Nick Teale - The dawn of a new Ashes era
02 Jan 2011 - 17:18:28
It took just four tests for England to retain the Ashes but for Andrew Strauss' team to completely assert their dominance on Australia they must now win the series.
If they do, it could be the start of a new era of Ashes cricket. A second consecutive series win over the old enemy may prove to be the beginning of a period in which England's young and hungry side gain continued revenge for the two decades just passed.
The likes of Trott, Pietersen, Anderson and Finn have to ability to torment Australia for years to come and in Alastair Cook England have a young, gifted batsman with captaincy potential.
The Aussies, however, seem unable to find players who are able to match, never mind beat, the talent at England's disposal. Andy Flower has done a tremendous job and this young side looks capable of going on to even greater things in world cricket.
It’s hard to know exactly why Australia can't find players of a suitable standard to wear the Baggy Green. Did they neglect their youth development when Langer, Warne, McGrath et al were claiming every title there is? Are expectations too high and players now feel the pressure weighs far more heavily on their shoulders than it should? Or is Ricky Ponting the problem?
I very much doubt the captaincy of such a strong leader and formidable batsman is the problem, though admittedly he hasn't troubled England this time round. However, many Down Under want him stripped of the captaincy and due to a broken finger he won't be playing the fifth test of this series.
The chance to lead the side has been handed to Michael Clarke, much to the disappointment of many Australians. I believe he should be given a fair crack and couldn't think of a better candidate in the current side.
Finally, some people say that English football fans are fickle but what about the Australian cricket supporters? Packing out the MCG on Boxing Day was impressive but where was everybody the following day? It's been a trend this series - as soon as England start to get on top, the home following disappears.
Instead of turning up to back their team as the Barmy Army have done through thick and thin, the home fans decide to stay at home and watch on TV. In England Ashes tests sell out months in advance. There won't be a single empty seat when England try and retain the Ashes in 2013.