Once considered invincible, the Australian cricket team no longer dominates world cricket as it used to in the past decade or so. After some major stalwarts retired from the game, they have not been able to come up with great performances. CJ Ashim spoke to Aakash Chopra about the Australian team.
The Australian team is on the decline - there is no denying the fact. Aakash Chopra, who played against the might Aussies, when they were at their peak says, “There was a huge void, after Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, G. Mc Grath, D. Martyn. M. Hayden, etc., left the team.” Though, other set of players such as Hauritz, M. Johnson, Haddin came into the Australian team, but they could not replicate what their senior pros had done. “These great players could not be replaced,” adds Chopra.
But Aakash believes that the team has coped very well with such stalwarts absent from the game. He does not believe that the team has completely disintegrated. How can Indians forget about the drubbing that they received at the hands of the Australian team when India
toured last? The Indians were completely outplayed, so we cannot say that the team is looking down the barrel. But, we can definitely say that the Australians are no longer the team that used to instill fear in their opponents mind.
It has not been long since the captain's arm band has been taken over by Michael Clarke and the coaching job by Mickey Arthur. Have they done justice to the job that has been entrusted upon them? It is not fair, if we judge them so quickly. One has to remember that the current Australian team does not possess great players. They have players such as M. Hussey and Clarke who have established themselves as a good cricketer. We cannot recollect many names from the present Australian team, but there are players in their line up who has shown some promise, such as Cummins and Pattinson, but they need to be consistent.
Aakash takes M. Clarke and Mickey Arthur side and says, “I have been impressed with Clarke.” He also considers it is too early to pass judgments about them. 'It will take time,” adds Chopra. One has to give time to the captain and the coach to produce better results. But the problem with modern cricket administrators is that they do not give much time to coaches and throw them out, if they are not producing good results. They want instant results.
One look at the ICC rankings brings to the limelight that the Australians are the highest ranked team for the ICC ODI championhsip. In the Test Championship, they are ranked third, which suggest that the team is doing fairly good at the international level. It is the expectations that the world has from Australia. They have raised the bar for their performances. But Chopra says, “There is no dominant team in world cricket at present.”