February 18, 2010

Aura Australialis

Reports of Australia's descent into mortality have been greatly exaggerated
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"Aura and mystique. Appearing nightly." So boasted a banner hoisted by a New York Yankees fan during the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Curt Schilling, Arizona's cocksure pitcher, was quick to scoff. "Aura" and "mystique", he declaimed, were merely a couple of nightclub strippers. Nonetheless, on each of the next two nights, the Yankees snatched the baseball equivalent of a one-wicket victory, lifting a city, however fleetingly, from the depths of despair engendered, just a few weeks earlier, by the attack on the Twin Towers.

For half a decade, the Yankees had dominated baseball in a manner unseen since they themselves had ruled the diamond with tyrannical relish throughout the 1950s. True, with the priceless aid of hindsight those two indelible triumphs may now be regarded as the final roars of a fading lion - the Diamondbacks took the Series when it returned to the desert for its riveting climax - but it didn't seem like it at the time. The sheer improbability of those wins appeared to confirm everything we suspected: the Yankees had that impenetrable ring of boundless confidence, that denial of vulnerability, which only the very best possess.

The A-word cropped up again during last year's Ashes series. "I don't think this Australia side has an aura about them," said England's captain, Andrew Strauss, on the eve of the third Test at Edgbaston. "The aura came from guys like [Shane] Warne, [Glenn] McGrath, [Matthew] Hayden and [Adam] Gilchrist. A lot of their players are just starting their Test careers and it feels like you are playing against any other Test team." At Headingley one match later, Ricky Ponting's mob won by an innings and plenty.

The Oval denouement may have vindicated Strauss, but now? Just look at what Australia, notwithstanding their endless changes of personnel and purported descent into mortality, have accomplished in recent months.

Twice in consecutive matches during the Worrell Trophy series against West Indies, in Adelaide and then Perth, Ponting and company flirted seriously with defeat yet clung on for a draw and then chiselled out a narrow win. Then came Sydney, where Pakistan, chasing 176, were 77 for 3 but still fell well short, unnerved and undone by an attack that had entered the Test averaging 15 caps per head. Then came that Twenty20 bout at the MCG, where Pakistan, requiring 30 off half a dozen overs with six wickets intact and Kamran Akmal doing much as he pleased, still contrived to lose. Think, too, of the way Australia rebounded against South Africa last March, shrugging off their first loss in a home Test series for the best part of two decades to beat their hosts in the return rubber when nobody gave them a prayer.

It would be facile to lay such failures solely at the door of erratic opponents as long on talent as they are short on confidence. It goes deeper than that, far deeper. Australia's aura, of self-belief if not invincibility, is as durable as it gets - a national custom, even obligation. In sporting terms, indeed, it is hard to find a comparable example.

Roger Federer has that aura. So did Edwin Moses, the greatest of all 400-metre hurdlers, who won 122 finals on the trot in the 1970s and 1980s. So did Martina Navratilova and Rocky Marciano. Tiger Woods had so much of it he strayed into hubris. In transforming our understanding of what is possible on an athletics track, Usain Bolt is the latest to acquire it. These, though, are all individuals, indomitability unhampered by the shortcomings of inferior colleagues.

Team sports are trickier. Over a significant, if relatively brief, period - a decade, say - it is hard to imagine that any side, in any sport, can match the West Indies of the 1980s, who won nearly five-and-a-half times as many Tests as they lost; the only other Test team to exceed a 3:1 ratio have been Australia in the 2000s (4.38) and England in the 1910s (3.50). No wonder Sports Illustrated nominated Clive, Vivi and company as one of the teams of that particular 10-year span - quite an accolade given that cricket is about as prominent on American radars as underwater volleyball.

But what about serious, serial consistency? The Yankees have won more than twice as many World Series as any rival, but they've never competed in a tournament truly worthy of such a name. New Zealand's All Blacks have won nearly 75% of their 458 internationals but just a solitary rugby World Cup. Brazil's footballers have won an unprecedented five World Cups and, overall, almost four times as many internationals as they have lost, but they have only played Italy and Germany, Europe's finest, 14 and 20 times respectively: a combined 4% of their total fixtures. Yes, they have tackled Argentina 89 times, but that's still barely 10%. Australia, who have succeeded where Brazil have come up short by landing a hat-trick of World Cups, have locked horns with England 422 times in Tests and ODIs (29%), West Indies 229 (16%), India 179 (12%) and South Africa 160 (11%). None of the aforementioned luminaries from other sports, moreover, have been maintaining standards for 130-plus years.

Consider, too, the following table, covering all Tests and ODIs up to and including February 8:

Teams' win-loss percentage (Tests and ODIs)
Team Won Lost W/L ratio
Australia 791 433 1.83
South Africa 388 269 1.44
Pakistan 486 407 1.19
West Indies 481 417 1.15
India 460 479 0.96
Sri Lanka 377 364 0.93
New Zealand 319 434 0.74

Boil that little lot down and those baggy-green cappers have a success ratio more than 26% superior to that of their closest pursuers. Over the course of nearly 1500 games, that is some feat.

THE SOURCE is not, on the face of it, a mystery. Australian social history, according to Professor Tony Bennett, formerly director of the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, has been reconstructed by defining "an essential Australianness as the subordinated, the repressed, and the true resistant". Sporting success is the traditional means by which subordination and repression are resisted, and never more palpably than when Donald Bradman was in his Depression-defying, nation-inspiring pomp. Yet as Steve Waugh proved time and time again, talent alone is insufficient.

What you need, as the time-honoured phrase goes, is a bit of mongrel. Googling "a bit of mongrel" and "Australia" yielded 121,000 results. Definitions are a tad more elusive. Mixed parentage is a major factor. Having to live down the reputation of the nation's ne'er-do-well founders has assuredly been a spur. The other key ingredients? A persistent bite, a religious refusal to be cowed, and a loathing of leashes. Waugh embodied these qualities better than anyone.

And never more so than in the third Test at Old Trafford in 1997, when, defying forbiddingly seamer-friendly conditions, forlorn form and a severe hand injury, he became the first Australian right-hander to score twin centuries in an Ashes encounter, scoring well over twice as many runs in the match as anybody else, and turning the series. In the final hour of the opening day, with only the tail for company, he turned down no fewer than three offers of bad light. Even when all five scoreboard lights were peeking through the evening gloom there was no retreat. "Once he's in," his young team-mate Matthew Elliott assured me at the time, "he doesn't give an inch." The awe was … well, awesome.

