In the summer issue of Intelligent Life I argued that the Australian cricket team--seemingly so dominant--may face medium-term decline They have since bombed out of the Twenty20 World Cup. Can I claim to have been prescient?
I made two arguments in my piece. The first is that there has been for the last 30 years a bloodline of tough, resilient Australian batsmen–from the Chappell brothers to Ricky Ponting (pictured), via Allan Border and Steve Waugh. The baton has not just been passed; each generation was schooled by the last.
It is now looking increasingly obvious that the current Australian side does not have such a strong core of champion players. They are still a good team, but there is not the unbreakable core of four or five proven winners. Australia’s rather lacklustre departure from the T20 World Cup does seem further proof of this.
But what about the second, more central argument: that Australia’s cricketing dominance owes more to culture than structure, and that Australian culture is changing, to the detriment of the national cricket team? It is still much too early to say whether I am right. Two T20 matches prove very little about long-term trends. Perhaps even this season’s Ashes is too short a time-frame.
But I would be amazed, over the next 20 years, if Australia experiences anything like the dominance it has enjoyed over the last two decades.
~ ED SMITH
Picture credit: nellistc (via Flickr)