The Allan Border Medal is a celebration of Australian cricket and individual performances. Yet, last night’s ceremony re-enforced Australia’s miserable state. Shane Watson claimed back to back Allan Border Medals. He is now justifiably Australia’s best and most valuable player. Watson steadies the ship at the top of the order and provides much needed relief for Siddle and co with his probing cutters. Perhaps, when the conditions suit, he is Australia’s best bowler.
Does Watson’s two Border Medals suggest his individual brilliance or his team’s awful woes? I shall lean more to the latter. In two seasons of cricket, Watson has registered two Test centuries. Five years ago this kind of statistic would encourage the selectors to second guess you. Yes, Watson has scored several commanding half centuries when his fellow men have barely surpassed 20. But in a proud history of Australian cricket, Australia have always been blessed with at least one player who could rightly stand tall with any greats of that time. Even in the embarrasing 80’s, Border stood as the sole pillar of Australian cricket. Can we really elevate Watson to the same superior level to that of a Kevin Pietersen or Sachin Tendulkar. Over the last 15 years, Ricky Ponting has been Australia’s masterful and elegant batsman (For me, Ponting is only second to Brian Lara as the greatest batsman I have seen) but his current form suggests his need for a retirement home. This is not an attack on Watson (nor Punta mind you) but rather an attack on the current depth of Australian cricket.
For now, we may just have to step aside from Australian cricketing tradition and be content in appreciating a fine all-round cricketer whose shortcoming is his inability to grab a Test match by the scruff of the neck.