A persistent bite, a religious refusal to be cowed, and a loathing of leashes. Waugh embodied these qualities better than anyone

The latest example of such devout and devoted mongrelling came at the SCG in January; the man doing the yapping, Peter Siddle. The sight of the No. 10 coming in with Australia 51 ahead and Pakistan within touching distance of a series-levelling win was scarcely designed to imbue team or crowd with a surfeit of optimism. Never before had he endured for more than 65 minutes on his country's behalf, yet now he held fast for more than three and a half hours, compiling a first-class career-best of 38, adding 123 with Mike Hussey and giving himself and his fellow bowlers something to bowl at. More than enough, as it transpired.

Yet there's something else, something more than a dog whose bite is a good deal worse than its bark. Watch an Australian XI take the field. Shoulders never slouch; chins are always up. Backs always seem straighter, visages prouder, the sense of togetherness more acute. What other nation could have initiated the practice of turning the award of a new cap into a ceremony? What other nation could have been first to inscribe a player's shirt with a number denoting the order in which he was selected, his place in the noble line?

Watch them take the field again. Even at this time of retrenchment and beatability, each member projects a sunny certainty in his capabilities, in his right to be there, in the importance, literal and symbolic, of the cause. West Indies wore that look under Lloyd and Richards; Muttiah Muralitharan and his fellow Sri Lankans wore it in the aftermath of the tsunami; the Haiti football team might wear it for the next year or two. Australia's cricketing representatives almost always wear it. And they wear it well, damned well, insufferably well. Call it an aura, underpinned by mystique. Appearing daily and nightly.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY abinanthan on | February 21, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    Aussies lost against 3 of the top 4 opponents, where from the pride comes?!! The pride taken from beating opponents who are in the last rung of ranking ladder itself shows what kind of aura this team do have! Whatever the chin up, straight back things it has, they are all leftovers of the previous generation. Lets wait until most of the touring teams start beating Aussies, and then see how bent the back will be.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | February 21, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    absolutely brilliant article the best ive ever read on this website. spot on with all the points and the main thing for people to realise after reading this article is australia will ALWAYS have the aura and when legends retire new lads come and make their own eras of aura. its the australian way and it will live on. you dont play for australia if you cant project the aussie "mystique" and "aura" "daily and nightly" haha therefore im sorry we will always be the benchmark

  • POSTED BY spiritwithin on | February 20, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    @Trapper439..australia indeed has shown time and again that they r a very bad loser,when other country's starts to give u back and stands upto u & ur team cant handle it and call it arrogance and dats not fare..australia has started to win again but forgetting da fact dat they just lost in england and r yet to tour india as well as Sri Lanka and all their recent wins were against pakistan & WI and not against top sides..

  • POSTED BY shaantanu on | February 20, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    @trapper:since you have taken me as an example to drive home your point let me clarify a lil bit here.As a cricket fan i have great respect for australia as a cricket nation and for their unparalled achievements.I wud rather watch a match happening in australia than anywhere else.However what i abhor is the haughtiness and arrogance shown towards players from other nations(esp india and to an extent srilanka).if u feel thts sportsmanship than sorry we are not in the same plane.When someone tows your line hes gud but if he shows the temerity to confront u and reply u in ur way he becomes unsporting.thts not fair.as a matter of fact india too have been quite consistent(more often than not) in their performance in the last few years.why then others(esp aussies)fail to acknowledge tht and try and belittle india.

  • POSTED BY Trapper439 on | February 20, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    @AlokJoshi: You obviously don't know much about football if you think Brazil shows perfect sportsmanship. What about Rivaldo falling to the ground clutching his face when the ball had hit him in the knee at the 2002 World Cup in order to get a Turkish player sent off? That's worse than anything Ponting's side has ever done and there are many more examples. Also, a quick look on Youtube will show you that all cricket teams have had unsporting moments (eg Dhoni claiming a catch when the ball bounced a foot in front of his gloves). Australia just gets singled out as "unsporting" by self-righteous hypocrites who can't bear the fact that they were soundly beaten by Australia fair and square repeatedly for well over a decade. Look, for example, at shaantanu's post below where he quite proudly declares his "utter dislike" and "hatred" towards Aussie cricket. Yes, we're not as good as we were, but the opposing fans (mostly Indian) go to ridiculous lengths to belittle Australia's achievements.

  • POSTED BY joeyinoz on | February 19, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    Australia is not as menacing as it was 5-10 years ago. But the sheer level of pleasure teams take in beating Australia at the moment shows that they still rate Australia very highly. SAF's victory over AUS took two extraordinary performances in Perth (chasing 400+), and Melbourne (170 for the 9th wicket). And it took mighty individual performances from Strauss, Freddie, Broad and Trott to overcome Australia in the London test matches. It still takes a great deal of mental strength and unlikely individual brilliance to topple AUS across a series. That is why I agree with Steen's article - Australia still has its aura in plain sight of other teams. The only exception was India 2008. India was at the peak of its powers and Australia at the trough of theirs. Months before that series started, I thought Australia would get trounced, and that is what happened. I seriously doubt that India will have it so good next time.

  • POSTED BY Umasuthan on | February 19, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    Has anyone checked the Sri Lankan W/L ratio? It should be above India according the table.

  • POSTED BY Rishi_25 on | February 19, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    I don't think this is so much the 'aura' stage for Australian cricket, so much as the post-aura stage or the hangover of the aura stage. This is clearly evident from the fact that whereas earlier, most games featuring Australia from the start were absolute no-contests, matches between Australia and quality teams (India, SA, Sri Lanka) and not (WI & sadly Pakistan) are much closer and hard fought. And this holds true even when the games are played on Australian soil. In the recently concluded series against the WI & Pakistan, there were several moments when the touring sides could have, with a little tenacity and skill, wrested the initiative and delivered the knockout punch. In the times of Warne, Gilly, McGrath and Hayden, touring teams never even came close to winning a single session, let alone a Test match. But the Australian doggedness is indeed noteworthy.

