Former Test captain Ricky Ponting has still got it with his trusty blade, but more so with his vision.
“It’s no surprise to me to see the two teams with the best culture and work ethic, (Tasmania and Queensland), are in the Sheffield Shield final,” said Ponting,
Those words should echo around the Delhi hotel where the Australians are staying, waiting for the fourth and final Test to start tomorrow
Culture and work ethic, both sadly lacking among the current baggy greens, are the major reasons why they are down three-zip to India, heading for a whitewash.
Skipper Michael Clarke, and coach Mickey Arthur.
It would never have happened on the Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor, or Ricky Ponting watch as skippers.
Any potential problems would have been nipped in the bud before they surfaced in public.
Same applies on the coaches watch with Bobby Simpson, or John Buchanan.
And none of those six had a team performance manager like Pat Howard sitting in the bigger chair.
At the moment the Australian team is over-governed, and it’s not working.
The National Selection Panel has played its part in the downfall of culture and work ethic as well by coming up with some hard-to-fathom sides.
Let’s look at the Sheffield Shield Player of the Year, which Ponting won with 18 votes.
In eight games for Tasmania, Ponting cracked an unbeaten 200 and two other tons, with four half-centuries to top the Australian batting averages with 87.50 from his 875 runs.
South Australian swing bowler Chadd Sayers earned 16 votes for his 48 wickets at a miserly 18.52 apiece.
Usman Khawaja and exciting newcomer Gurinder Sandhu earned 12 votes each to finish equal third.
Khawaja scored 438 runs at 39.81 for Queensland, but pace bowler Sandhu played only two games for NSW to capture 14 wickets at 11.85.
He had match figures of 7-88 on debut against the Vics, and NSW won by six wickets.
In his only other game against South Australia he took 7-78 and NSW won by eight wickets to miss the final by a single point.
Sandhu is only 19 and 279 days, but what a stunning start to his first-class cricket career.
Ashton Agar is even younger at 19 and 157 days, but he made the Sheffield Shield team of the year after only five games for Western Australia.
Agar rook 19 wickets at 28.52 and scored 229 runs batting nine at 32.71, including two match-winning half-centuries.
The combined Shield team is Chris Rogers (Vic), Phil Hughes (SA), Alex Doolan (Tasmania), Ponting, Callum Ferguson (SA), Moises Henriques (NSW), Brad Haddin (NSW), Agar, Luke Butterworth (Tasmania), Sayers, and Jackson Bird (Tasmania).
Amazingly, there’s no Queenslander in the side, yet they made the final. Which just goes to prove to any team can be hard to beat, without a whole lot of stars.
Just be consistent across the board, without setting the world on fire.
And that’s all cricket fans want from the Australia side.
So far it has been consistent alright.
That’s why they are down three-zip.