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Amusing...but true...

"David Houghton wants Zimbabwe out of mainstream international cricket, and there's been plenty of talk of dumping Bangladesh as well. One should probably add Australia to that list: they are simply too good, and are ruining the game."
(Opening paragraph of a commentary by Andrew McLean on the Australian cricket homepage.)

When I was first introduced to cricket...no...rephrase...

When I first started enjoying cricket (watching rather than playing), I used to have trouble concentrating on school-work, to prioritise whenever there was a game on, especially one involving Australia. IIRC, that was because the very first match I saw was the Hobart test against Tasmania in the late 1990s, where Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer rescued Australia from a seemingly impossible position, turning it into a win - it was very very exciting cricket, and showed just how the game could swing in an instant. (Such fond memories of watching that test...although one of the comments by members of the Australian parliament really annoyed me - they wanted to finish up quickly because their cricket team were '10 runs from vistory'...John Howard, the current Australian PM, is a huge cricket fan after all...)

But in recent years, as the Australians have just kept winning and winning, often with huge margins (as in the recent one-day series white-wash across the Tasman), the game has become so much less interesting. I'd watch South Africa play if I could, but it wouldn't be the same anyway...the gap between the Australians and the rest of the world is widening, particularly in the one-day game. Whether McLean's suggestion (and he's not the only one who's suggested it) will allow the gap to narrow again is debatable...it might be just the opposite. But many of the teams around the world clearly have to regain their confidence.

Admittedly, every now and again, a team is able to research weaknesses and strengths of the Australian team so effectively that they deservedly bowl them over. India did just that a few years back (the last continental tour before the recent one where Gilly led the Aussies to victory), and in New Zealand's tour of Australia around the same time, the locals came off decidedly worse, even if the failure to close out the wins must have hunted the visitors. Tactical planning has, for at least a decade now, been the reasons for success trumpeted by the Australian team...so why doesn't the rest of the world work on their tactics a bit more? Someone, make cricket exciting for us again, please...and not by 20/20 games...just imagine what that does to a bowler's confidence...

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