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Sight Screen

Monday, June 20, 2005

Deja view

You guys remember the 1999 World Cup? The one where Australia started off on the wrong foot, seemed down and out, and spurred Steve Waugh into making his now-famous war cry: All we have to do is win seven in a row?
Dean Jones was one of Rediff's columnists for that Cup; on my way to work this morning, I was remembering a column he wrote for us at the time.
Check out the problems enumerated here: Sloppy batting; bad fielding; rubbish bowling characterised by a lack of discipline; a weak fifth bowling option; an ageing team; off field problems centering around -- who else? -- Shane Warne...
Interesting column -- change the date and a couple of names, and this could have been written yesterday.
Deano wrote a sequel to this column, that is equally worth reading.
Why do I bring this up? Because the very first story I spotted this morning was one on Fox Sports, asking the question: Is the Aussie dynasty over?
Here's the funny part -- when the Aussies were steamrolling over everyone in sight, concensus in the cricketing world was that for the good of the game, the world champions needed to be pushed, to feel the pressure. That teams should emerge capable of challenging the Aussie hegemony. That without strong contenders emerging, interest in the game will ebb -- who wants to see one team winning everything, all the time?
So now that is happening. India in Australia showed that the champions could be tamed; England is now taking the fight to the Aussies. Cricket is not looking like a one-team game anymore. And all of this is to the good -- but surely, reports of the team's imminent demise is wildly exaggerated, surely?

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