Opinion: Why Australia could dominate world cricket again
The Australian cricket team was a dominant force in international cricket for many years. There was a time when it was considered impossible to beat the Aussies in any format or conditions. They have five World Cups to prove their dominance, out of which 3 of them were won consecutively.
Coupled with their aggressive behavior on the field, the Australian cricket team created a brand for themselves on the international level. They have seen the some of the best players in Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist who have invariably performed well against any team they have played.
Winning a match against the Australian Cricket team was considered a major achievement for many teams in the past.
Cut to the present, the Kangaroos are in a tricky phase of their cricketing history. They have failed to replace legends such as Matthew Hayden, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist, which has affected them very badly.
Players like Michael Clarke and Shane Watson retired after the previous World Cup, which has created a big hole in the team. Most importantly, their off-field and on-field behavior has come under severe criticism. Be it their brawls in the pub or the sand-paper scandal, these controversies have had a profound impact on the Australian team.
In recent times, they have been very poor in the tournaments against South Africa and Pakistan. The absence of Steve Smith and David Warner in their batting line-up has led to poor batting performances by the Aussies.
Wicketkeeping has been an issue as Tim Paine and Mathew Wade have not been able to reach to the levels of their predecessors. In the past, the Australian team boasted of some great all-rounders such as Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds.
However, Mitchell Marsh and Ben Cutting have failed to contribute to their team in the same vein. Glenn Maxwell has been very inconsistent which is affecting the balance of the team. Though Nathan Lyon has led the spin-bowling department well in the longer format, the likes of Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar have not been able to amply support him.
Fast Bowling has been the strength of the Aussies in the past, but the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Nathan Coulter-Nile have been not-so-effective this year. The rotation policy and the injury troubles have not helped them too.
All these factors have reduced their chances drastically in the World Cup which is scheduled next year. However, Australia has chances of returning to their prime in the future.
With the one-year bans which have been given to Steve Smith and David Warner, the Australian Cricket Board has given a strong message to the players that bad behavior will not be tolerated in the team. This has had an effect on the players as they have been far from controversies in recent tournaments.
The batting duo of Warner and Smith will return next year which will help the Aussies to rethink their strategy and try to build their team around these talented players. The captaincy and opening issues will also be solved.
Australia has one of the best domestic competitions and it has given them many good players on a consistent basis. With the team struggling, the ACB will now have specific areas of concern which they can resolve by giving more opportunities to youngsters.
Aussies have failed to replace the legends of the past. This has led to the rise of young players in the team which would help them in the long run. With fewer retirements expected in the next two years, the Aussie team can build a mix of experience and youth.
Australia can become a formidable force on the international level again due to these factors and they could be a dark-horse in the World Cup next year too.