the aus domestic comp last year and hilfenhaus the year before that add to them tait (yes the perth test he sucked but if he hits his form look out!) bollinger, nofke, bracken, & harris and thats just off the top of my head! if any of these bowlers were indian they would already be in the indian team but because of australias depth they are waiting in the wings for their chance! & to tom callaghan humble pie? you already have a bigger population than us at least 3 times our size, u go and buy our australian coaches plus england have scotland, wales, & irelands help yeah you really showed us up???? see ya at the commonwealth games you can keep the cycling medals as we'll win everthing else with no americans to deal with!

  • MattH on August 28, 2008, 0:06 GMT

    There is no doubt Australia's bowling attack is a bit thin now -- more draws and less crushing series wins. But India are in worse trouble as post Fab 4 batsmen are only proven in 50/20 over games.

    I think SA and Sri Lanka will be the challengers due to Steyn / Mendis respectively and I look forward to 3 or 4 fairly even teams fighting it out for supremacy over the next 4 years. Lots of teams winning at home and losing away I think.

    England - basket case with a team of physically and mentally fragile players.

    But wouldn't it be great to see Pakistan and Windies produce the way they did in 80's / 90's? We live in hope.

  • Shankar on August 28, 2008, 0:03 GMT

    True that Australia will come back to the pack a little but one area where they will continue to lead (and hence win) is self-belief and sheer effort. Boycott's mum could have captained Waugh's Australia, but Ponting is showing his talents and Australia will continue to be #1, perhaps not winning 16 in a row etc, but staying at the top, maybe fighting harder.

  • Brendanvio on August 27, 2008, 23:20 GMT

    'No McGrath,no Warne.no McGill. England have harmison,Flintoff and hopefully a fit Simon Jones.Looks like more humble pie for Australians in 2009 to add to that eaten at Beijing'

    Poms, you can always count on their comedy.

    You just lost a series in your backyard to South Africa and you really think you can win the 2009 Ashes? You should probably be concentrating on beating India. Which at this rate is something England are incapable of doing.

  • Jawad Haque on August 27, 2008, 22:52 GMT

    Well..I have my doubts on Aussie's decline ..after watching them winning almost every series in last 10 or 20 years..I still think they just need couple of exciting youngsters and then boom. They'll be back.

  • Sharath on August 27, 2008, 22:41 GMT

    I think the back to back Aus-SA series will reveal all. Personally I think South Africa will win both series. As for India in October, I think we (India) will struggle to beat them. Lately we have been much more potent outside India than within.

    Throughout the nineties we cried out - no, PRAYED - for one fast bowler. Now we have a whole bunch of them and no spinner! :-)

    Anyway, time will tell, folks, time will tell.

  • marcus on August 27, 2008, 22:40 GMT

    People were saying this when McGrath and Warne just left, and were proved wrong then. I'd say they are still a great team with mostly excellent players. The big flaw with your reasoning is that you assume when a player retires, they'll be replaced with an average player. Not so. The Australian domestic structure has ridiculously strong depth, far eclipsing any others. If the decline happens, it will happen when Hayden goes. And at worst, they'll be roughly first in the rankings.

  • Nikhil on August 27, 2008, 21:47 GMT

    Its interesting, how we talk of Australian supremacy, but we forget the outrightly fraud umpiring, remember Mark Benson reprieving Symonds thrice v/s India & again v/s West Indies, call it co-incidence? If u check closely, every series won by them has more than 2/3 obvious decisions in their favour. Bring the review system on & we will see!!!

  • Sanket on August 27, 2008, 20:34 GMT

    Australia have declined relatively but are still the best. It was Dhoni's choice not to play tests, he was not injured. And his test average is 36.00 decent but nothing great and has shown a downward trend since his debut. Sehwag is a great batsmen in prime form but he is hardly next generation. Raina and Sharma have to prove themselves in Tests. So based on current facts, Fab Four have no replacements of proven quality . South Africa, is the second best Test team.

