In the realm of cricket, the term "The Ashes" was coined by an innocent reporter in the English media in a mock obituary he wrote after the "death of English cricket," when England suffered their first test cricket loss on English soil to the Australians in 1882.
One wonders now, looking at the current state of Australian cricket, whether it's time for another eulogy in cricket, this time dedicated to the once "invincible ones."
After the West Indians dominated the 70s and the 80s saw the surge of the Indians, it was the Australians in the late 90s whose might and fervor shook the cricketing circles.
For more than a decade, they were the most feared team—a victorious army of gallant knights and courageous warriors, who mercilessly destroyed every opposition which showed the audacity to challenge them.
They broke old records and set new ones. They made that 22 yard cricket pitch their own personal toy.
But come to the 2009 ICC Twenty20 World Cup, and the Australians get eliminated from the first round itself...
And this isn't the first battle they have lost.
For more than a couple of years now, the audacious Indians, the committed South Africans, and the enigmatic New Zealanders have all, time and again, challenged the Australian supremacy, and quite successfully so.
Some might say they are still at the top or somewhere near the top in the test, ODI and T20 rankings...Well, all those rankings should mean to you as much as your mother-in-law's opinion about you.
The reality is, Australian cricket is in some serious trouble.
There are many.
While one cannot ignore the quality, commitment, and passion shown by other teams, there are internal problems as well.
Is the team united?
Was Andrew Symonds sent back home purely for disciplinary reasons?
Was the decision of some key Aussie players to avoid the IPL a purely cricketing decision, and, if so, was it right?
Is the team selection right?
Is it time for Ponting to step down?
This 2009 ICC Twenty20 World Cup was perhaps the first World Cup in the past decade where the Aussies were not entering as the firm favorites. And looking at the other two teams in the group, it isn't really a jaw-dropping event that they were knocked out so early.
The question is, is the golden era of Australian cricket really over?
Can Australia bounce back from this?
What is the future of Australian cricket?
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