I’m not going to defend the performances against the West Indies.
To say that we’ve been poor is only to be honest. We failed to make 145, we capitulated in the face of 196, we again failed to make a score in the 140s, this time 141.
There is a place for honesty here, and by our own standards and the standards of the team we put out there – featuring the best hits of last year’s BBL and some of our front-line bowlers in search of form – we have been disappointing.
But let’s get real for a second or two.
The West Indies are only really a player away from their best XI, and it’s arguable that T20 is their best format. Their results of late have not been as good as might be expected, but they’re receiving the benefits of their T20 journeymen coming back into the side at just the right time.
The sport was made for Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard. This is not something that anyone’s really saying: there seems to be a nigh continuous overemphasis on Australia losing as opposed to their opposition winning. It happened against India, and it’s happening again right now.
Secondly, take a good hard look at Australia’s XI for each of the T20’s so far. Tell me that you think they even remotely resemble our best XI.
Our best team features, in no particular order, David Warner, Steven Smith, Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell. Throw in Marnus Labuschagne for good measure. He’s had a decent last few years, and has shown an ability for T20 recently.
Are people truly telling me that they think we would not be performing better if we had some to all of these players in the squad right now?
Now, onto the reason I bring this up.
I get kind of annoyed when I see Australian authors catastrophising about their sports, or at least criticising in the wrong direction.
There is something to critique here: the fact that we clearly aren’t taking this T20 series seriously, using it as a way to find form in some of our players without it and potentially unearthing a player or two.
But that isn’t something that can be thrown at the results themselves, so it’s overlooked in yet another round of ‘let’s kick Australia for losing!’
There is a problem within our culture that’s only really come out fairly recently, inside the last ten or so years. It could be a result of the internet age, a closer culture to America and the rest of the world, or it could simply be the result of winning the cricket for so long due to the constellation of all-time greats we had in there for about ten or so years.
What it is seems to be is an expectation, a promise that if not delivered upon by the end of a match or a series, that has people not congratulating a worthy opponent on their victory or lamenting the loss but looking inwards for someone to blame. Call it the expectation of and entitlement to victory, if you like.
The problem I have with this is that it genuinely prevents you from examining why you lost or how it happened. That’s the part I find interesting, personally. You become so focussed on the ‘what’ that everything else blurs into the background.
So, fellow Roarers, you can kick the team if you feel you need to, but let’s be realistic. The reasons why we’ve lost this series are staring you right in the face, and there’s not a massive amount to be worried about.
What would be worth worrying about is if we’d lost this with a full-strength side. Then, there’d be cause for alarm.