  • POSTED BY AlokJoshi on | February 19, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Brazilian footballing aura is more relevant and perceptible. In a team sport played by hundreds of nations including Australia, Brazil's quest to win with fair play is commendable. There can be no sporting aura, or an intangible quality of distinctive greatness or invincibility, unless accompanied by fair play; and australian cricket and fair play are not synonymous. In that sense, Rob has written a wonderfully exaggerated one dimensional article. He has also conveniently forgotten that Australia is neither #1 test match nor #1 T20 team. Aussies were lucky to escape at Perth and Sydney recently. Beating a depleted WI and a rudderless Pakistan side is no big deal. Strauss had correctly assessed irrelevance of Aussie aura - the Oval test match result and T20 world cup debacle are fair manifestation of aura having gone kaput.

  • POSTED BY tfjones1978 on | February 19, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    Aust dont have their invinsible status in tests (maybe ODI's again), but Aust lost 6-8 players over 2 yr period (4 in 2 months) that was the essense of Aust cricket. Test cricket takes too long to have any sort of meaningful test ranking, however, over past 6 years: * Aust won ALL home except SA & only lost against Eng & India away (7 home, 6 away). * SA won ALL Home except Aust & SRL & away except for 2 or 3 teams (6.5 home & 6 away). * India won ALL Home except SA draw, but lost against 4 away (7.5 home & 4 away). THUS, If all teams played Home & Away over 4 years with 3 pts series win, 1 pt series draw, result would be (something like): AUST: 38 (21+18) SA: 36 (19 + 17) INDIA: 33 (22 + 11)

    If you look at Home & Away games (av 3 games home, 3 away against each team): * AUST: Home 75% win, Away 75% win * SA: Home 75% win, Away 50% win * INDIA: Home 50% win, Away 25% win

    Australia wins nearly all Home & Away, whereas India tend to win long series by 1-0 or 2-1 results with MANY draws

  • POSTED BY abinanthan on | February 21, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    Aussies lost against 3 of the top 4 opponents, where from the pride comes?!! The pride taken from beating opponents who are in the last rung of ranking ladder itself shows what kind of aura this team do have! Whatever the chin up, straight back things it has, they are all leftovers of the previous generation. Lets wait until most of the touring teams start beating Aussies, and then see how bent the back will be.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | February 21, 2010, 14:45 GMT

    absolutely brilliant article the best ive ever read on this website. spot on with all the points and the main thing for people to realise after reading this article is australia will ALWAYS have the aura and when legends retire new lads come and make their own eras of aura. its the australian way and it will live on. you dont play for australia if you cant project the aussie "mystique" and "aura" "daily and nightly" haha therefore im sorry we will always be the benchmark

  • POSTED BY spiritwithin on | February 20, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    @Trapper439..australia indeed has shown time and again that they r a very bad loser,when other country's starts to give u back and stands upto u & ur team cant handle it and call it arrogance and dats not fare..australia has started to win again but forgetting da fact dat they just lost in england and r yet to tour india as well as Sri Lanka and all their recent wins were against pakistan & WI and not against top sides..

  • POSTED BY shaantanu on | February 20, 2010, 8:44 GMT

    @trapper:since you have taken me as an example to drive home your point let me clarify a lil bit here.As a cricket fan i have great respect for australia as a cricket nation and for their unparalled achievements.I wud rather watch a match happening in australia than anywhere else.However what i abhor is the haughtiness and arrogance shown towards players from other nations(esp india and to an extent srilanka).if u feel thts sportsmanship than sorry we are not in the same plane.When someone tows your line hes gud but if he shows the temerity to confront u and reply u in ur way he becomes unsporting.thts not fair.as a matter of fact india too have been quite consistent(more often than not) in their performance in the last few years.why then others(esp aussies)fail to acknowledge tht and try and belittle india.

  • POSTED BY Trapper439 on | February 20, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    @AlokJoshi: You obviously don't know much about football if you think Brazil shows perfect sportsmanship. What about Rivaldo falling to the ground clutching his face when the ball had hit him in the knee at the 2002 World Cup in order to get a Turkish player sent off? That's worse than anything Ponting's side has ever done and there are many more examples. Also, a quick look on Youtube will show you that all cricket teams have had unsporting moments (eg Dhoni claiming a catch when the ball bounced a foot in front of his gloves). Australia just gets singled out as "unsporting" by self-righteous hypocrites who can't bear the fact that they were soundly beaten by Australia fair and square repeatedly for well over a decade. Look, for example, at shaantanu's post below where he quite proudly declares his "utter dislike" and "hatred" towards Aussie cricket. Yes, we're not as good as we were, but the opposing fans (mostly Indian) go to ridiculous lengths to belittle Australia's achievements.

  • POSTED BY joeyinoz on | February 19, 2010, 23:49 GMT

    Australia is not as menacing as it was 5-10 years ago. But the sheer level of pleasure teams take in beating Australia at the moment shows that they still rate Australia very highly. SAF's victory over AUS took two extraordinary performances in Perth (chasing 400+), and Melbourne (170 for the 9th wicket). And it took mighty individual performances from Strauss, Freddie, Broad and Trott to overcome Australia in the London test matches. It still takes a great deal of mental strength and unlikely individual brilliance to topple AUS across a series. That is why I agree with Steen's article - Australia still has its aura in plain sight of other teams. The only exception was India 2008. India was at the peak of its powers and Australia at the trough of theirs. Months before that series started, I thought Australia would get trounced, and that is what happened. I seriously doubt that India will have it so good next time.

  • POSTED BY Umasuthan on | February 19, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    Has anyone checked the Sri Lankan W/L ratio? It should be above India according the table.

  • POSTED BY Rishi_25 on | February 19, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    I don't think this is so much the 'aura' stage for Australian cricket, so much as the post-aura stage or the hangover of the aura stage. This is clearly evident from the fact that whereas earlier, most games featuring Australia from the start were absolute no-contests, matches between Australia and quality teams (India, SA, Sri Lanka) and not (WI & sadly Pakistan) are much closer and hard fought. And this holds true even when the games are played on Australian soil. In the recently concluded series against the WI & Pakistan, there were several moments when the touring sides could have, with a little tenacity and skill, wrested the initiative and delivered the knockout punch. In the times of Warne, Gilly, McGrath and Hayden, touring teams never even came close to winning a single session, let alone a Test match. But the Australian doggedness is indeed noteworthy.

