The Ashes series is about to commence, and there is no doubt that if England are to be extremely competitive, their batsman will need to score runs against one of the best bowling attacks in the world.
I’m well on the way to 40 now, so I’ve seen the Australian cricket team in various phases.
I have seen them struggle through the 80s and early 90s, then achieve phenomenal success and now drift into not only mediocrity, but also become completely devoid of anything close to integrity.
If ever a sport was ruled by politics, then it’s the one I used to care deeply about: cricket.
It may as well be a nightclub that you have to get your name on the list to just get through the door. Look at the past with the likes of Dean Jones and Tim Zoehrer. Then there’s the forced retirements, albeit some I believe are justified.
But even in those dark times, there were still positives. A captain that evoked the spirit of everything Australian: the one and only Allan Border. Up and comers, like Steve Waugh, who was always destined for greatness.
Not to mention a World Cup.
However, what has transpired over the last few years is nothing short of pathetic and has left even the most die-hard fans, both sad and disillusioned.
I’m not talking about the lack of results by the Test team, because everyone understands there are peaks and troughs. But the manner in which the whole establishment called Cricket Australia has decimated any progress the team could be making.
If one action sums it all up, then it has to be Simon Katich not receiving a cricket contract (and subsequently, retiring) the year after being the most consistent batsman in the team.
And you only have to look at who was a big reason for that taking place, Michael Clarke.
The fact that he is now our captain must make you shake your head because common sense went out door and has never been seen again.
Sure, Clarke is a magnificent batsman and in the form of his life, but how’s his captaincy during the shemozzle that is our Test team.
The selectors plucked George Bailey from obscurity to be our One Day captain…come again?
I know that I’m talking about Test cricket here, but such a strange decision epitomises everything wrong with Australian cricket.
Rotational policies are never good for the stability of a sporting team, let alone Test cricket. There has been absolutely no forward-thinking in picking players for the long-term rather than short-term glory.
Think the West Indies and Sri Lankan home series in the last two years.
With the regards to the whole handling of the current Indian tour, I really don’t think the selectors were trying at all.
They did this by picking a ridiculous squad to begin with and then delving deeper into misery rather than fixing the problems.
Never mind the lack of the talent in the current squad, what about common sense?
Since when it is acceptable to play the wicketkeeper as a specialist number six batsman? Then playing two all-rounders and dropping the spinner, in India?
This latest fiasco in dropping four players is just plain laughable but disturbing.
Do the selectors really think we can compete with England in the back-to-back Ashes series later this year with the mess that’s going on in India right now?
I’m also sick of hearing people make excuses that retirements of exceptional players is a major factor. You have to get on with it, Cricket Australia.
The talent is there in the Sheffield Shield ranks, so you just have to play the percentages and pick the right players. I was at the WACA in 1987 when Chris Broad and Bill Athey made a huge opening stand during a series in which we got drubbed.
To think, 26 years later, I’d rather endure the pain of that day many times over than witness the current Test team make a mockery of the game under the tutelage of a scandalous governing body.