  • tendulkar is a legend on August 27, 2008, 19:27 GMT

    what I find disconcerting about this blog is that the writer is trying to suggest that India is the team to beat Australia. Australia have destroyed India in their last two series and we must remember that India has a weak pace attack, noone but Zaheer experienced enough to trouble the Aussies. Kumble and the fab four, bar tendulkar(what a legend) are on the decline. Australia have a lot of good bowlers, Lee, Hilifanous, cameron white, brad haddin,stuart clark. The older batsmen bar Hayden have a good 5 years ahead of them. The team that has a chance of beating them is South Africa and they dont have a quality spinner. Australia will be the best team for a while and teams wil only be able to compete when they start to play to their strengths, not play like Austraia

  • Alan C. Mohabir on August 27, 2008, 18:39 GMT

    You cannot write something that you don't believe in, who is the best upcoming player for India? Yurupaul, if that's the best India hasve, then you would be in the dolldrums, while Australia would be still winning matches at their current rate well into the next 20 or so years. Did you not see the IPL, which young or new players dominate these game, don't mention their names, just say they are from downunder. These guys have not made the test team as yet, so don't woory about the Aussies.... THEY ARE AND WILL BE THE BEST TEAM FOR A LONG TIME TO COME (Test, 50- Overs and 20/20)

  • Captain Swing on August 27, 2008, 18:10 GMT

    Amit - the winner of the VB series the year before India's tiresomely overblown triumph was England. No doubt the Poms are on the verge of world dominance.

  • Shakti on August 27, 2008, 18:07 GMT

    Interesting debate going on here. Same thing could be said for both India and Australia "TEST" sides. Lets not include One day teams here because India has a different team for one days and different for tests and Australia is very similar. Only time will tell how far they have declined but in your comments please stop including IPL over and again. Performing in IPL is by no means a measure of being a cricketer of "Test" quality. IPL was just a circus meant for entertainment purpose only.

  • Tom Callaghan on August 27, 2008, 17:48 GMT

    No McGrath,no Warne.no McGill. England have harmison,Flintoff and hopefully a fit Simon Jones.Looks like more humble pie for Australians in 2009 to add to that eaten at Beijing

  • Vatsa on August 27, 2008, 17:47 GMT

    Boy, why are we ever obsessed about the Australian decline. The fact is for consistency sake, there is no team which comes close to the Aussies. The Indian team pretends by one or two abroad test wins (not even series wins), South Africa has historically tended to beat most countries across the world and then get beaten 3-0 by an Australian team, as for England we all know what happened after 2005 Ashes. So I think we are going to see the Aussies dominate, albeit not as commandingly as they did when Waugh/Warne/McGrath were playing.

  • Kartik on August 27, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    India are absolutely NOT the second best team in the world.

    India merely is the team that does the best against Australia.

    Even this is just due to the combined coincidence that Warne was utterly harmless against India, while Laxman does remarkably well against Australia. These are the two outliers.

    All the others - Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Harbhajan, Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist, McGrath, Lee all perform near their career averages in Ind/Aus series'.

    The Warne/Laxman nexus enabled India to be Australia's toughest opponents. Exclude these two players, and Aus would thrash India.

    The closest comparison was in the late 1980s, when Eng used to beat WI in ODIs quite handily, despite WI thrashing Eng in tests.

  • manish on August 27, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    india on decline after fab four?no way.....raina ,sharma ,gambhir ,sehwag,dhoni,these are the next fab5.more aggresivethen fab four.also now india can boast a decent pace attack and bench strength. about spinners..that is inias concern department as of now.but i wont be too worried.feel like some good spinner is just waitin rnd the corner in india..like how bhaji surfaced when kumble was inured. as regards aussie they are a fantastic team..no longer as great...but yes other teams have improved a bit learnin from them!we are indebted to aussie way of cricket.however when they come down to india next season...with the review system on...i am waitin for a 2 1 win over them! as regards our defeat in srilanka...mendis made the difference..also dhonis absence cost us one if not two matches!both for battin and keeping!you can see how india won the one day tournament.ishants injury on final day and sachins inury also didnt help.so all in all india and sa can take on aussie!

