Why Aussie Reign in World Cricket?
Australia has won five of the even world cup tournaments those have taken place so far since it was launched in 1975. Twice they finished second. The latest that happened at MCG in the one sided final against New Zealand heralded a new era of Aussie cricket. Mostly a young Australian team dominating the tournament in all departments of the game established their supremacy. In the semifinal and final great Australian team bull dodged two unbeaten teams India and New Zealand beating them comprehensively. Australia first won the tournament in 1987 in India beating England in the final. The next three wins were against subcontinental gains Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in 1999, 2003 and 2007 in England, South Africa and West Indies. Now they have beaten their Tasman Cousin in Australia. This means that Australia has won the tournament in all continents where cricket is played. They are head and shoulder above the rest of the teams in world cricket. What are the mysteries behind Australia’s exclusive dominance of World Cricket?
Before going into the Australian Cricket infrastructure which breeds quality cricketers in numbers let us review the present team. Immediately after the World Cup win Captain Michael Clark and Wicket Keeper Brad Haddin retired from ODI cricket. Both were in prolific form yet they felt it the right time as they have wealth of talent of equally brilliant players to get into their shoes. There are so many fringe players whom if given opportunity will prove their worth at the highest level. Think of Mitchel Marsh and George Bailey who were in the World Cup Squad but could not play regularly as others were performing. Bailey played the opening match and led the team against England. He batted superbly yet he had to sit through the tournament giving way to captain Clark. Mitchel Mark could not play as more experienced Shane Watson and James Faulkner were preferred over him. Bailey and Marsh could play in any of the other team of the tournament. Immediately after the tournament Squads for the ashes and West Indies tour were announced. Believe it or not Glen Maxwell and James Faulkner did not find any room there. Australians selected horses for the courses and they have so many horses. Sky is the limit for this Australian team as most of the players are young and they are all so athletic.Michell Starc, Mitchel Johnson, Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins , Peter Siddle , James Pattinson. Ryan Harris are a long line of quality Australian pacers who can torment any batting team anywhere of the world .There are long lists of quality new ball bowler in Grade Cricket who can replace the top bowlers if required.
In limited over matches Aaron Flinch and David Warner are dynamic opening partners. If one fails in one match the other takes charge. If both fire opponents go into hiding .Both are very aggressive players against any type of attack. The new number three Steve Smith is perhaps one of the top three batsmen of the world. From very ordinary beginning Smith has developed into a classical batsman. Ashes will be his acid test in England. Smith has produced so many great innings throughout the Australian summer including the world cup in all format of the game. He is tipped as future Australian captain once Clark calls it a day in all formats. George Bailey will take over from Michael Clark in ODI the number four position. Clark is undisputedly one of the all-time great Australian batsmen. Even the innings he played in the final at MCG in the world cup was authoritative and stamped greatness all over. But for fitness concern he preferred to stay out of ODI and T20 and will now appear in Test matches only. Bailey may be a bit less spectacular but nevertheless a very handy performer. It is great that Clark has cleared the way for him. Otherwise it could be another Brad Hodge episode who had to stay under the shadow of Ricky Ponting.Shane Watson is a great all-rounder and has served Australia well in all formats of the game with sterling performances. He now faces stiff challenges from young Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner. Australia possesses such a rich depth of all-rounder talents that it appears like a never ending source. Glen Maxwell is an X-factor in Australian team who can blow out any opposition with his blistering batting. Australia prefers to preserve him for special purposes and plays him in limited over matches. Australia has several options for wicket keeping. Brad Haddin is preferred for his experience. Mathew Wade and Peter Nevil are other options. Mitchel Marsh is going to firm up his place in the team as all-rounder in not too distant future .He is a powerful batsman and good bowler. James Faulkner is a great bowler in limited over matches an ideal finisher. He got the man of the match award in World Cup yet he was not included in the West Indies and Ashes tour like Glen Maxwell. The only Weakness Australia has is in the spin bowling department. Australia made special Citizenship provision for Pakistani migrant Fawad Ahmed being a quality Leg Spinner as they were struggling to find one after Shane Warner left the scene . He is in the Ashes squad.
Australia keeps producing quality cricketers for all format of the game for their very organized domestic format. In every state there are about 20 first class teams which appear in grade cricket tournament throughout the season. Every team has four to five teams of quality players and usually two women’s team. The matches are usually played over the week ends. Every team has their own grounds, usually gymnasiums and indoor facilities. Matches are played on home and away basis. Every match is played with required seriousness. Australians give great importance of fitness and mental toughness. Australians are in general very fit nation and play fairly. State teams are formed picking top players from grade teams for Sheffield Shield interstate matches. The completion in the Sheffield Shield matches sometimes is even tougher than international matches. Many Australian state team players may be as good as International players of other teams but they cannot find a place in Australian team for competition. Australians may have over 100 players just a little below international level that if given opportunity can prove their worth. Now Australia has introduced KFC Big bash to tune their players for T20 World Cup. Many Australians play in English summer, in IPL, CPL and BPL Even if Australia is a dominating force in World Cricket they do not worship Cricketers like the people in Indian Subcontinent do. There were very little celebrations after winning the tournament even this time . The celebration was restricted to a public reception at Federation Sqaure on 30Th March. It was as if business as usual. Australians are into AFL now which draws huge crowd. It is believed that AFL was introduced to keep Australians fit for cricket during the winter but now cricket is played all over the year in different parts of the world. Few Bangladeshis coming to Australia for the world cup asked me to know about the Australian Secrets of producing quality Cricketers all the time. It is the system that works. Australia has a great system which catches talents in their teens and matures them through grades. By nature Australians are tough cookies. They learn to win fair and develops mental toughness with a never say die attitude. At national level there are scopes of research and development. Australian national team has analysts who always work on other players of other countries. They look into the strength and weaknesses. They provide useful tips to coaching and mentoring stuff with useful information all the time. It may be possible for other teams to win one or two matches against Australia but winning cricket matches against Australia regularly is next to impossible as other teams cannot match Australian Cricket industry.