Thursday, 26 January 2012
The Future of Australian Test Cricket - the batsmen.
Having seen the way he's batted over the last couple of days, it's hard to believe that Ricky Ponting is approaching the end of his career. Crunching drives down the ground, searing pull shots through mid-wicket, his majestic 221 at Adelaide, during which he became only the third man to manage 13 000 runs in tests, was a showcase of his endless flair, style and talent. With no plans of immediate retirement, we can enjoy watching the great man for at least a little longer, but what does the long-term future hold for Australian cricket?
Without wanting to take anything away from Warner's efforts however, in my opinion, a couple of good knocks, against a couple of average bowling attacks, don't define a player. My judgement as to his longevity will come when he has battled Steyn, Morkel and Philander of South Africa, played the Indians (or even the rejuvenated Pakistanis) on the sub-continent, and opened the batting in an Ashes test as Lord's against England. If he comes through these challenges unscathed, then Warner will definitely be one for the future. Judging by his record, Warner has both the attitude, and the aptitude to rise to the challenge and forge a successful career at the top of the order for the Aussies. We hope..
His more recent outings however, have not been as fruitful. His last 5 innings against the Indians have yielded, wait for it... a breath-taking 17 runs. Breath-taking because a man who has shown so much promise, has at times looked simply clueless. At the moment, he's the only Australian having any trouble against a lackluster Indian attack. Warner, Clarke, Ponting and Mr. Cricket all have tons (or doubles) in this series, Cowan has two fifties, whereas Marsh has nothing. He's in serious trouble. With another innings victory looming for the Aussies, a chance for him to knuckle down and play a real innings looks slim. Indeed, he would be very lucky to have earned a place on the plane to the West Indies later this year based on his recent performances. Perhaps a short sabbatical from the international scene would serve him well - a chance to collect his thoughts, work on his game, and aliment his hunger to wear the Baggy Green for his country. It worked for Ponting and Clarke, it may just work for him...