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Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan is Assistant Editor on the Comment desk at The Independent. He was previously a news reporter and Sports News Correspondent, and writes columns for The Liberal and The Salisbury Review.

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Underwhelmed by the Ashes

Posted by Amol Rajan
  • Friday, 31 July 2009 at 02:42 pm
It's great, I know.  England are destroying the Australians, wickets are tumbling all over the place, and darn it we even had the option of making them play with ten men.

But this morning's was the session that captured the ambivalence of this Ashes series.  There was the sheer joy, the table-bouncing elation, of seeing messrs Onions and Anderson mock those baggy green caps with their swing and their control.

And yet, simultaneously, there was the overwhelming feeling that this Australian side aren't good enough to be here, aren't spoiling for a fight.  So overwhelming, in fact, as to make the whole idea of this year's series slightly underwhelming.

I know I may regret this if the series is drawn, or England collapse abysmally at Edgbatston, but hell with it - there's something irrecoverably inadequate about this current Australian side.  

It's bad enough having a bowling line-up of Hauritz, Johnson, Siddle, and Hilfenhaus.  Now they have to call on somebody called Graham Manou, for goodness sake.  He sounds like Crocodile Dundee's brother-in-law.  And he didn't look too useful with the bat.

The sadness - and all cricket fans should be saddened by the lower standards of Australia's current  batch - was accentuated by the moment this morning when Ricky Ponting, (who must now be considered, alongside Sachin Tendulkar, the best since Bradman) became the highest scoring Australian. 

Here was greatness amidst mediocrity.  The horror of that moment when he raised his bat wasn't a function of Ponting's prickliness or arrogance - goodness knows he deserves the acclaim he received.  The horror was that, surrounded by also-rans, he looked out of place.
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