Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Australia bites the dust and hands over the "Ashes"

England have done it. They have regained the Ashes from the Aussies. Ask any Englishmen or an Oz and they will tell you that they value the "Ashes" more than their life. So, it was no surprise to see the English players in seventh heaven after inflicting a crushing defeat to Australia in the final cricket test at the Oval on Sunday the 23rd August 2009.

As expected, this series was also a close fought battle but failed to reach great heights qualitatively as the 2005 series did in England. Statistically, the Aussies did much better in batting and bowling- six of the top seven run- getters were the Aussies and the three top wicket takers were also from their team. But, as the English skipper Andrew Strauss said" when we played bad, we played very bad and when we played good, it was good enough". The crucial period of the games which counted was won by the English team and that turned the tide.

The Australian media and the critics are trying to find the scapegoats in the form of selectors and the captain Ricky Ponting. It would be better if they introspect instead and start building a new team for the future. The arrogance of Hayden, the solidity of Langer at the top of the order, the belligerence of Gilchrist, the nagging accuracy of Macgrath and the guile of Shane Warne were missing. Add to this the genius of Andrew Symonds who was sacked on disciplinary grounds, you are left with a team which is woefully short on experience. But there need be no panic but a clear plan and time frame for rebuilding a team.Cricket Australia will have to concentrate on this and one can see the resurrection of the Australian team.

The final test also saw the talismanic Flintoff bidding farewell to test cricket. Injuries have shortened his career but he was very much instrumental in England winning the Ashes this summer.
It was good to see the Series bringing in lots of crowds in all the five tests. It is high time the ICC starts thinking in grouping the strong teams together and the minnows in another group. For test cricket to survive it has to provide intense , tough and quality cricket. Otherwise, it will be a matter of time when test cricket would be a " has been".