  • Lara_legend on August 27, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    Dravid 35 tENDulkar 35 gangoogly 36 laxman 34 kumble 38.id worry bout YOUR team b4 anything else...indian cricketers have rarely retired with grace.worry bout team india...

  • Adhil on August 27, 2008, 17:22 GMT

    Hi.jus 2 add 2 my previous comment,i actually meant that sub-contiential cricket is boring and just 2 add 1 more comment,i always wantd nz 2 approach cricket the aussie way.itz the best way and thats y they are world class

  • oh really on August 27, 2008, 17:12 GMT

    I wonder what the author of this article is going to do when Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Kumble all leave cricket in the space of 2-3 years. Australia has lost players but so has other sides, India still have their main players but not for long. Australia have declined obviously due to the inexperience of the new players, you can't expect new players to be up to scratch with McGrath and co. However for a team like India to lose those 5 that I mentioned above in a short space of time will be devastating. It will also restore the dominance of Australia.

  • Adhil on August 27, 2008, 17:08 GMT

    Hi.i think the writter is talking absolute crap.when australia loses world class players,they always have this nak of replacing them with better players.they are the team to beat espically in aus,coz i would rather want my team 2 play aus rather than any other team simply coz in aus,those r true wkts 2 play on.in saf,ind and eng,conditions favour home side the most.saf produces some really poor wkts,honestly,so does england & india.aus is a world class team,& sometimes i wonder why,their sucess doesnt rub of on their neighbours.as 4 india,al they wanna do,is play the aussies.they should wory about beating sri lanka & obtaining a better series result in a 4 test series against the windies than 1-0.and lets 4get about the fab 4,they are just passengers in a sinking ship,compard to the aussie old timers.lets hope the aussies tramp them this time,unless they produce sum poor wkts again like kanpur,but they must beat england,coz all the bskyb commentators lead by hussein & atherton is wory abt the ashes.they should get another 5-0 drubbing and keep their urn.we have 2 suport our neighbours.it would be interesting 2 c wether the indian fab 4 comes 2 nz next year or they would already be expired.if they come,they will give our young team a real good chance against the mighty indians.sory india,yourll will never be world champz in the worlds eyes.get sub-contiental cricket is boring,me being an asian,i cant stand it

  • Zain on August 27, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    No doubt the Aussies are the best and have the pipeline players to carry the torch next. I am a Pakistan supporter and have no hesitation in saying that this team absolutely rocks. Its totally possible that Shaun Marsh will be the next Ponting, who can predict the future. One cannot. But they do produce the best players and have a long history of doing so. If I may point out one fault in their system, which everybody knows has an negative impact on sentiment - poor umpiring at times. I think with perfect umpiring the Aussies would still dominate, but it certainly would help

  • Tushar on August 27, 2008, 16:53 GMT

    I think aus is still the best side in the world and by a big margin too. First Warne-Mcgrath were bowlers to occasional batting collapses for Aus has nothing to do with W-M retiring. Difference is back in the day Aus were able defend smaller totals better and sustain pressure. I am indian and for us to keep crying about the sydney test is childish, yeah there were some questionable decisions but Aus had the temperment to capitalize on that. Kudos to India for fighting hard but weather you Ind, SA and specailly Eng you are still far behind.

    Give this Aus team, bowling specially, a couple of years to settle, with Lee in as a mentor only way forward is up. I do wish Indians were more consistent, as tough as it might be to see Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly go I think the time is right may be another few months, Let new kids face the Aus in upcoming series so they know where they stand compared to world's best. Be good reality check for World cup coming up.

  • RP on August 27, 2008, 15:05 GMT

    Comment reply to: tinker

    India beat Australia, in Australia last series...get ur facts straight then post.

