Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Australia are no more roaring - just crouching

What, you may ask, is happening to the world leaders?

Hayden scores 181 and yet ends up on the losing side. The world's top team is whitewashed in a 3 match series, once scoring too less and twice too much. And this is hardly all.

A little thumb-rule analysis on the Australian team that lost 3-nil to NZ, however, should stop any ringing alarm bells. Symonds, Lee, Gilchrist, Ponting and Michael Clarke are missing from this Oz side. Now if we recall Ian Chappell's criterion for a winning team as Zainub points out here, each big team should have six players of significant impact: "two world class batsmen, one all rounder, one batting wicket keeper and two top notch bowlers".

The team touring New Zealand had its two world class batsmen and one top-notch bowler in Hussey, Hayden and Bracken. But as on date Watson, Haddin and Tait - or for that matter even the great McGrath - are not substitute enough for Symonds (all rounder), Gilchrist (batting wicket keeper) and dead-Lee (the other strike bowler).

I would not write off Australia from a certain semi final berth based on this evidence. If anything, this 'ragged' look ahead of the tourney suits them just fine as some teams may just happen to underestimate their resilience and end up relaxing at a crucial passage of play. We all know what that results in, don't we?

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