  • POSTED BY AlokJoshi on | February 19, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Brazilian footballing aura is more relevant and perceptible. In a team sport played by hundreds of nations including Australia, Brazil's quest to win with fair play is commendable. There can be no sporting aura, or an intangible quality of distinctive greatness or invincibility, unless accompanied by fair play; and australian cricket and fair play are not synonymous. In that sense, Rob has written a wonderfully exaggerated one dimensional article. He has also conveniently forgotten that Australia is neither #1 test match nor #1 T20 team. Aussies were lucky to escape at Perth and Sydney recently. Beating a depleted WI and a rudderless Pakistan side is no big deal. Strauss had correctly assessed irrelevance of Aussie aura - the Oval test match result and T20 world cup debacle are fair manifestation of aura having gone kaput.

  • POSTED BY tfjones1978 on | February 19, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    Aust dont have their invinsible status in tests (maybe ODI's again), but Aust lost 6-8 players over 2 yr period (4 in 2 months) that was the essense of Aust cricket. Test cricket takes too long to have any sort of meaningful test ranking, however, over past 6 years: * Aust won ALL home except SA & only lost against Eng & India away (7 home, 6 away). * SA won ALL Home except Aust & SRL & away except for 2 or 3 teams (6.5 home & 6 away). * India won ALL Home except SA draw, but lost against 4 away (7.5 home & 4 away). THUS, If all teams played Home & Away over 4 years with 3 pts series win, 1 pt series draw, result would be (something like): AUST: 38 (21+18) SA: 36 (19 + 17) INDIA: 33 (22 + 11)

    If you look at Home & Away games (av 3 games home, 3 away against each team): * AUST: Home 75% win, Away 75% win * SA: Home 75% win, Away 50% win * INDIA: Home 50% win, Away 25% win

    Australia wins nearly all Home & Away, whereas India tend to win long series by 1-0 or 2-1 results with MANY draws

  • POSTED BY Sehwagology on | February 19, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    Disagree - a culture of institutionalised sporting excellence is not the same thing as aura and mystique. Australia has developed an outstanding sporting infrastructure and this is reflected in their performances in many sports including the Olympics. It applies in rugby union and hockey where they have frequently "overachieved" despite fielding teams of relatively modest talents. Yes of course they had an aura over the last ten years - especially under Waugh - but that was because they had such a great team. Similar to the West Indies in the late 70s and the 1980s. They remain incredibly difficult to beat. That's part of their sporting psyche and it will never change. Rather like Man Utd under Ferguson. However the current team has most certainly lost its aura - especially away from home. No team that loses 3 out of its 4 major series (India, S Africa, Ashes) can be described as having an aura.

  • POSTED BY shaantanu on | February 19, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    no doubt australia is still a strong unit(basically due to their strong domestic setup),but i guess the aura they had in the last decade is no longer there.beating WI and Pak at home does not enhance their invincibility in any way.......being an indian i must admit that it feels much better to be hated and being competitive than being loved but being pushovers.the hatred tht aussies have for us is by no means one sided.its mutual.though we indians,me included admire a few of their palyers(brett lee for ex) there is an utter dislike towards aussie cricket in general........love or hate is always enjoyable when its a two way traffic.let this HATRED continue.

  • POSTED BY Shaitaan on | February 19, 2010, 5:44 GMT

    Yes, they just beat the Number 6 and 7 sides in the world, therefore they still have their AURA. Whoooo. Everyone's so scared! Whatever rings your bell, Rob.

    From the rest of the world, everyone rates the Aussies coz they're such great competitors. But the AURA of an unbeatable side? Two years too late.

  • POSTED BY redneck on | February 19, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    on (February 18 2010, 20:40 PM GMT "Rob ask yourself a question Can this Australian side beat the current Indian side,home or away?" who ever wrote that you need to ask your self the same question only switch australia and india around! you have never won a test series here in oz! and considering sachin might not be round next australian tour what are india going to do?! i only wish we had been playing tests in india last year when we won the ODI! it wouldnt have been 2-0 score line thats for sure! in my oppinion india got extreamly lucky that they toured australia and hosted them in 2008 the year that australia had to rebuild!

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 19, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    @f, considering India haven`t managed to beat Australia in 9 test series in Oz, you`d have to think Australia would beat this Indian team there as well, particularly with the way their fast bowling stocks are looking. India would also hold the edge in India, I`d think. Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether this Indian team can beat any of the top nations away from home. They`ve never won a series in Aus, never managed even to draw a series in South Africa, lost the last 2 series in Sri Lanka, and the last one in Pakistan, where they`ve managed to win all of 2 tests ever (1 more than they`ve managed in South africa btw). For all their wonderful performances over the past decade, another example of which we just saw at the Eden Gardens, these are massive gaps in the team`s CV. What I`d really like to hear from India team management is `We`re going to go to SAf and beat them there, then beat the Aussies away, then we`ll consider ourselves a champion side.`

  • POSTED BY IMObserver on | February 19, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    It's not just cricket but athleticism in all sports is second nature of Australian culture, and for that reason Australians cricket will produce next Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Gilchrist and Ponting. Others may equal and surpass Australians in batting. But in fast bowling and fielding Australia will be hard to beat due their aptitude for athletics. Having said that the aura may not return: that is others will not see Australia as unbeatable. Once upon a time their was an Australian aura about swimming and tennis. But that is thing of the past. That will be the case in cricket as well. Australians will always be contenders for top honours but so called aura will be gone for ever. I would admire Australia more if they do sledge less and bear the brunt of sledging give to them by others. I will never take Australians lightly in any athletic endevours. Athleticism is second nature to Australians. But this aura bit I take with two pinches of salt.

  • POSTED BY Aussies4Ashes on | February 19, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    Australia definitley have there aura when they play in Australia. Teams no that when they arrive in Australia they will have a tough tour. The question is do Australia still have there aura when they go overseas. It may not be the same as when the likes of McGrath and Warne were playing but the current Australian team is bulding its own identity. The current Australian team is more 'team orientated'. Meaning when they win it is because all the players play well and do there part instead of reliying on one or two incredible perfomances. Australia has many talented players and they are starting to perform well as a unit so nomatter wherever they go they will always be feared because they will always be coming at you.