  • Reza Thahir on August 27, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    I dont agree with you, australia isnt losing their edge, they still have brett lee being the best fast bowler in the world. stuart clark one of the better bowlers who's consistent. Mitchel johnson is da 3rd seamer who's regulaly in wickets & Shane Watson has come of age in the IPL. Also australia has the best domestic structure in world cricket n definitly they'l produce someone who's really good, as good as harbhajan. It's not the quality of the bowlers who you have, it's the mindset, the captaincy, the consistency backed by good fielding & the players who perform when it matters. Pakistan always had best of the talent in world cricket but since imran inspired them to world cup, it's being allegations once after another & the peformance is inconsistency to the best. Australia will be the one day kings again for another decade, they will be consistent as ever, due to the rise of Shaun Marsh & shane watson in the IPL. Marsh, wATSON, Ponting,Clarke, Symonds & Hussey = Invinsible lineup

  • AMIT on August 27, 2008, 13:08 GMT

    Mr. Tinker... the series shud ideally have been 1-1 if not 2-1 in india's favor but for the ridiculous umpiring in sydney test. As for "a clarke drop in the 4th test", had parthiv patel not missed the stumping of jason gillespie in the sydney test in 2003-04 series, india wud have won that series itself by 2-1...

    Now about beating Australia in Australia, have u already forgotten the VB series Finals??? One days done, Tests can't be too far... rite?

  • menon on August 27, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    So sad that these australians had to use umpires to win the test series against India. Now they beat thier chest like thugs.

  • Richards on August 27, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    Excellent approach to the game by Warnesie. But it is a fact that all teams ( albeit individuals ) would try and emulate the best to improve their own game. The same holds true during the Windies of the 80's. I would have loved to watch a full series each against the Windies of the late 70's-early 80's and the Aussies of the late 90's in Windies & Dwn Undr. I think the Windies would have won fairly easily. What say ???

  • Andrew on August 27, 2008, 11:29 GMT

    Well said tinker. If the Aussies are in such decline, then how come nobody is consistently beating them. As for the poor umpiring in Sydney, if the umpiring had been a bit better, you couldn't say that India would have won - drawn the match maybe. Then it would have been one all - still not a win for India, after all the talk that they carried on with before the series. If Australia is declining as bad as some make out, who of the current crop will beat them - India (just got beaten by Sri Lanka, and have no depth, owing to the elitist image the game has in India), England (slumped substantially since 2005), Sth Africa (struggle away from home). The only ones who I believe could beat Australia at home and away are Sri Lanka - but I wouldn't put a bet on it.

  • Phantom on August 27, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    I agree with orange's comment that the Aussies don't have a lot to worry about with their batting. They are currently the strongest batting lineup in the world (by a way for my money, no matter how much people talk up the Big Four of India) and that lineup, bar Hayden still has at least 3 more years left in it. And they have the talent available to gradually replace players retiring, they are not going to be hit with a multiple player loss like McGrath/Warne. Bowling is another matter. With players like Mendis, Sharma, Steyn, Morkel coming through Australia are no longer head and shoulders ahead of over teams in the bowling department (as they were this time 2 years ago). If Lee and Clark were to both pick up an injury before the match against India who would play? Johnson and ....... Geeves, Hilfenhaus? SA in Australia should be interesting, Aus should win on the strength of their batting but I think there could be more than one draw....

  • andrew schulz on August 27, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Fascinating how you can make so much of the one Test loss in the last 27 games. It's still been a thoroughly dominant period, and McGrath has played less than half of those 27 games. You are not sticking your neck out-every man and his dog has been predicting Australia's decline, first because the side was too old, then because of the retirements. There's been little evidence of such decline, and Australia remain well clear of five teams running around in circles, looking increasingly sub-standard and not noticably improving. And don't dream of India getting anywhere near number one, even if they should beat Australia come October. India are appallingly inconsistent,and are going to suffer far more from retirements than Australia. What a dismal batting line-up they will have when the much overrated fab four finally Test the patience of selectors too much. I'm looking forward to Australia's era at the top continuing for some time yet, with or without a top-class spinner.

