The ongoing edition of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 has been a poor outing for the Australian sides. Aayush Puthran looks back at the absent aggression and what the tournament is missing due to the poor display by the Perth Scorchers and the Brisbane Heat.
A change of power order brings with it a sense of joy, when the strong look fallible. However, when the same Big Daddies wobble to mediocrity, it becomes a matter of pity. Australian cricket is suddenly at a stage where their arrogance of invincibility is long lost; the shoulders aren’t broad anymore when they walk. Much like West Indies of late-nineties, one wonders where all the aura and charm disappeared. To watch the Brisbane Heat and Perth Scorchers perform in the Champions League T20 and question where the Australian-ness vanished, isn’t surprising.
Unlike most other fallen powers of cricket in the past, the problem with Australia is neither structural nor dearth of talent. Yet, when Simon Katich said that CLT20 is a level better than the Big Bash League (BBL), it wasn’t hard to figure out that such a statement wouldn’t have come out from an Australian last year when Sydney Sixers emerged triumphant in the CLT20.
With both Brisbane and Perth yet to record a win in the current edition, it shows how vulnerable the Australian sides have become at the world stage. However, more than the final result, it is about the manner in which they have lost. It isn’t as painful to watch Kandurata Maroons, a team which boasted of 11 international players, go winless. Nor was it as tough to see Faisalabad Wolves, a side with no dearth of talent, to look out of sorts against quality sides. With Brisbane and Perth, it isn’t just about watching two T20 sides struggle, but the fact that they are ‘Australian’ sides.
Is it about the mental approach more than anything else? Is it about the fact that teams are no longer threatened of playing against them? Or maybe it is just about the age old tale of the hare and the tortoise, where the teams world over lifted their game, while the Australian sides were resting on their laurels and ability. Well, maybe it is just about adjusting poorly to Indian conditions. Even if that is the case, Otago Volts, Highveld Lions and Titans have put a far better show.
As the tournament progresses and both the teams have one match each to play out, irrespective of the result, it will about watching them push their respective opponents to the limit and play the kind of aggressive brand of cricket that was an envy of teams world over.
A dash of ruthless aggression and some playfully nasty verbal volleys would certainly make this game more entertaining. So, even as the power order changes, cricket lovers can enjoy their bit of Australian-ness, for old time’s sake!
(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)