Thursday, 1 January 2009

New world order

In ten years many events of the last decade will be lost in a sea of vagueness. However, that is not true of 2008; the financial events of the past year will be analysed for years to come and their repercussions have still to be fully felt. For cricket, 2008 has also been a significant year, with two momentous happenings.

The first of these events was the IPL and the massive cash injection it has brought. 20:20 cricket was largely ignored by India until they won the Twenty20 World Championship in September 2007. From that point on it has been full-steam ahead with the IPL spending million dollar sums on international players. India went from a ‘difficult place to tour’ to a land filled with milk and honey. Talk of ‘cricketer burn-out’ magically disappeared in favour of making a gap in the schedules for the IPL and other 20:20 tournaments. 20:20 has changed the face of cricket and will continue to exert a large influence in 2009 and above.

The second major cricket event of 2008 has been the demise of the Australian Test winning machine. Australia has been virtually unbeaten for the last decade and beyond. Australia losing a Test match was an event of note and losing a series was a very rare event indeed. However, in the past few months Australia has lost two Test series: they were soundly thrashed in India after a good start and have been similarly beaten by South Africa at home. Australia has lost four of its last eight Test matches. The reasons for the slump in form are clear to see – a number of world class players have retired and the holes they create cannot be filled easily. In particular the gaps left by Warne and McGrath swiftly followed by MacGill and Hogg have left Australia with a barren bowling attack and without a spinner of note. This is excellent news for everyone except Australian fans. It means that Test matches will be closer and everyone has a realistic chance of beating them. There are now three top sides in Test cricket: India, Australia and South Africa. The rest are playing catch-up.

Of course not everything has changed with England playing the same first six players in their last test of 2008 as they played in the first Test match of the 2006/07 Ashes series, with similar results...

1 comment:

Q said...

I recently did a post with the same title :-)

Different topic though..