Ian Baker - England can dominate for a decade
30 Jun 2010 - 14:30:21
Much has been made of England's resurgence under Andy Flower and their ability to perform in all three forms of the games. Not as much has been written about just how poor their biggest rivals have been of late.
Australia's atrocious year has contributed towards England regaining the Ashes, winning the World Twenty20 and finally this current ODI series.
Quite simply it is the worst Australian cricket team that have played the game in the last 20 years.
Shane Watson or Matthew Hayden? Tim Paine or Adam Gilchrist? Nathan Hauritz or Shane Warne? James Hopes or Glenn McGrath?
There is just no longer that fear factor, aura or invincibility about the baggy green men.
Even Ricky Ponting is suffering. He has failed to manage a half century in this current series - nor looked likely to. Life suddenly becomes less easy when your team fails to perform and Sunday's performance at Old Trafford - with the bat at least - was as far away from an Australian side that I have ever seen.
There was little ruthlessness about their batting even at 75-0 in the 14th over. It was as if the were scared to take on England's bowlers.
And their attempts to get 250+ were not befitting of Australian sides that have come before them.
I was in particular shock when Michael Clarke, vice-captain no less, played a daft shot off Graeme Swann with his side struggling. Sub fielder Ian Bell took an easy catch inside the boundary rope.
Clearly replacing the great Australian players of the last 20 years is no easy task but there must be plenty of worries over what happens when Ponting finally decides to hang up his bat after years of dominating bowling attacks.
This is all good news for opposing teams and cricket at internationally could well be very close over the next few years.
A different form of the game it may be, but England surely cannot wait for the chance to retain the Ashes down under during the winter. They know there is absolutely nothing to fear and they have a major hold over their bitter enemies.
Major changes may well be necessary in Australian cricket but finally they have been brought down to their knees.
Australia's dominance in the 90s and noughties is over and a slump - just like West Indies noughties form may just be around the corner.