No fuss, just wins: This Aussie men’s cricket team has quietly become one of the game’s greatest
In general, it seems things are going very well for Australian cricket, even if they’re coming off a shock loss to the Windies in Brisbane.
While Pat Cummins’ decision to declare at 9/289 – still 22 runs behind – has been widely criticised, his side still picked up a wicket with a newish ball and let’s be honest, Josh Hazlewood might reasonably be expected to do better bowling with a brand new pink ball under the Gabba lights than facing a fired up Shamar Joseph. We saw how that turned out…
Regardless, the point here isn’t whether it was the right call, but just how rare such an occurrence is. It’s extremely hard to fault this current Australian team.
Since 2021 Australia’s men have been world champions in all three formats. No other country in history has been world champion in all three formats.
In that time there have been four world champions crowned; the other was England in the 2022 T20 World Cup. Despite the disappointment and criticism that came with the failure on home soil, let’s be honest, three wins and one loss wasn’t that bad an effort in hindsight.
The way we look at T20 cricket in Australia is actually quite archaic, and has been ever since the IPL transformed the way cricket is consumed. Maybe Australia’s win at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE was too easily forgotten. Moves like using Steve Smith in a floating role with the bat and wheeling out the same pace attack we see in Tests are very much not the norm, but they made it work.
The ODI World Cup in India was even more incredible. A host nation on a rampage, in favourable conditions with far more than a billion people behind them and a love for ODI cricket that sadly seems to have disappeared in Australia, the cause was seemingly lost. It was the same old dated approach to batting, this time with dual anchor roles for Smith and Marnus Labuschagne and the same old pace attack, which led to the same old result: Australia were world champions.
Of course, in the Test format, which Australia understands and cares so much about, a thrashing of India at The Oval in June was just reward for a team so often overshadowed by the more celebrated team from the turn of the century. Make no mistake, this team is worth celebrating.
Mitchell Starc was once erratic, but has become a consistently excellent Test bowler. David Warner was able to overcome endless criticism and become probably the best all-format batsman (apart from Virat Kohli). Cummins has defied history to become a fantastic leader, while somehow becoming an even better bowler in the process. Smith might be Australia’s best batsman since Bradman, but decided to try his hand as an opener. He’s already carried his bat through an innings; a feat many openers don’t manage across their entire career.
This team might not be quite as dominant as the Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting versions, but they win nearly as often. With so many players in their thirties we don’t know what it will look like in three years but for now, the current Australian men’s cricket team has quietly built up a record almost any team in history would envy.
As cricket fans we should appreciate this team while we still have it.