Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aussies again choke under pressure

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Anybody who has followed world cricket for the last decade or so will acknowledge that fact that Australian cricket is on a decline. Their first round ouster in the T20 World Cup proves that Ricky Pointing's men are no longer what they used to be just about two years ago. This teams looks more vulnerable than ever before and has very little in common with the modern day invincibles nurtured by Steve Waugh and carried on by Ricky Ponting.

If it was the Caribbean hurricane of Chris Gayle which shocked Australia on Saturday then it was the Sri Lankan wall of Kumara Sangakara which the kangaroos could not penetrate. There was stark contrast in the two run chases by Sri Lanka and West Indies. If Chris Gayle blasted the Aussie attack playing a murderous innings, Kumara Sangakara played a classy innings ensuring Lanka made it to the top eight.

The ODI World Champions have struggled to dominate in the shortest version of the game like they have done in Test and ODIs. Teams like India and South Africa have grown a shade fairer to the Aussies when it comes to the twenty over game. The ouster of Andrew Symonds due to disciplinary reasons just ahead of its first match did not help the situation and meant that the kangaroos were playing without their biggest T20 star.

On a larger picture of the game Aussies seem to going through a struggling phase. Not that they are performing bad, just that they are not being able to touch the high standards they themselves set in the last decade. The exit of champions like Glen McGrath, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist has severely hurt the balance of the team. They no longer look invincible although it will be too early to write them off as their positive approach always gives them a chance to bounce back.

The upcoming Ashes Tour will be the most important in Ricky Ponting's career as he is the only Australian captain in the last two decades to have lost an Ashes Series. Also the fact that the last Ashes in England went to the home team will put pressure on the Aussies. The teams sans Glen McGrath, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist will have to play out of their skin to win the Ashes and prove their domination in world cricket.


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