Giants Prove Age Is Merely A Number
By Orin Davidson
Australia has dominated world cricket for so long it is difficult
fathoming them failing in any of the major upcoming ICC competitions
despite having a player core group, that could be considered Ancient
by world standards.
Warne says at 37 years, he is bowling as better as any other time
in his career. Justin Langer wants the world to know he is a rejuvenated
35-year-old player even after a series of hits to the head almost
put an end to his career the last time Australia played Test cricket
Australia’s most successful fast bowler ever Glen McGrath is
one year older and is raring to resume his career without any thought
Three months of rest has recharged Adam Gilchrist’s 34-year-old
body to the extent he has long started training, although given extra
rest from the Tri Nation series.
Matthew Hayden is also a key man in Australia’s dominance in
the last 10 teams and like his teammates, he seems excited to continue
an outstanding career long after the World Cup next year at 34.
And don’t expect Stuart McGill to think anyway different as
although he is also well into his mid 30’s, the leg spinner
still has an intense hunger to compete as he feels starved by the
Australian selectors for not getting as much playing time as Warne
in national colors.
Maybe it’s due to Steve Waugh’s success and desire to
continue playing when he was pushed out at 39 years of age, that kept
the Old Boys Club alive in the baggy green team.
These days the Aussie selectors don’t seem to have a problem
keeping their star players whether they’re 25 or 35, but by
this time next year everyone will know for sure whether age can catch
up with the Australians or nor.
The Aussies are about to come off a well deserved three-month break
from competition after a marathon 18-month playing period and as is
obvious no major changes are being made to the squad. It means the
old brigade will continue carrying the fight in the Tri Nation Cup,
Champions Trophy, Ashes and 2007 World Cup between now and next year.
Regardless of the efficiency of players, any long break from competition
will affect their form on return, and depending on their results from
the above mentioned competitions, the world will know whether Australia’s
selectors will be prompted to wield the axe or not.
From this distance, all the team’s accomplishments from 1995
to now, are unlikely to come crashing down any time soon.
are a very proud people and if a single Ashes Test loss, is still
making them see red, one could imagine what another failure at the
Champions Trophy, or an unsuccessful World Cup defense, or worst yet
- a second straight Ashes defeat, would do to the minds of their selectors.
But unless West Indies spring major surprises in India and at home,
Australia are well on course to maintaining their supremacy in the
It may sound absurd, but more than any other team, West Indies could
well be the main threat to Australia wining the Champions Trophy and
the World Cup.
Not many fans will be betting on the disorganized West Indies Cricket
a team currently ranked number seven in the world, to head all others
in the race to dent Australia’s limited overs supremacy.
With Sri Lanka demolishing every opponent in sight currently and South
Africa setting a world record in edging Australia the last time they
clashed in the shorter version of the game, not many would give West
Indies a sniff of a chance to reclaim past glories with this unit.
But it is pertinent to all who have not seen the Caribbean side in
action recently, they are on the rise out of the doldrums. Ask India,
the team recently ensconced up high at number two, who were humbled
4-1 these last few months.
In their current state, West Indies could spring the goods at any
given time like they did in winning the last Champions Trophy two
They are an unpredictable side and the performance against India suggests
they are set to maintain a measure of consistency, at least in the
Australia would do well to watch their backs in these two competitions
especially from the
men in maroon. They did not win two World Cups for nothing and although
the last triumph occurred six tournaments ago, they will be hosts
next year and everyone knows what home advantage can do.
As for the Ashes Australia has nothing to fear from England at year’s
end, because the latter team is a bits and pieces squad which is ripe
for a thumping Down Under. No one should forget what Australia did
to the World XI immediately after the England
Ashes shock loss. It was as comprehensive a beating as ever meted
out to the likes of Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib
Akhtar and company playing together, in the three one-dayers and single
Even if England were fortunate enough to have the identical side that
won the two Tests and drew the other last summer that reclaimed them
the Ashes after 36 years last year, they cannot in any shape or form
re-produce that result.
On the whole though, it is refreshing Australia is not as programmed
as three years ago, to rid the team of those mid 30s and over players.
Once good enough, players of Warne’s and McGrath’s special
qualities should be allowed to continue pleasuring the fans and maintain
their love affair with the sport.
Brian Lara is now 37 years old but less than a year ago he claimed
the world Test aggregate batting record and only three years before,
became the first man to notch 400 Test runs in one innings.
And one does to have to be a tennis fan to be jollified by Andre Agassi’s
momentous run currently in the last tournament of his career. At 36
years he made 21-year-old Marcus Baghdatis grovel like the older man
Thursday night at the U.S. Open.
It is clear that those superstars like Agassi and Lara who keep pushing
the envelope past normal limits prove that desire and commitment are
the keys to maintaining success for the 30 plus club.
And don’t forget Warne who at three years short of his 40th
birthday can still nab 40-wicket Test series hauls and play County
cricket at the same time.
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