  • POSTED BY inswing on | February 18, 2010, 21:02 GMT

    I agree that the reports of demise of Aus cricket are overstated. They are certainly an excellent side and belong in the top 3 any day. But any way you spin it, the aura is certainly gone. Beating WI and Pak at home, in some close matches, is not evidence of any aura. Both these nations are currently going through bad patches and are not strong opponents. Australia had their decade. That era of unquestioned dominance is over, now they are one of best teams. Comparisons with other sports are meaningless because there are just too many different factors affecting W/L rations (like the size of the bank account of yankees, or the sheer number of countries that are passionate about soccer).

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    Rob ask yourself a question Can this Australian side beat the current Indian side,home or away?

  • POSTED BY SatyajitM on | February 18, 2010, 19:07 GMT

    Rob, by aura, if you mean sense of invincibility; then that's gone for at least two years from Aus cricket. Currently they are among the top three teams, but surely not the top. If you are talking about competitive spirit, then yes, that has always been the hallmark of Aus cricket. Apart from few years in 80s Aus have always shown fighting spirit. As somebody pointed out, Border was the top torch bearer of that competitiveness.

  • POSTED BY NEUTRAL_FAN on | February 18, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    I have never and will never be an Aussie supporter but I will always RATE them. Shortly after they lost 2-1 to SA, many other fans who have also been long waiting the de-throning of their dictatorship (and even when they were still ranked #1) plus many dignified analysts joined the fans and let emotion take them away and were almost writing them off. I on the other hand (keeping my cool) warned them, "Aus has the best domestic set up in world cricket, they will return to the pack a bit but they are still contenders for #1 in tests and ODI's". Of course some looked at me as if I was mad, but after the smoke has cleared, Aus are on the rise again and Ponting and Hussey (who was battling for his place) are the only 2 close to retirement. Rather than celebrate their crash, other teams need to raise their standards for if caught napping Aus will dominate again (suddenly their #1 in ODI's again by some way and Queensland won the Champion's trophy).

  • POSTED BY Girishiyer on | February 18, 2010, 17:36 GMT

    i believe they r the best cricketers in the world and have all the power to be no.1 unlike other teams like India who depend mostly on their batting. rankings suggest they r no.1 but they do not desrve it due to poor fielding and bowling standards.

  • POSTED BY zcoverdrive_x on | February 18, 2010, 16:59 GMT

    "A persistent bite, a religious refusal to be cowed, and a loathing of leashes. Waugh embodied these qualities better than anyone." That might be overstating things a bit. I think a certain IVA Richards would have something to say about that, as would messers Marshall and Holding. From making Tony Greig grovel in 1976 to the blackwashes of the 1980s, they ensured anyone daring to condescend would be taught a lesson to remember.

    As impressive as Waugh was at OT in 1997, the combined Ashes tally in the preceding 4 series read something like 15-4 and England were well on their way to their 1999 nadir of lowest Test ranking and first-round dismissal at a home World Cup. Beating England in the 1990s hardly merited much recognition. If there was a single instance of everything Waugh embodied, it would have to be Sabina Park in 1995. From the ferocity and, ahem, aura of the opposition to their long and proud unbeaten home record, nothing else even comes close.

  • POSTED BY rustin on | February 18, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    @A.S.K Do not start generalizing with the insufficient knowledge that you clearly seem to possess. Even an idiot can see that the article is heavily flawed (though the main point made is undoubtedly right). In fact it is clear that you are holding a lot of grudges against no one in particular. The only achievements of this Aussie team that I would applaud is that of beating India in India(ODIs) and beating SA at home in tests. And regard your "20 million posters" remark, I didn't really understand it, but I really hope you didn't mean what I think you meant.

  • POSTED BY lakesidey on | February 18, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Nice article (though I don't agree with all you say), but that's not why I am commenting - I was just wondering, why doesn't England even feature in the table of Win-Loss percentage (not that I think it would change your observation or anything, just curious!)

  • POSTED BY sanjeevmukherjee2006 on | February 18, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    though being an Indian after India I always supported and will support Australia, the one good quality about Aussies are they r mentally strong I liked the aggressive batting of Hayden and Gilchrist. In the bowling front of Warne, Gillespie and MC grath. Credit to Australia even after loosing 7 mega stars they have fared well, the only blemish in Pondting's captaincy is losing 2 ashes in England, which I am sure they will rectify, Australia has won 3 worlcdups which is not a mean achievement and England will tour Australia later this year which i feel will be closely fought but I back Aus to win that one. The gap between the top four teams are narrow India toured Australia in 2003 drew the test series 1-1, in 2008 when India again toured Australia won the series 2-1. Aus beat Eng in Aus and Eng beat Aus in Eng. SA won test series in Australia and Australia took the revenge by beating SA in their own den. recently England and SA series in SA was 1-1 which is credit to England.

  • POSTED BY Sportz_Freak on | February 18, 2010, 14:55 GMT

    Awesome Article. The Yankees comparison was apt. Both win at a rate that is twice as good as their jealous rivals and are hated for it. England will be the red sox (Curse of Billy Midwinter?) with the 2005 ashes equivalent to the 2004 series. What is even more impressive is that the Aussies managed to dominate using their "farm system" rather than buying pricey free agents. I have admired the Aussies for many many years much to the chagrin of my fellow Indians for precisely that swagger. Its not just walking around with puffed shoulders or trying to act tough...its that inner self belief that no matter what the situation is...we can win from here. The 99 WC was a great example..they were in a situation where they were facing elimination after 2 losses...they had to win 7 in a row...and they did (OK 6 wins and one UNFORGETTABLE tie). they didnt make excuses or whine about the format like we saw some teams do in 2007..they came..they saw..they conqured...long may it continue!!!! Srik.

  • POSTED BY timus6778 on | February 18, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    as far as the aura part is concerned, australia have lost it...but the determination and the body language of aussies is worth praise...rightly said their shoulders never droop down,they are like live wires on the field...a cent percent commitment is what is required fro the players and i dont think that any other cricketing naation puts in so much effort as the aussies do...

