The English cricket team can all but shut the books on the outcome of the series with just one dominant morning session tomorrow morning on a fast WACCA pitch. As the series currently stands, the Australians are a confused and uninspired lot, while the English are a focussed and ambitious unit who have failed to show chinks in their armour. Perhaps, the first let down for Strauss’ men was the recent tour match against Victoria. The Victorian swing bowler, Clint Mckay, showed the Australian “legion” of bowlers how to take a wicket against England. It seems by the summer’s end, Australia would have churned through more bowlers than Warney would have girls numbers tucked away in his back pocket. Like all sides, struggling or not, Australian enthusiasm will be present early, but if the English can hold firm in the first session then Australian heads will begin to drop.
Past Australian greats are pleading for stability in the Australian team, but the selectors have dug their own spiralling hole. At the start of 2010, the selectors had an opportunity on the New Zealand tour to blood talented youth or able combatants. Instead, they seeked to blindly support the inept Marcus North in the middle order, the wayward and mentally-fragile Mitchell Johnson, and even Mike Hussey, who struggled to score any meaningful runs for nearly two years. However, the selectors will rightly feel justified for backing Hussey for an extended period of time with his recent lone-hand for Australia. But the question has to be asked: How long is too long? Peter Siddle storms into the National side and forges six wickets and a hatrick. Two weeks later, it seems he won’t appear in the Perth Test.
The Perth Test will witness more unsettling changes to the Aussie side. But these changes must be made. These changes are extremely overdue yet sadly untimely as Australia seek to level the series. Australia don’t enjoy the elite depth of talent as it did in the 90’s and early 00’s. A new kind of innovative thinking and management must enter the selectors’ minds as they attempt to rebuild a broken but proud cricket nation.
The strategy: short term pain in exchange for sustained long-term success.