  • Sue on August 27, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    Who is this Ashok Sridharan....Ask him to sit in India & not to bullshit about Australia.No team in the world cricket has ever taken 3 world cups home CONTINUOUSLY.I can challenge Sridharan that he is just a Indian fan who is tired of seeing Indian team getting defeated every time.He did not even mention about players like Shaun Marsh,Luke Pommerbach,Luke Ronchi who are the future of Australian cricket. They do have a good spinner in Hauritz who just needs some more seasons to claim his space. Brett Lee,Nathan Bracken & Mitchy have a lot to give.I am pretty sure Australian dominance in cricket will always remain & No Ashok Sridharan can change that.I really hope i never meet this person in my life or i may really change the shape of his face as how a Australian Map looks...Ok Lets do three cheers for Australia with a Fosters.Thank you & all of you have a wonderful day

  • Paul G on August 27, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    The author, like most Indians, eagerly anticipates the demise of Australia which may or may not be immiment. Perhaps he should be concerned with his own team who are about to go through significant change. The Fab Four look just about spent. Tendulkar is injury prone, Dravid hasn't made any convincing runs for a long period and Ganguly and Laxman show glimpes of form but are now very inconsistent. Sehwag has saved Indian blushes through some unbelievable innings in recent times but there isn't much to enthuse about behind him. The next generation of Indian batsmen are handy one day and 20/20 types (well led by MS Dhoni who has great ODI form) but none look like top class Test batsman. Despite the great averages and reputations the Fab Four never won an away series of consequence and never played in a winning World Cup side.

  • Sachal on August 27, 2008, 8:48 GMT

    I dont really agree, I think the present Australian team is still head and shoulders above the other cricket teams. Also they have a myth of invinciblity, which makes an average score by them monumental. I think the inner strength and belief of the Aussies is what really seperates them from the others and that mentallity will be there in any new player they blood in the team. There was once a saying, "its hard to get in the Aussie cricket team, but its harder to get out"...that simply means the board backs the team and any player who is not performing plays without tension, compare that to the Pakistan or Indian cricket team where even great players like Gangully and Dravid are under threat all the time. Thus I think this article is premature to say the least. Cheers

  • douglaboy_windies on August 27, 2008, 8:38 GMT

    Come on guys,Australia may not be as strong as under Steve waugh but they are still the best team by a distance. They are the toughest, physically and mentally. And for metioning that it may be coincidental that a lot if great players came along at one time, someone like ponting averaged only 43 in 1999/2000. Australia have worked on their game and constantly tried to improve and this is why they are best and will remain the best till other nations like the windies realise this

  • Jimmy on August 27, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    Wow Ashok you are pure genius arent you, Australia lose McGrath, Warne and Gilchrist and you think they are on the decline! Of course they arent going to be the same, but you cant speculate on the strength of Australia's future players because you dont have a clue who they are. Its Australia's depth and structure that makes it so strong. Give me a 5 year hardened Australian state player any day over some 18 year old Ranji trophy / IPL overhyped kid. In all your wisdom will you now write an article suggesting that with Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxmann and Ganguly leaving the game in the next few years (unless their tendency to suffer SOFT injuries dicates that for them earlier)maybe India is on the decline of what is already unpredictable and inconsistent standard? - i doubt it. By the way, get over Sydney, Australia won and you lost. India were crying loudest for video review until it cost you in Sri Lanka and now you arent so sure if you like it any more. See you in October.

  • Sekhar on August 27, 2008, 8:16 GMT

    I beg to disagree.It will only be a matter of time before Shaun Marsh,David Hussey,Luke Ronchi,Brad Haddin etc establish themselves to reproduce the Australia of the 90s.Clarke has proved that he is no less aggressive than Ponting and I'm sure Oz will only enhance their strengths in future to combat the rise in strength of other teams like SA and India.

