Aussies building on young blood

Australia confirmed its status as one of the top teams in the world with the thrashing of the Kiwis in a rather one sided final in the Champions trophy. It was indeed a disappointment to witness the manner the Kiwis folded up after their determined effor to get to the final, which was definitely beyond them when the tournament commenced. However what was most impressive about the Aussies was not the winning of the Championship alone, but the manner they did so in the final. It was a total annihilation as far as New Zealand was concerned. True the Kiwis missed their captain Vettori, Opener Ryder and all rounder Oram and fast bowler Tuffey. But the question is even with them in the side could have they done anything different to the New Zealand fortunes up against an Australian side that was in no mood to loose?

The Aussie young ones

It was appropriate that Ricky Ponting choose to give his young brigade all the credit. After all it was the batting of the new pair of openers Shane Watson and Tim Payne that had them getting off to good starts. Cameron White was another in the batting that was willing to play the extravagant role and it was successful by a very long margin.

In the case of Watson it is a case of being back from the dead! After missing the good part of the Ashes through injury to cement his place as an opener a position the Australians wanted solidity, was a great effort. Watson has definitely grabbed his chance with both hands. He has not just given the openers slot solidity but stability too and on certain occasion’s aggressions as well as it was witnessed in the games against England and New Zealand.

But what about the resurgence of Australia to top slot? It has been a brilliant comeback for them. After having an indifferent year loosing the billing of being the top nation in cricket, Australia was humbled by the old enemy England in the ashes. And come the Champions trophy they were surely not the overwhelming favourites either though they were strong contenders to the last four stage. In that scenario I thought Australia’s chances of defending their title was made easier when it was New Zealand in the final and not either India, Pakistan South Africa or for that matter Sri Lanka.

The recent history shows that England to a great extent and New Zealand to a lesser extent has been easy pickings for the might of the Aussies. But it is against teams such as South Africa, Pakistan, India or Sri Lanka that Australia either succumbs or gets heavily challenged. And a New Zealand side minus some of their top players wouldn’t have given any Australian player sleepless nights before the final. And that they did demonstrate with the greatest of ease and the manner Watson finished off proceedings with a six of Patel only confirmed the Aussie Dominance in the game!

So where does Australia go from here? Let’s not forget that Ponting, Hussey and Lee the older brigade will not be going on for too long though they may still be around for at least another 2 years. But it is the younger generation in the side that impresses me most. The likes of Michelle Johnson and Siddle who are very quick and aggressive, whilst Michel Clark who should be taking over the reigns will have the young players of the calibre of Payne, Hauritz, White and Watson to build on. They may not take the world by storm as did the team led by Steve Waugh, but I am sure they will be very tough to over come as the Aussie grit and determination and of course their pride seems to be back big time in their game with the annexing of the Champions trophy of 2009 in South Africa.

Roshan Abeysinghe is a leading cricket promoter and an international cricket commentator

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