Monday, June 8, 2009. A seismic shift was taking place in the world of Cricket. The Australian cricket team, which had straddled International cricket like a Colossus for the past decade, crashed out in the first round of the ICC World Twenty20. The old order was crumbling. For the first time since 1992, an Austrlian team failed to progress beyond the first round of a World Cup. No one wept…outside the boundaries of the land down under that is. Fans around the cricketing world rejoiced and celebrated, the mighty Australians were brought to their knees.
But was this Australian team really mighty? A large majority of the great players of the past decade, who had lent an aura of invincibility to the Australian team had retired; some did it on their own accord while others were forced to. Despite the the Australian selectors’ bellowing from the rooftops that they had already identified replacements for the great players, the fans, the media, and most importantly opposition players knew that the so called replacements were mere pretenders. Stuart Clark is McGrath’s replacement, they insisted. He bowls exactly like McGrath, comes close to the stumps, has a high arm action, and bowls wicket to wicket, they said in all seriousness. I’m sure they will win the World Poker Championship hands down, if only they cared to participate. Haddin was supposed to be Gilchrist’s replacement – he can hit the ball hard. Only if he can connect! Clarke was Mark Waugh’s replacement. I am dreading the day they call James Hopes, Steve Waugh’s replacement. He can bowl medium pacers and can bat lower down the order you see. Continue reading