Australian cricketers yet to hit rock bottom
IT WAS only a week ago that I used this page to take a swipe at former England captain Michael Vaughan for his somewhat premature dig at the Aussies and their hopeless plight in India.
A lot has happened in the last seven days to prove me wrong, most notably, England escaping from a bad start in the Test against New Zealand to salvage a draw, and the Australian team has been seemingly thrown into more disarray, with the suspension of four players - including Ipswich born-and-bred batsman Shane Watson - for (we're told) failing to fill out paperwork.
Personally, I take the explanation given for the sending home of Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja with a grain of salt, as I don't believe it would be the only reason. Still, this is the kind of implosion we used to see from England in their lame period in the 1990s, when they couldn't seem to settle for a captain, let alone a team, amid constant pressure and bagging from the press, former players, and pretty much anyone remotely interested in cricket.
Although they are nowhere near as pathetic as England at their lowest point, I think it would be safe to say the Australian side has reached its biggest crisis since the early-to-mid 1980s, when Kim Hughes was left to steer the ship after the departures of Lillee, Marsh and Chappell. Fast forward to the year 2013 and we've got some issues that mirror what was happening in the early 80s.
McGrath, Warne, Hayden, Gilchrist and Co are long gone, and the game seems torn - almost like it was between Packer's World Series and the Test cricket establishment - between the purest form and the T20 format. So how long before the current Australian side reaches that rock bottom point again? I say that because I feel we still haven't quite got there yet.
Will a five-nil drubbing in the Ashes be enough? Perhaps. Maybe the likes of Watson will get so fed up with the pressures of Test cricket that they will stick their middle fingers up and settle for making millions of dollars playing hit 'n giggle.
Maybe rock-bottom humiliation is just the kick in the backside Australian cricket needs before it wipes away the tears and gets on with it.