As the dust settles on the Ashes, it seems an apt time to reflect upon the current status of those that don the Baggy Green.
As predicted by many, the series turned out to be another unsuccessful attempt by the Aussies to reclaim the fabled urn. With only about three months to go before the battle resumes, there is little time to analyse the culture surrounding Australian cricket, which consists nothing but a group of maligned individuals.
For a team that not so long ago asserted their dominance with an air of arrogant panache, the 3-0 defeat only reflects the mistiming that has afflicted Australian cricket in the recent past.
In the present scenario, a question has arisen on what the future holds for Australian cricket.
A hint of what the immediate future holds has been shown in the announcement of the ODI squad. Seasoned campaigners have been brought in rather than relying on just young talent. Experienced players such as George Bailey, Adam Voges and Shaun Marsh have been called upon to provide stability in the batting order.
Such has been the state of affairs this summer, it is not entirely implausible to picture all three of these batsmen facing up in the first Test against England at The Gabba – provided they have a strong performance here first.
It’s not that Australia has been swept aside by the English completely. Australians had their moments in the series, and the five Tests were hardly one sided affairs. However, the only reason England managed to triumph over Australia was through a handful of experienced and combat toughened bowlers stepping up when they needed to.
One of Australia’s problems in this series has been their lack of ability to be defensive. Batsmen have failed to build an innings and tough it out when the bowlers have been on top. Leaving that aside, the bowling and the fielding department have been up to the task. The performances by the likes of Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris have been a big positive
Still, it is an atrocious crush, and it will come under censure from the fans down under. But the Australians must begin to look beyond their present England summer and think about how they can win the thing back when it returns to their coast – far sooner than tradition should allow – in just under 4 months’ time.
They are somewhat privileged, of course, in that they have the best perceivable set-up from a losing perspective. The shortest time possible to dwell on their disappointments and an instant chance to make reparation and claim back the coveted urn. They won’t have to go through the burden of two years of hearing critics bashing and the English gloating, but just a matter of a few months before the chance for an immediate reprieve, with the wounds still fresh to fuel their energies and focus.
Tough decisions await between now and November. But they need to take place. Conditions will be a lot more preferable back in Australia for the hosts, but that won’t count for very much against this well drilled and experienced England team.