Strange times to be an Aussie

During their halcyon days of near total (okay, total) domination in world cricket, you could reel off the names of Australia’s top players. They came from a pool of around 15 players, who together consistently pummelled any side that ventured across their path.

Nathan Lyon is one of 10 debutants for Australia these past 12 months. If recent selection for Australia is anything to go by, he may not be in the team for too long

Back to the reality of 2011 for Australia; since the start of the Ashes 12 months ago, no fewer than 10 players have been handed their baggy green cap and sent out to represent the once good name of Australian cricket.

10. Xavier Doherty, Michael Beer, Usman Khawaja, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Pat Cummins, David Warner, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc.

Once upon a time you used to have to earn your place in the Aussie starting XI. Now, if they get so much as a whiff of talent, the selectors will chase down young and inexperienced players.

Michael Beer had played five First Class matches before his debut. Nathan Lyon was a curator 12 months ago. A groundsman! (Nothing against being a groundsman, I just don’t expect them to prepare the wicket and head out to play on it.)

Starc is 21 and has played 17 First Class games. Pattinson, 21 with nine First Class games. Cummins, 18 with just four First Class games. Such players would have been nowhere near Australia’s Test XI 10 years ago.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. A side that has for so long persisted with the inexcusably fragile and inconsistent Mitchell Johnson clearly doesn’t have much in reserve. Australia have resorted to praying that the kids are all right.

Compare the Aussies with the world’s best Test team, England. Ajmal Shahzad was the last player to take his England bow, against Bangladesh. In 2010.

Consistency breeds success, as Australia showed with their golden generation. During that time, England showed how not to do things by chopping and changing at will. It’s funny how things can turn around…

By Miles Reucroft

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3 comments on “Strange times to be an Aussie

  1. Such players would have been nowhere near the test team 10 years ago because there was McGrath, Warne, Gillespie and McGill. Even throw the comparatively mediocre Brett Lee in there.

    If you dominate for so long, then it makes sense that the same players will keep being selected. Guess what then happens? Nobody else gets selected and then when the dominant players leave, you have a vacuum which is hard to fill.

    Every team goes through this. England, if you remember, went through this phase too. It lasted about 20 years.

  2. A couple of interesting new seamers – Pattinson and Cummins. Another batsman and Australia might be a serious force again, sooner than we think – or hope!
    Talking of fallen giants, has anybody noticed the gradual re-emergence of a more than decent West Indies team? The spirit seems far better:players like Bravo,Bishoo,Rampaul and Roache look to be the real deal. I like the influence of Sammy – he’s not as talented as some but he’s sensible and serious.
    The passing of the Gayle era looks like it may be for the best.