Is it a Change of Guard at the Helm in Cricket?

Nikhil NadipelliCorrespondent INovember 12, 2008

Change, it is said is the only thing that is constant.

Australian cricket 'seemed’ to defy it. From the time Steve Waugh took over from Taylor, there was but one team at the top.

In soccer it was the Brazilians before the Italians. In chess it was Kramnik before Anand.

In F1  it was Schumacher before Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton. In tennis it was Federer before Nadal...

In cricket however, it was always the mighty Australians all the way.

It all began in 1996 when Srilanka beat Australia to become the world champions. Australian cricket ‘changed’ the way cricket is played and began to conquer. Steve Waugh took over and formed a team that was strong in their game and mind.

Nation after nation , team after team everyone was humiliated, troubled and trampled

While it took the top spot in both forms of cricket.

The only few times it faltered in their 12 year long domination was against India in 2001 and 2003-04 and in The Ashes in 2005.

But then it came back to India in 2004 and broke the ‘final frontier’ and gave England a humiliating 5-0 whitewash in 2007.

In the limited overs format, Australia was the best when it came to big matches and big tournaments. When the whole world thought that the Aussies would struggle in the recent world cup, they only came back stronger and won all its matches enroute to becoming the world champions for the third consecutive time.

Australia seemed to be unbeatable.

Then came the retirement of the great Shane Warne, McGrath, Kasparovicz and Damien Martyn. This was the time the whole world was waiting for. At the same time transition was taking place in a sub-continent team. The selectors backed the youngsters, aimed for a  stronger bench strength. They took bold decisions.

This Indian team went Down Under, ruffled the Australian’s feathers in the tests and beat them convincingly in the one-dayers. This wasn’t enough. Gilchrist then left Ausrtalia with a big void to be filled.

Doubts sprouted in everyone’s mind as the kangaroos toured India. They still backed themselves. And they were the better side in the first test.

Indian team tightened itself and won the next test more than convincingly.

Shane Warne and McGrath were remembered and missed as was Gilly. At the same time Anil Kumble and ganguly announced their retirements.

All the doubts only became clear when this confident Indian team beat the mighty Aussies the second time and won back the Border- Gavaskar trophy.

The Australian media and its former players are now doubting their team and captain calling for his sacking.

Meanwhile the transition period was successful for Team India. Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj will fill the voids along with Mishra and Piyush Chawla. The pacers are one of the best in the world with equally talented replacements. Sachin Tendulkar and Laxman will still be around to nurture the youngsters.

But the most important thing is that their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a cool headed,

confident and dependable. Not to forget he was suggested by Tendulkar himself.

Everyone’s eyes are now on one team. Deservedly.

Change, it looks like, is about to happen.

                         Is it a Change of Guard?