During the late 90s and for most of the previous decade the Australian team was the perfect embodiment of “neighbor’s envy, owner’s pride”. They boasted an attack comprising Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Jason Gillespie with support coming in the form of the Queensland duo of Michael Kasprowicz and Andy Bichel. They had a batting line up of the Waugh brothers, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer (in tests), Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symmonds, Darren Lehmann and, last but by no means imaginable the least, Adam Gilchrist. Like the West Indies team of 1970s and 80s all they had to do to win was just turn up and play it seemed. However, those halcyon days are behind them.
What is left of the Australian team now is a shadow of the past. However, it is unfair to compare a team to its predecessors without giving them the same amount of time to perform. Coming back to the Champions Trophy 2013, which is also going to be the last ever edition of the tournament there will be plenty of motivation for Australia to retain the trophy and be known as the last champion. Now let’s take a look at the team selected for the championship:
Michael Clarke, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Shane Watson, George Bailey, Xavier Doherty, Phillip Hughes, Clint McKay, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Voges and David Warner.
The Australian selectors have clearly decided that multi dimensional cricketers are the way to go in the shorter format and this is reflected in the number of allrounders in the team. The bowling looks a tad green and the team could have benefited from the experience of the test pacemen Siddle, Harris, Pattinson and Hilfenhaus. However, they have decided to keep them fit for the Ashes that will be played pretty close to the Champions Trophy. Starc, Johnson and McKay will be expected to bear the brunt of the attack with McKay the designated leader in the shorter formats.
The batting looks solid with players like Clarke, Bailey, Voges set to complement the strokemakers Warner, Hughes, Watson and Marsh. The latter two are very crucial to Australia’s chances in the tournament – if they are fit and able to bowl a lot of Clarke’s headaches regarding finding the perfect team balance will be solved.
All in all the team looks balanced enough but its chances of winning the tournament do not look that bright. However, I would be happy to be proven wrong.
For more information about Champions Trophy, you may refer to the following: