The absolute boredom of a non-Aussie fan
Australia won three World Cups from 1999-2007. That was the absolutely most boring phase of cricket for all non-Australian fans around. Not only did they win World Cups, but they ruthlessly won bilateral Test and ODI series too.
They had the best captain in the world, the best batting line-up, the best pace attack and even the best spinner in the world much to the chagrin of the Indians. Apart from World Cups they were formidable in Tests too.
They won 16 Tests on the trot twice: This at a time when many teams can’t even draw 16 Tests in 2-3 years. They thrashed England in England 4-1 in the Ashes in 2001 and beat India in India a few years after that. They won all their Test series on South African soil.
It was a monotonous era and Australia unleashed their mental disintegration on the whole world.
There were small mercies however. The era may have well started in 1996. Australia batted first in the World Cup final and made a competitive 241/7. In those days it was quite a defendable target and more so in a tournament final.
However credit must be given to captain Arjuna Ranatunga. He refused to be bullied by the Aussies and talked tough and matched them at every step. He and Aravinda de Silva took their team from 148/3 to go past the finishing line.
De Silva also picked up three wickets and it was the brilliance of that one man which postponed the beginning of the Aussie era of domination.
Another one man army who also dominated over them in that era was the great Sachin Tendulkar. In 1998, he played made 621 runs against Australia at an average of 88.7 and strike rate of 106.
However the main thing was that it led to Australian losses. For one we thrashed them in the Coca Cola Trophy at Sharjah. Then we met them in the quarter-finals of the inaugural ICC Knockout Trophy.
A brilliant Sachin century saw them being knocked out and more importantly that is one tournament they did not win for the next three editions.
The inevitable could have been postponed in 1999 when the explosive Lance Klusener needed just one run off four balls to kick Australia out. However he choked and handed the match on the platter and you could say that the invincible Australian era began at that very moment.
They also later won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2006 and 2009. It seemed that nothing could stop the Aussies. However their dream run came to an end in the 2011 World Cup and everyone in the world outside Australia heaved a huge sigh of relief.
However, now it seems that the bad old days are back again.
In the 2015 World Cup, Australia thrashed Pakistan in the quarter-finals, clobbered India in the semi-finals and blew away New Zealand in the finals. It looks like they just stopped to catch their breath in 2011.
We might see another period of world domination from the Baggy Greens. Steven Smith is a dangerous captain and batsman and he is 25. The terrific fast bowler Mitchell Starc is also 25. The explosive batting duo of Glenn Maxwell and David Warner will be around for many years more as will the pace duo of James Faulkner and Josh Hazlewood.
Let’s face it—the Australians are already favourites for ODI World Cup 2019! And that’s quite depressing for the rest of the world. In 2010 England beat Australia in Australia in Tests. In 2011 India beat Australia in the World Cup. In 2012 South Africa beat Australia in Australia in Tests.
Everyone thought the decline of Australia started the way West Indies went downhill in the 1980s and 1990s.
But Australia is back with a bang.
In 2013 Australia absolutely pummelled the Poms 5-0 in the Ashes.
In 2014, they thrashed India first in the Test series and then in the ODI triangular next year.
In 2015 they won the ODI World Cup for a whopping fifth time.
They are ranked No. 1 in ODIs and No. 2 in Tests and gaining on South Africa.
For the Aussie fan the good ole days are here again but for everyone else in the world, get ready for another round of absolute boredom.
The author, Sunil Rajguru, is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://www.sunilrajguru.com/