    How does it matter that Brett Lee's turning 32 this year will hamper his performance? As long as he is fit and focussed he will continue to excel.Mind you,he recently touched the milestone of 300 ODI wickets and he will definitely be hungry for more.

    Ponting has only carried over from where Waugh left.He might have carried it too far but the Sydney test would have taught him a few things and he will definitely come back stronger.

  • Kusal on August 27, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    I must say that i pretty much disagree with you... Australia still have the fire power to go on for another 3 years at least.. and v must not forget that most Australian domestic cricketers mature in their late 20's. I mean would v have evr thought that the likes of hussey, stuart clarke an co would fill in the boots of the waughs, bevan, etc in 1999... no... but in the mid 2000's they came up fine... and even now australia has very good bench strength, in the form of hodge, white, johnson, d.hussey, marsh, watson, etc... some would say dat evn there bench is on the wrong side of their 20's but most ausy's ( eg: Hayden, Langer, Gilly) go on till at least their mid 30's.... so don worry the ausy's will still rule for a long time to come.. and their dominance can be ended, not by their decline, but by the improvement of other international sides P.S: I aint an ausy,,,

  • Brendanvio on August 27, 2008, 7:39 GMT

    Well there are some opinions I agree with here and some I don't.

    It's true, Australia are at a time on transition. There is no McGrath or Warne, once in a lifetime bowlers. There is no Gilchrist. No Langer. And soon no Hayden. That said, Australia have far greater depth than any nation on the planet. Who else could afford to have Dave Hussey, Luke Pomersbach, Luke Ronchi or Doug Bollinger on the sidelines? Who else has future superstars like Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Ben Hilfenhaus and Phil Hughes improving their game in the world's toughest domestic competition?

    India are in a time of transition too (They will have to replace the fab four soon, and Kumble) and the stocks just don't look as plentiful.

    As far as I can see, none of the teams you have mentioned have the well rounded team that Australia has been blessed with in the 90's (Except maybe India, but with the decline of Dravid and Ganguly, that's debatable).

    There is a reason they are still number one.

  • Faisal on August 27, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    Its an interesting but admittedly easy article to write. Is Australia as dominant as it was? Probably not post McGrath and Warne. But they have not exactly gone in to free fall like the Windies. Of the pretneders to the throne - I guess India will lose 3 of the fab 4 middle order in the next 12 months (like all Asian cricketers they will have to be dragged out of the team) - while Kumble has taken a handful wickets post the Aussie-India series. South Africa seems well placed to challenge them (despite Kallis' poor form). But agree that overall cricket will be a lot more competitive.

  • V.S.MUTHUSWAMY on August 27, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    Well all teams goes in this transition period. I am cant see any team will dominate the world cricket these aussies did. India under the verge of transition period, with their main batsman Dravid goes then we will how india struggles abroad, all teams will undergo the same process over the period of time. Still aussies will be tough to beat.

  • tinker on August 27, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    the aussies aren't what they were a few years back but all this cheap talk is getting boring.

    India arrived in Australia last summer talking about how the aussies were over the hill yet if not for a clarke drop in the 4th test Australia would have won 3-1.

    India were then very lucky to salvage a draw at home against SA and were humiliated in Sri lanka.

    You mention india so many times in this blog yet india have only proven just hwo little they are prepared to work to be the best, they get close to australia and then act like they are in fact the world champs.

    Enough of the talk, let's see these teams beat Australia in Australia and then they can talk themselves up.

  • Kartik on August 27, 2008, 4:52 GMT

    This is premature. Remember they have not lost a single World Cup match since 1999, winning 26 on the trot!! Let's wait until they lose the World Cup before we talk of decline.

  • David on August 27, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    I think you could say it was a bit of both. We had some great players but they also came through a tough system that meant they quickly developed into a great team. Australia will still be a good team without them, but I agree that we will be nowhere near the dominant team that we have been. I think that that is for the best, if one team is unbeatable, interest in the game wanes. Now we can see who will be the first to bring them down and how far down they go!

