When we talk about limited overs cricket and discuss about the most successful teams, there is only one team that remains on the top of the hill and that is Team Australia. Nobody has lifted the prestigious ICC Cricket World Cup more than the men in yellow and there is a reason why they stand tall above all others. They don’t get on the cricket field to demonstrate mercy, to gain respect or to hear good things about them; they come out only to win a cricket match. They are not concerned about the opposition or what people think is right or wrong, they go out and play how they know best, and that is good hard cricket. And the year 2015 has been no different for the young Australian team.
After the 2011 World Cup, The world questioned if Australia’s ascendance over world cricket is finally coming to an end after a string of veterans decided to hang up their boots. Suddenly the impenetrable were left vulnerable and were getting usurped by lesser teams. But indomitable attitude and tireless assiduousness brought them back to the top and they were crowned as world champions again in 2015.
But the success story is a collaboration of copious amount of hard work and deft introspection that was carried out by cricket Australia. It’s not an over-night step but a long thought scrupulous effort that yields the result in the present day. Right from the selection committee to the captain to the support staff, all have coalesced together to make Australian cricket attain parity to its previously held stature. And what makes 2015 more special is that this time they didn’t have the luxury of superstars who could win them games on their own, but it has been a contribution from everybody involved, to understand their roles about what they are required to do for the team and prove that they deserved to be a part of the Australian dressing room.
The bigger share of the Australian success over the past year certainly should be conferred to the players involved. They were a bunch of young prodigies who have turned out to be superstars for their country. Starting from the skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain and opener David Warner to the lethal bowling attack, the Australian Team has the most balanced team in the present day cricket.
Here is a little in depth diagnosis of the entire line up and the people who selected them to do the job:
TOP ORDER: David Warner and Aaron Finch certainly get together to be one of the most formidable opening partnerships in the present day limited overs cricket. They are capable of tearing apart any bowling attack, anywhere in the world, but at the same time are smart enough to ward off a decent opening spell. They both complement each other and play along each other’s strengths, look for boundary balls and are keen to rotate the strike. And the reason they have the licence to go after the bowling is because of the backup they are provided by the skipper at number 3. Steve Smith has had a year that cricketers dream of; his bat has only made it more and more justified about why he is the best man in the team. He has almost looked impenetrable with the plethora of runs under his belt and is revered both by the team mates and the opposition.
MIDDLE ORDER: There are no big names in The Australian middle order that we are used to, but the likes of Bailey, Maxwell, Wade, Faulkner and Mitchell Marsh have made sure they allay any concerns about the vulnerability in the middle. They are not the ones who are very eye catching or technically sound. But all they do is keep it simple and hit the ball hard. Most of them are the gifts of T20 format and they don’t try to change their style much in the 50 over format. They look out for each other and make sure they can get those extra 20-25 runs for the squad. They back themselves to play out those crucial middle overs, keep the scoreboard ticking and send the odd ball into the stands. This keeps the pressure on the opposition and make sure a wicket loss doesn’t change the momentum and this makes them very very dangerous.
PACE ATTACK: It almost feels like that Australians seem to enjoy an incessant production line of lethal fast bowlers who make the worst of the pitches respond to their pace and swing. The likes of Johnson (retired now), Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood, and Counter-Nile blended with the variety of Faulkner and Mitch Marsh makes the bowling attack complete and very menacing. But they don’t send lofty goals of knocking the stump every time, they work the batsman out. On an ideal day the variety of Faulkner is mixed with brute pace of Starc and dipped in tight line and length of Hazlewood which results in a very bitter pill for any batsman. The problem with so many fast bowlers is as a captain you should know which one of them to use in which situation and how to share their workload so that you keep them fit. And that’s where Steve Smith along with Darren Lehmann seems to have found the trick of using the right bowler on the right occasion.
ROD MARSH AND THE SELECTION COMMITTEE: The Australian selection committee has done a wonderful job behind the curtains. The most admirable feature about the selection committee is that they do not consider themselves as a sacrosanct group and impose the teams on the captain. Instead they get on the ground, talk to the captain and coach about how they want the team to look like, keep an eye on the current bunch and the domestic circuit and select accordingly. They provide talent, a rope long enough to wade through the dip in form but at the same time they do not carry appendages. They have a strong petulance for negativity in any form and make sure players work with a positive frame of mind. These are simple, small things but collaborate to be a major factor on the overall impact of the game and that’s where rod marsh and the coaching staff along with the players seems to have yoked positively.