Critics Corner.

Opinions. And LOTS of them.

A few old men.

Posted by Sports Snob on November 9, 2006


In my previous post I had briefly mentioned the fact that there was reason to hope that Australia’s dominance is going to come to an end because of an aging team. I simply had no idea how old this team actually is!

Matthew Hayden –35, Justin Langer- 36
Stuart McGill- 35, Damien Martyn-35
Shane Warne-37, Adam Gilchrist-35
Glenn McGrath-36 Even Brett Lee is now 30!

What is going to be interesting to see is how the Australians cope when all these men retire within a year or two of each other. The entire team will have to be changed. And I don’t see the talent rushing through.

I am sick of seeing the Aussies dominating world cricket. And what truly makes me happy is the fact that McGrath and Warne wont last much longer. They are brilliant cricketers but they are also the main reason why Australia have been so dominant over the last 5 years. Say what you want about the rest of the team, but these two men ensured that every time the Australians stepped on the field they had a genuine chance of getting 20 wickets against any batting line up on any pitch. And with a combined total of 1200+ test wickets they did just that.

It will be sad to see Gilchrist go though. Its always fun to watch him bat (except when he is hammering the Indian bowling) and he has been a great ambassador (one of the few) for Australian cricket. And the great thing with Gilchrist has been that Australia have had a genuine top class batsman at no. 7 for quite some time (he averages over 50 for crying out loud, to put that in perspective- Ganguly averaged in the low 40s throughout his career). His loss is going to hit the team hard. And the Australians (surprisingly) haven’t done enough to find a replacement.

It’s interesting how different Australia’s policies are from the rest of the world. Someone like Mike Hussey (who is 31 himself) has taken ages to establish get into the squad and can now easily hold his own for the next 5-6 years. I don’t think any of the sub-continent teams will pick a new batsman at that age! The fact is that the bar for retirement age has now been raised by at least 3 years to 36-37. Enough of blooding youngsters, maybe the lesson is that the Indian board need to start valuing experience and understand that 28-30 is not too old to blood a cricketer.


21 Responses to “A few old men.”

  1. Ravi said

    rather hussey took ages to get into the squad… he didnt take long to establish himself into the first XI

  2. […] Critics Corner has an interesting post about age, and Aussie cricket. […]

  3. @ Ravi- yep.. agree with you. edited it.

  4. neha said

    wow, they are old! but that’s only because they are australian. if they were pakistani though, this is how that table would read:

    Matthew Hayden -24, Justin Langer- 24
    Stuart McGill- 24, Damien Martyn-24
    Shane Warne-24, Adam Gilchrist-24
    Glenn McGrath-24 Brett Lee- 18


  5. Kunal said

    The main reason I think for the Aussie dominance is their domestic cricket structure. They have just 6 domestic teams and even breaking into them is a huge deal.

    I remember there was supposed to be a tri-series in Australia in mid-90s and since Zimbabwe was one team (Eng or WI being the other team), Aus-A was also allowed to play to let the spectators have better games to watch. At the end the final was played between proper Australian team and the Australia-A.

  6. @ Neha- LOL! I agree with you. I think Afridi has been 19 for a really long time 🙂

    @Kunal- thats very true. the indian domestic scene is in shambles..too many teams, poor pitches and selectors who watch 1 or 2 matches every year.

  7. Raju said

    The australians dont do anything exceptional – they just get the basics right all the time be it in the slog overs or when under pressure with the oppenent flaying you. As kunal pointed out thats due to the discipline and quality of their domestic cricket. They will carry on with or without the Mcgrathss and the warnes.

    P.S: I hate the australian cricket team! Snobs!!

  8. Ms. V said

    If we had ancestors like the Aussies, we’d be pretty tough at 36 too, don’t you think? 😉 At least this World Cup won’t be predictable. Speaking of the World Cup, I need a moment to wail over the fact that Shoaib’s been banned.
    Dammit. One less hot guy to drool over 😦
    (Unless you’re a girl, please don’t bother to debate his hotness with me :p)

  9. neha said

    i am a girl. shoaib? hot? blyuccccckkkhhh! unless u mean in a sleezy, ugly non jim morrison lizard like way. once again blyucccccccckkhh!

  10. uh oh…women have hijacked this comments section ! Bad Bad Ms. V!

    And Raju, say what you want about the Australian domestic structure but they are NOT going to get champion bowlers like McGrath and Warne again. (in the same generation ie).

    True, Johnson, Bracken, Gillespie etc are very good bowlers but there has never really been too much pressure on them. It promises to be very interesting 🙂

  11. Ms. V said

    Must. Not. Start. Catfight.

    (Breathe in… breathe out… breathe in… breathe out…)

  12. Ravi said

    easy ladies

  13. The Enigma said

    Here, here. I totally second your thoughts about the fact that Warne and McGrath have been able to, almost, single-handedly keep the Aussies winning for way too long. Time for them to put their feet up and dig in to the pies, I say.

  14. neha said

    Lol, getting back to the cricket, the english have started on a losing note. just a sign of things to come?

  15. Z said

    @ Enigma- Absolutely!
    @ Neha- yep..barring Jones and Vaughan England have the same squad as last year but somehow they have gone back 3 or 4 steps. It’s going to be an interesting series. One just hopes we go into the 5th test with the series very much alive.

  16. lets not forget they have a very strong bench too, who are hungry to get out there and prove themselves. contrast this to mr vengsarkar’s statement that we hardly have any bench strength

  17. @Cyrus: Yes, the bench is strong at this point. I think they are players from the last generation though. The young players don’t seem to be matching up… but then, if you can consistently get good 31 year olds, do you need young blood? Maybe for attitude, probably not for skill.

  18. u cant throw someone out just coz he is older. maybe their bench is as good. tell me are you going to throw out sachin or rahul coz of their age??
    i think if they keep on winning and the players are doing well why tinker with the side. watch mcgrath’s recent bowling against india and tell me if you feel he bowls like an old man.

    on the other hand ian thorpe retired at 24!!! so is its not age or motivation/ competence. newspapers have to fill paper so they will go on writing that people shud retire after 35, even though they will be among the best in their department.

  19. Prof said

    @Cyrus: People shouldn’t been thrown out beacuse they are old. But when the average age of blooding players around the world is significantly lower than yours, do you need to wonder? Do you assume that your policies are right because you are succesful or do you actually believe that it is sustainable in the long run? These are the questions that Cricket Australia needs to ask itself. The reason we are posting is, wondering if youngsters in their 20s are as good because there are going to be some big, big boots to fill.

  20. why do aussies have to do what other countries do? the aussies are the best the world, why are we telling them how to run their cricket? its like telling the star fund manager that his investments are unlike others (he is the star for this reason)

  21. Z said

    err Cyrus.. you are completely missing the point. Nobody is telling the Aussies how to run their cricket. Stats show that McGrath and Warne have taken over 55 % of all wickets in the 100 tests they have played together..thats a MASSIVE number and those are massive boots to fill.
    In a way Australia has been lucky to have these two champion bowlers playing side by side (like the Windies in the 70s) and we are just wondering if the Australians will struggle in the same way as the Windies (besides Ambrose and Walsh) did in replacing guys like Marshall, Garner, Holding, Roberts, Croft etc.

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