  • REDNECK on August 27, 2008, 4:01 GMT

    well aust may have been tested by the west indies away from home but they still got through 2-0, the windies are improving and will not be 8th for much longer they managed to beat south africa in a test in south africa in the last southern summer and if they are the number 2 side... also the last india v australia series was infact a improvement by australia from a 1-1 series draw to a 2-1 series win and aus also smashed sri lanka (a side that beat india recently) off the park in the post warne/mcgrath era. the side still havn't lost a test series away since england 05 and at home since the windies had ambrose & walsh in the early 90's. i guess only time will tell if they can keep doing this certainly the lack of spin options is a worry particularly with 4 tests in india on the horizon

  • orange on August 27, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    I agree with some of your comments. With all due respect to the spinners currently plying their trade on the Aust. domestic curcuit there is not much doubt that the spin cupboard is bare. That of course could all change in a short space of time. In terms of fast bowling there are some prospects on the horizon such as Ben Hilfenhous and Peter Siddle. Mitchell Johnson has the potential but has some work to do before he realises it. So on the subject of fast bowling I'm not too concerned. It is principally in terms of batting that I disagree with you. There is in my opinion some exciting talent comeing through the ranks at present. Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Philip Hughes, Usman Kkawaja, Moises Henriques (who is an allrounder)are to name just a few. There are also some good wicketkeeper batsmen such as Ronchi and Matthew Wade. Bearing all of that in mind Aust might not dominate world cricket as it has for the last 10 yaers but it will still be difficult to beat, particulalrly at home.

  • Warnesie on August 27, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    Nice article. As an unabashed Aussie, it's hard to come to grips withthe fact that yes, we are declining.

    That said, however, many nations are now improving and that msut be taken into account. Teams now use the Aussie tactics, they use Aussie style play, they attack with both bat and ball, they chirp on the field.

    I think a lot of countries, especially India, South Africa and England owe a great debt to the way Australia have played their cricket since the Pheonix that was Australian cricket started to rise in the late 80's.

    However, it's a matter of maintaining ascendency. I can't see too many of the top 4 or 5 nations dominating for the same length of time Australia has.

    The major benefit to me as a cricket lover is tighter, hard fought series between all of these nations. Isn't that what we all want?

    I could care less who's on top of the rankings (although it is nice) , just give me games that go for 5 days and keep me on the edge of my seat for the whole time.

  • Historicus on August 27, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    It is absurd to say that players of the caliber of Ponting, Hayden, Waugh, Gilchrist, etc. would be troubled by an attack "little stronger than a club attack". It was not India's best attack admittedly, but they did have their best bowler, Kumble, who took 24 wickets in the series, and bowlers with talent and potential in Pathan and Agarkar.

  • dinks Australia on August 27, 2008, 1:47 GMT

    I must say that I totally agree with you. We are still very good when it comes to cricket and at the moment still the team to beat but we are no longer invincible.

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  • dinks Australia on August 27, 2008, 1:47 GMT

    I must say that I totally agree with you. We are still very good when it comes to cricket and at the moment still the team to beat but we are no longer invincible.

  • Historicus on August 27, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    It is absurd to say that players of the caliber of Ponting, Hayden, Waugh, Gilchrist, etc. would be troubled by an attack "little stronger than a club attack". It was not India's best attack admittedly, but they did have their best bowler, Kumble, who took 24 wickets in the series, and bowlers with talent and potential in Pathan and Agarkar.

  • Warnesie on August 27, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    Nice article. As an unabashed Aussie, it's hard to come to grips withthe fact that yes, we are declining.

    That said, however, many nations are now improving and that msut be taken into account. Teams now use the Aussie tactics, they use Aussie style play, they attack with both bat and ball, they chirp on the field.

