Sunday, 21 December 2008

'There's no way...'

'...they're the dominant side they used to be.' -- Ian Chappell on the current Australian team.

Chappell's CricInfo podcast is worth a listen, not so much because he tells us useful stuff about the 1st Test in Perth, but because of what he tells us about the Australian psyche.

On three occasions in a five-minute podcast he implies that somehow the South Africans have a sense of moral inferiority to the Australians. He also tells us that the problem with the Australian team is in the bowling. Let's connect the dots here.

As I said a couple of times on the Old Blog, Australia during the McGrath-Warne years had a pair of bowlers who are among the best in the history of cricket. Providence never deals the cards fairly, so cricket fans can't complain about that. However, particularly during the late Waugh years, Australian cricket seemed to lose sight of how lucky they'd been. There was a disgraceful sense of entitlement in their superiority -- a moral entitlement. There seemed to be a feeling that they were better because Australian cricketers had innately better characters, not because they had two all-time-great bowlers working with an excellent batting order. Worse still, other countries and other captains fell for this, most notably in my experience Nasser Hussein.

I'm not counting the Ockers out in this series. Graeme Smith should be very careful about ensuring his team prepare mentally for the next match as if it were the first in a two-Test series, with all to play for. But, really, anything that helps the Australians to remember that, as good as they are, they aren't morally better than all the other ICC Test cricket sides, is all right by me.

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