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | February 18, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    Well Rob I completely agree with you on the point that the Australian cricket team is the toughest to beat because of their attitude (irrepressible desire to win). But Bob, seriously, why do you need to mention FOOTBAL WORLD CUPL FOR CHRISTSSAKE!!! ARE U NUTS!! OR A D**KHEAD!! THE SPORT WHICH IS ARGUABLY BIGGER THAN THE OLYMPICS (BECAUSE HOW MANY PEOPLE CARE ABOUT EQUESTRIAN, CANOEING, KAYAKING, JUDO, TAEKWONDO, BMX, SHOOTING, CYCLING ANYWAY!! ONLY FOR THE GAMES MEDALS AND THEN ALL IS FORGOTTEN. MOST PEOPLE, UNLESS THEIR COUNTRYMEN ARE SERIOUS MEDAL CONTENDERS, DON'T EVEN WATCH THEM.). No where will you ever see more passionate fans than at a Fifa World Cup. Don't bring it into comparison to state any statistics with any other sport. It's way tooo big to compare. Unless of course you have lost your mind. I never use this sort of offensive language but it definitely deserved it. I know what I have written won't be published but if you have the ba** s, do it!!

  • POSTED BY Amu7 on | February 18, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    Hmm pretty good this article is. And certainly Australia is the team No 1 both ODI & tests. The rankings are almost shitty and its methodology is there to doubt. The fact that India won in NZ & Eng in past 3 years and also against the WI away seem to have garnered the desired ratings that have pushed them up to number one. I think the ratings would be giving higher ratings to India wining a series 1-0 in NZ than to Aus even if they beat NZ 3-0, just because NZ can be perceived to be more difficult to India than to Aus. Saying that this Australian team is workman like very determined , workmanlike and simply using an anesthetic roils opponents to the ground Strange days in Cricket when we have a team at No1 which took about 80 years to win 100 tests while Australia pulled of 75 wins in the past decade alone

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | February 18, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    You only need look at the performance of the Australians since the Ashes loss to see the bloody-minded resilience of this team. 6-1 ODI win over England, unbeaten run through the Champions Trophy, 4-2 ODI win over India with a bits and pieces team, and apart from a washout and a draw, an unblemished winning record against Pakistan and the West Indies this summer. 3 losses and a draw in 34 games of international cricket, 2 of the losses coming in dead rubbers. They remain, as they have been for more than a decade, all but untouchable in the one-day game, and rankings notwithstanding, still the premier test team in the world.

    If Australia had been beaten in their last away series against 4 other teams, as India have (Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, SouthAfrica), and 2 of those countries were places in which Australia had never won a test series, Ricky Ponting would be telling his team and the national press to shut their mouths about being No 1 until they had done so.

  • POSTED BY dpkhbk on | February 18, 2010, 12:21 GMT

    continued:also no one said about the history of australian cricket everyone is only talking about their recent fall so please talk about it.they lost their series in india lost against sa at home lost the ashes thats is a lot of losses for a team with aura.also a lot of people will not like what i will say now.aus lost mcgrath in the 2005 ashes and lost the series . i dont think great teams depend so heavily on two players like aus did (warne and mcg for the info)if one of them got injured they were down in quality as team.thats y they were never actually comparable with w.i of the 80s who had so many fast bowlers

  • POSTED BY dpkhbk on | February 18, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    aura is about winning magnificently not scrapping around and winning against "decent "sides like w.i and pak(w.i by the way did not have the services of their two best pacemen taylor and edwards.they would have surely won atleast one match if they were there)

  • POSTED BY rohanm79 on | February 18, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    "an essential Australianness as the subordinated, the repressed, and the true resistant". What nonsense - which Australian team were you watching? Written like someone who has never lived in Australia. Your description of their general demeanour is widely off the mark - unsportmanlike and generally offensive behaviour is closer to the truth.

  • POSTED BY rohanm79 on | February 18, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    What nonsense! Spoken like someone who doesnt live in Australia! @ASK - honest impartial observations - I think not!

    "an essential Australianness as the subordinated, the repressed, and the true resistant". - this no longer applies neither to the cricketing team nor to general Australian society in general. You might have noticed that general aggression and sledging and typically bad sportsmanship behaviour. This is something experienced by all teams!

    This is a very romanticised view of the society and the team based on an image that is very outdated. Just like the WI dominated the game during the 80's, it is fair to say that Australians have dominated recently. To say whether they are all time greats remains to be seen - if they can return to top form; something the WI have not managed. But Australian's field behaviour such as unsportsmanlike and generally unncessarily agressive demeanour makes their achievement barely tolerable.

  • POSTED BY boooonnie on | February 18, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    Steve Waugh is a great example of Aust competitve spirit but Allan Border is even better. Without access to some of the great players of the following generations, AB dragged Aust ciricket out of the cricketing wilderness with more guts and tenancity then flair and skill. I guess the other thing that all Aussie fans should be thankful for is the strength of our economy and the stability of our society. Aust is the fortunate position to focus on sports in ways most other nations cant. We dont have civil conflict, huge poverty and natural disasters that derail many of our opponents. I have travelled the world and we are one of the luckiest countries. We need to share our good fortune with the world.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | February 18, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Rob, are you serious? Aus beating Pak and WI, i dont think even Ricky will be proud and mind it could gone horrible at Sydney against Pak and WI, but for the visitors plan to dig thier own grave. In the last couple years, Aus lost to India, SA and 2 Ashes in Eng while went on to beat India (including tainted sydney) and comprehensively SA and then again Pak,Eng, WI at home. I dont think McGrath, Warne, Langer, Hayden would be proud of that. NO DOUBT, its hard to beat Aussies even today, but they are certainly beatable..

  • POSTED BY veryeavy on | February 18, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Well yeah, up to a point. The Aussies haven't regressed as much as some might have expected without McGrath and Warne. But if you really think that if NZ had the population that Australia has then this supposedly "Aussie" characteristic would still give them the edge over us then I think you're dreaming. I know my argument is purely hypothetical and unprovable and therefore a tad ridiculous. But if NZ could field a team with 2 Ryders, 2 Vettoris, 2 Taylors, 2 McCullums, 2 Bonds and, oh, for old times sake a "Paddles" then maybe you'd be making a case for the somewhat less (sometimes not a lot) "in your face" Kiwi way. I saw an awful lot of the Aussie teams that came to England in the 90s and they definitely had something this current mob do not (and they would have been even better if MEK was in those teams).

