New Delhi: Losing two big series, first against India and now South Africa, is not what Australia are associated with. The galaxy of cricket experts has come down heavily on the champions and world is rejoicing in their so-called plunge. But hold on! Any body who watched Sydney Test can tell that the Australians may be down but definitely not out.
South Africa won back-to-back two Tests to clinch their maiden series against the Kangaroos. In the Sydney Test, with their throne at stake, Australia fought like the way they are known to. With the wicket of Dale Steyn, injured captain Graeme Smith came on to bat and took the game on the verge of an invincible draw when the Aussies, just a wicket from victory, struck with Johnson and the series finished 2-1. But most importantly, Australia retained their number one position.
Yes, South Africa and India pose a serious threat to their number one position and they are no more the dominating force, but don't forget winners don't lie down for long. Agreed they are not on top of their game but then every team goes through this lean phase.
Criticizing Australia for their poor show takes away the sheen from the victories of the Proteas or for that matter India. The two teams have often challenged Aussies' authority but at the same time they looked up to them for their winning ways if not their conduct.
Australia set the benchmark, brought professionalism and the winning attitude that could easily be misunderstood for over-confidence and arrogance. Fans and followers unanimously agree that the Aussies are poor losers and arrogant winners. But that's what makes their cricket distinctive. It's exactly the reason why even the best of players want to better themselves against them and each win holds immense significance.
Yes, Australia are struggling and need a shake-up. Perhaps Ricky Ponting should pass the baton to Michael Clarke and enjoy his batting like there's no tomorrow. They have been at the top for a reasonable period to know what it takes to be there. With South Africa tour followed by The Ashes, I expect the Kangaroos to pounce like a tiger and salvage their injured pride.