As an avid supporter of South African cricket and cricket in general, it's hard not to feel a strong bias in any terms when it comes to Australian sport. Since the beginning of British colonization in the Southern Hemisphere, and the spreading of British sport, Australians have lead as sportsmen in sheer precision and sportsmanship.
Many teams have followed and and at times been able to surpass Australian cricket legend, but can never seem to truly rival their brilliance and talent. How long can this rain of supremacy go on for?
Countries like South Africa, England and the West Indies have, at some time or other out of a statistical anomaly or period of greatness, come to be known as the 'number one' cricket team in the world. This is especially true of the West Indies, a nation so dominant during the 1980s.
Such great players as Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Garfield Sobers, to name a few, simply had the raw talent to trounce the opposition. But when they retired, so did the great West Indian cricket dream.
South Africa, as being a truly 'number two' team in the world to the Aussies, have indeed claimed the pole position at times by simply playing and beating all the other teams before playing Australia, as it was in the World Cup.
England's greatness came in the early time of the game when Australia and South Africa were struggling colonies and did not have the financial support of the rich Lords and the aristocracy to support proper clubs like the MCC and therefore were simply better by way of means.
It was not until the first Cricket World Cup South Africa played in that I truly saw the power of the Aussies. Names such as Shane Warne, Glen McGrath and the Waugh brothers were as professional as they were consistent and proved to be the men who made me yearn for a South African team of similar quality.
My bias comes in the form of petty excuses; such as South Africa's exclusion during the 60's, 70's and 80's, explaining why the numbers that cricketers are now given to show the cap and order number they came are still in double figures on Protea shirts compared to the three, four and five hundereds you see on the shirts of other teams.
Or perhaps the intense political pressures South African sportsmen and coaches have to endure as a result of poor government.
Excuses? Probably. Arguable? Hopefully. Fact? Definitely.
To say the least, every country has its own issues and dwelling doesn't solve anything. One would hope all countries could play under the same stability and support as Australians do; it's a defining characteristic in Australian culture, hence so much external diaspora from the other countries to Australia.
The fact is, sport is sport, and it doesn't matter under what weather you play in, the best will always be the best. I would hope that South Africa could at least challenge Australia on a more regular basis. Maybe show them what-for a few times as well. Because in the great strides aback and in as full a perspective as this biased Safa can possibly give, Australia's performance does not seem to be a phase, nor a peak, but rather consistency.
Consistency...the very word that would that by its meaning, and current performance of Australia, excludes those that are simply not as good from achieving Australia's current greatness.
So in conclusion, a team like India, New Zealand or South Africa would simply (and ironically so as being the best is never simple) have to be better than Australia: that is, be the best. Train better, work harder, fight harder, be tougher, find the talent, remain consistent, and above all, get that bloody secret the Aussies have been using to create such success all these years.
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