  • POSTED BY deekaye on | February 18, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    The percentage comparison between Brazil's soccer team and the Australian cricket team doesn't really explain anything. Given that there are only about 10 international sides in cricket, Aussies would be playing each of them roughly 10% of the time anyway. Of course, they play England a lot more and say, Zimbabwe say a lot less. But to compare that with Brazil's 4% against Europe's best (especially given the difference in the competition structure between the sports) is comparing apples to oranges.

  • POSTED BY A.S.K. on | February 18, 2010, 10:06 GMT

    Careful Rob, its not a good idea to write nice things (and make honest, impartial contributions) on the Cricindia website. Next week, we will see a counterattack in the form of supposedly balanced crciket journalism and commentary from those well known Aussie haters - Sambit Bal, Michael Jeh, and Peter Roebuck. Really, they've got to keep 20 million Indian posters happy.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | February 18, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    Cricket in every country is going through a different lifecycle stage of development. Aus and Eng have had a long history to develop the game at various levels, institutionalising the talent search, grooming and selection process along the way. While Aus, NZ, Eng and SA play the game as a team, the others have depended largely on individual excellence to do creditably whenever. In that sense, the South Asian countries and WI have some distance to go. That said, given the money and the popularity, many countries have caught up and the relative gaps are narrowing. Aus is no longer even in the top-2 test nations. Man for man India has had the best batting lineup these past few years. It's their woeful bowling and fielding that lets them down. Pakistan is simply disoriented and uncoordinated, rendering all talent useless. SL has progressed remarkably well in cricket. The next five years, will reduce the performance differentials further. The field is open and the top spot for the taking!

  • POSTED BY Aubmic on | February 18, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    I personally think the aura is gone. I mean, we gave WI & Pakistan a good thrashing this summer, but then lots of teams have been giving these 2 thrashings lately. I think the better teams these days feel that they can beat us if they play well, compared to 5 years ago where they felt they could only beat us if they played out of their skins.

  • POSTED BY Ravster_Xi on | February 18, 2010, 6:31 GMT

    hi rob, pretty spot on article.......its the combination of the tangibles [read talent] and the intangible [read "winning feeling" / "self belief"] which makes this side hard to beat....i am a big follower of test cricket but i feel that australia's consistency in ODIs is more mind boggling than their enviable run in tests.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | February 18, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    nice read and very true. Blame the Aussies, Hate the Aussies ... but they deliver and time and again. Who thought this young team lead by Ricky Ponting would still deliver. The bowling, except for spin seems to be in good hands. Batting is still a worry when compared to the peaks a few years ago and after Ponting retires will be a big hole.

    Comparison with Yankees is spot on, every country has there own "Aussies" ... we have Mumbai cricket in India, the Lakers, the Patriots. The team everyone loves to hate, the victory which counts.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    i agree at a point with this article but the australian teams of before, during the 1990s and early 2000s, when one witnesses the names in the playing 11 like langer, hayden, ponting, waugh, shane warne, mcgrath, gilchrist, you just think damn you are playing against AUSTRALIA. one doesnt get that thrill when you play the today's Australian team. today's Australian team is scrappy and it is in own right confident. it doesnt dominate opposition like the previous years but they have to earn every victory which it makes test cricket much much joyful to watch.

  • POSTED BY akshaysabnis on | February 18, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    Aura doesnt mean statistical dominance..... Losing aura means today all tams think they can beat Australia, which was a far cry about 3-4 years ago.

  • POSTED BY Marktc on | February 18, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    It is all about convincing people to see the team as they want to be seen. They have endless self belief and this is projected to the cricket world. To top it all, they still play good cricket, so this 'aura' is entrenched and many teams are beaten before they even go onto the pitch. The young Aussie side is nowhere near what it was 5 years ago, yet they still have that self belief that they are the best. Their fans are also supportive through thick and thin.

    Having said this, although they are in the top three, they are not a clear best at the moment. All three of the top ranked sides are up and down. India and SA could beat the Aussies and then the Aussies could beat them.

  • POSTED BY Rooboy on | February 18, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    I think the Aussie aura has faded in recent years, as it must after losing several 'once in a lifetime' players in recent years, but the self belief is as strong as ever. Someone, I think it might have been Chappelli, put it best by saying (to paraphrase) that if you want to win against Australia, you have to beat them because they will not beat themselves. Compare this to Pakistan on the recent tour, South Africa in big games etc where teams almost disintegrate in sight of victory. This does not happen with Australian teams, nor do they give up in seemingly 'hopeless' situations. Sydney was incredible but even as Siddle walked out to join Hussey you could still sense they had a chance, ridiculous as that thought was given the score. Sure, Australia still lose games but only when the opponent is superior, not because they threw it away. Looking forward to reading all the comments from our indian friends telling us how wrong this article is and how much better india is, as always...

  • POSTED BY vimal001 on | February 18, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    yes really a nice article . i think australia in the last 15 years is phenominal.due to more use of technologies it is hard to maintain your performances .so same aura is not expected from any one even muralidharan and sachin. but i really think australia rebuild thier world class team and it looks vry awesome that players are retired and injured but the feeling and attitude is there just because of there unique system and the way they nurture a player.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    I think 'Aura Australis' was the headline you were looking for:

    http://images.google.com.au/images?q=aurora+australis

  • POSTED BY robotiger on | February 18, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    Good article, although I do believe it is slightly naive to regard that this Australian team has the same 'aura' as that of the past. The situation is similar for the current All Blacks. Also, aura is not measured necessarily by performance or statistics, rather the way opponents perceive (which I suppose is related to performance). In other words if a team (such as England) does not rate their opponents, then their (Australia's) aura, to a certain extent, is lost, because aura is a perception. Yes, demolishing Pakistan and the Windies, and recovering in South Africa is impressive, but the horse may have already bolted, and 'aura' may need to be rebuilt. Teams, rightly or wrongly, simply do not fear Haddin as much as they did Gilchrist, or Siddle as much as they did McGrath.

