You’d be forgiven for thinking so with some of the things you read. The fact is Australia are still a feisty outfit and England in particular shouldn’t be fancying their chances against them too much. Australia may have slid a bit, but they’ll never implode. It’s not the Aussie way.
England will not be bowling at Matthew Hayden in the next Ashes series. They shouldn’t be grateful. They should be wary. Hayden’s been a walking wicket of late and had a pretty dire Ashes in 2005.
In contrast, Simon Katich has averaged 56 since returning to the side as an opener, hitting four hundreds in 12 matches. The man most likely to replace Hayden, Phil Jaques, will actually strengthen Australia’s batting. He averages 47 in Tests and, unlike Hayden, is on an upward curve.
England supporters might want to note the name Phil Hughes at this stage as well. 20 years old and with the priceless ability to score runs when no-one else can. You might as well save time and start hating him now.
It’s hard to guess Australia’s number six. You wouldn’t want to rely on either Andrew Symonds or Shane Watson turning up on any given day. If they go with a specialist batsman, they’ve a zillion to choose from.
He’s not Adam Gilchrist, but when did that become a crime? Brad Haddin is up there with the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in Test cricket already. Honestly, have a think about it. Who’s better? Dhoni? Sangakkara isn’t Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper any more, you know.
Bowling averages over the last two years: Brett Lee – 25.82, Mitchell Johnson – 27.85, Stuart Clark – 27.52. It isn’t the best bowling attack that Australia have had, but it seems worse than it really is when you compare it to previous incarnations.
The attack seemed weak when Australia toured India last year as well, but none of those three bowlers had previously played at Test in India and India is traditionally branded ‘unforgiving’ for fast bowlers.
Johnson and Lee can both bat better than you think they can, as well.
We’re saying they’re not the worst team in the world. Even in cricket it’s not always possible to ‘take the positives’.
They also have a secret weapon – Pat Farhart.