    I think a lot of countries, especially India, South Africa and England owe a great debt to the way Australia have played their cricket since the Pheonix that was Australian cricket started to rise in the late 80's.

    However, it's a matter of maintaining ascendency. I can't see too many of the top 4 or 5 nations dominating for the same length of time Australia has.

    The major benefit to me as a cricket lover is tighter, hard fought series between all of these nations. Isn't that what we all want?

    I could care less who's on top of the rankings (although it is nice) , just give me games that go for 5 days and keep me on the edge of my seat for the whole time.

  • orange on August 27, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    I agree with some of your comments. With all due respect to the spinners currently plying their trade on the Aust. domestic curcuit there is not much doubt that the spin cupboard is bare. That of course could all change in a short space of time. In terms of fast bowling there are some prospects on the horizon such as Ben Hilfenhous and Peter Siddle. Mitchell Johnson has the potential but has some work to do before he realises it. So on the subject of fast bowling I'm not too concerned. It is principally in terms of batting that I disagree with you. There is in my opinion some exciting talent comeing through the ranks at present. Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Philip Hughes, Usman Kkawaja, Moises Henriques (who is an allrounder)are to name just a few. There are also some good wicketkeeper batsmen such as Ronchi and Matthew Wade. Bearing all of that in mind Aust might not dominate world cricket as it has for the last 10 yaers but it will still be difficult to beat, particulalrly at home.

  • REDNECK on August 27, 2008, 4:01 GMT

    well aust may have been tested by the west indies away from home but they still got through 2-0, the windies are improving and will not be 8th for much longer they managed to beat south africa in a test in south africa in the last southern summer and if they are the number 2 side... also the last india v australia series was infact a improvement by australia from a 1-1 series draw to a 2-1 series win and aus also smashed sri lanka (a side that beat india recently) off the park in the post warne/mcgrath era. the side still havn't lost a test series away since england 05 and at home since the windies had ambrose & walsh in the early 90's. i guess only time will tell if they can keep doing this certainly the lack of spin options is a worry particularly with 4 tests in india on the horizon

  • David on August 27, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    I think you could say it was a bit of both. We had some great players but they also came through a tough system that meant they quickly developed into a great team. Australia will still be a good team without them, but I agree that we will be nowhere near the dominant team that we have been. I think that that is for the best, if one team is unbeatable, interest in the game wanes. Now we can see who will be the first to bring them down and how far down they go!

  • Kartik on August 27, 2008, 4:52 GMT

    This is premature. Remember they have not lost a single World Cup match since 1999, winning 26 on the trot!! Let's wait until they lose the World Cup before we talk of decline.

  • tinker on August 27, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    the aussies aren't what they were a few years back but all this cheap talk is getting boring.

    India arrived in Australia last summer talking about how the aussies were over the hill yet if not for a clarke drop in the 4th test Australia would have won 3-1.

    India were then very lucky to salvage a draw at home against SA and were humiliated in Sri lanka.

    You mention india so many times in this blog yet india have only proven just hwo little they are prepared to work to be the best, they get close to australia and then act like they are in fact the world champs.

    Enough of the talk, let's see these teams beat Australia in Australia and then they can talk themselves up.

  • V.S.MUTHUSWAMY on August 27, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    Well all teams goes in this transition period. I am cant see any team will dominate the world cricket these aussies did. India under the verge of transition period, with their main batsman Dravid goes then we will how india struggles abroad, all teams will undergo the same process over the period of time. Still aussies will be tough to beat.

  • Faisal on August 27, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    Its an interesting but admittedly easy article to write. Is Australia as dominant as it was? Probably not post McGrath and Warne. But they have not exactly gone in to free fall like the Windies. Of the pretneders to the throne - I guess India will lose 3 of the fab 4 middle order in the next 12 months (like all Asian cricketers they will have to be dragged out of the team) - while Kumble has taken a handful wickets post the Aussie-India series. South Africa seems well placed to challenge them (despite Kallis' poor form). But agree that overall cricket will be a lot more competitive.