  • POSTED BY Ozbuck on | February 18, 2010, 1:03 GMT

    As a proud Australian, I note that other countries regard their greatest victories as ones wherin they beat Australia e.g. India ('greatest' test of all) and England (2005 Ashes). I was at the Pakistan test at Sydney. It is a funny feeling but you never felt that Australia was sure to lose. Even on the fourth morning, we in the crowd were still positive. The feeling was that if Australia hung in, Pakistan would crack Oxbuck.

  • POSTED BY leggetinoz on | February 18, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    Really nice article however i fear that you will only get people flaming you for saying such things and have endless amounts of stats etc to show that you are wrong. The aura you talk about is something that goes beyond stats. I think the aura is still there and could possibly build to be even bigger than it was as now it is more a team than due to individuals. The main reason for that aura is that Australia will never give up and will never let you beat them easy regardless of retirements, injuries, umpire decisions etc. You will always have to be at the top of your game to beat them. They will never look for excuses, something our friends over in India might like to borrow. The swaager (which is incorrectly seen as arrogance by some) is there as to never let the opponents know when we are down and that they have a fight on their hands so be prepared to play out of your skins if you want to beat us.

  • POSTED BY raghavaussiecombine on | February 18, 2010, 0:28 GMT

    Oi Rob, mate! it was such fun reading this. I should say You have put in words what I have always felt. But the main point is You have put it way better than I could dream of. Yes, the self belief of an Aussie cricket team is very high. I think this comes from the county cricket set up here.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    An awesome evaluation Rob. Sounds like you have high praise for the Australian cricket team, as I have.

  • POSTED BY Winsome on | February 18, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    The writer of this article would have to be English. I don't think any Aussie journalist would write such tosh about the Aussies. Or at least I would hope not.

    I don't include Peter Roebuck and his flights of fancy as he still seems thoroughly English to me in outlook.

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  • POSTED BY Winsome on | February 18, 2010, 0:04 GMT

    The writer of this article would have to be English. I don't think any Aussie journalist would write such tosh about the Aussies. Or at least I would hope not.

    I don't include Peter Roebuck and his flights of fancy as he still seems thoroughly English to me in outlook.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    An awesome evaluation Rob. Sounds like you have high praise for the Australian cricket team, as I have.

  • POSTED BY raghavaussiecombine on | February 18, 2010, 0:28 GMT

    Oi Rob, mate! it was such fun reading this. I should say You have put in words what I have always felt. But the main point is You have put it way better than I could dream of. Yes, the self belief of an Aussie cricket team is very high. I think this comes from the county cricket set up here.

  • POSTED BY leggetinoz on | February 18, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    Really nice article however i fear that you will only get people flaming you for saying such things and have endless amounts of stats etc to show that you are wrong. The aura you talk about is something that goes beyond stats. I think the aura is still there and could possibly build to be even bigger than it was as now it is more a team than due to individuals. The main reason for that aura is that Australia will never give up and will never let you beat them easy regardless of retirements, injuries, umpire decisions etc. You will always have to be at the top of your game to beat them. They will never look for excuses, something our friends over in India might like to borrow. The swaager (which is incorrectly seen as arrogance by some) is there as to never let the opponents know when we are down and that they have a fight on their hands so be prepared to play out of your skins if you want to beat us.

  • POSTED BY Ozbuck on | February 18, 2010, 1:03 GMT

    As a proud Australian, I note that other countries regard their greatest victories as ones wherin they beat Australia e.g. India ('greatest' test of all) and England (2005 Ashes). I was at the Pakistan test at Sydney. It is a funny feeling but you never felt that Australia was sure to lose. Even on the fourth morning, we in the crowd were still positive. The feeling was that if Australia hung in, Pakistan would crack Oxbuck.

  • POSTED BY robotiger on | February 18, 2010, 2:34 GMT

    Good article, although I do believe it is slightly naive to regard that this Australian team has the same 'aura' as that of the past. The situation is similar for the current All Blacks. Also, aura is not measured necessarily by performance or statistics, rather the way opponents perceive (which I suppose is related to performance). In other words if a team (such as England) does not rate their opponents, then their (Australia's) aura, to a certain extent, is lost, because aura is a perception. Yes, demolishing Pakistan and the Windies, and recovering in South Africa is impressive, but the horse may have already bolted, and 'aura' may need to be rebuilt. Teams, rightly or wrongly, simply do not fear Haddin as much as they did Gilchrist, or Siddle as much as they did McGrath.

  • POSTED BY on | February 18, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    I think 'Aura Australis' was the headline you were looking for:

    http://images.google.com.au/images?q=aurora+australis

  • POSTED BY vimal001 on | February 18, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    yes really a nice article . i think australia in the last 15 years is phenominal.due to more use of technologies it is hard to maintain your performances .so same aura is not expected from any one even muralidharan and sachin. but i really think australia rebuild thier world class team and it looks vry awesome that players are retired and injured but the feeling and attitude is there just because of there unique system and the way they nurture a player.

  • POSTED BY Rooboy on | February 18, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    I think the Aussie aura has faded in recent years, as it must after losing several 'once in a lifetime' players in recent years, but the self belief is as strong as ever. Someone, I think it might have been Chappelli, put it best by saying (to paraphrase) that if you want to win against Australia, you have to beat them because they will not beat themselves. Compare this to Pakistan on the recent tour, South Africa in big games etc where teams almost disintegrate in sight of victory. This does not happen with Australian teams, nor do they give up in seemingly 'hopeless' situations. Sydney was incredible but even as Siddle walked out to join Hussey you could still sense they had a chance, ridiculous as that thought was given the score. Sure, Australia still lose games but only when the opponent is superior, not because they threw it away. Looking forward to reading all the comments from our indian friends telling us how wrong this article is and how much better india is, as always...

  • POSTED BY Marktc on | February 18, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    It is all about convincing people to see the team as they want to be seen. They have endless self belief and this is projected to the cricket world. To top it all, they still play good cricket, so this 'aura' is entrenched and many teams are beaten before they even go onto the pitch. The young Aussie side is nowhere near what it was 5 years ago, yet they still have that self belief that they are the best. Their fans are also supportive through thick and thin.

    Having said this, although they are in the top three, they are not a clear best at the moment. All three of the top ranked sides are up and down. India and SA could beat the Aussies and then the Aussies could beat them.