Marnus Labuschagne of Australia (right) celebrates with Tim Paine after bringing up his double century on day 2 of the third Test Match between Australia and New Zealand at the SCG in Sydney, Saturday, January 4, 2020. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Marnus Labuschagne of Australia (right) celebrates with Tim Paine after bringing up his double century on day 2 of the third Test Match between Australia and New Zealand at the SCG in Sydney, Saturday, January 4, 2020. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

CRICKET BYGONE? Col lauds our forgotten heroes

WITH all the news surrounding the resumption of our football codes, it’s no surprise that the feats of our cricketers generally went unnoticed recently.

No, they are not currently playing anywhere, nor did they win any “virtual” tournament (surely the last resort for any sport).

They were in fact acclaimed as world champions in both Test match form and T/20 competitions.

Still, they didn’t get the plaudits they deserved. It is quite a remarkable achievement when you think about it.

Yes, we have been Test match champions before (four years ago in fact) but we have never been at the top of the tree in both formats.

So, I say it again, whether it be the longest or shortest format of the game, we are the best.

However, we were not clear champions as only two points separated the top three sides.

Having said that, we easily accounted for the Black Caps when they were over here last summer and as fate would have it, we are to play India in the forthcoming season. How good will that be?

India have finally agreed to a day/night Test match so hopefully Brisbane will get the nod and we can get off to a winning start.

Our record at the Gabba is unmatched but we will need a good start to defeat Virat Kohli and his men as they rise to the challenge better than most.

So how have we turned things around so quickly since “Sandpapergate” in South Africa?

The credit must surely go to coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine.

I was enthralled by Barrie Cassidy’s insightful interview with Langer recently on the ABC.

His One Plus One interview was all about leadership. If you missed it is worth the trouble to find it on ABC iview.

He is so believable in his expectation of the players in his care.

So too with the captain. Probably the least talented of our keepers in the last few decades but a real leader of men in every sense of the word.

Quiet and unassuming, he had not been “spooked” by the presence and talent of former captain Steve Smith.

Paine deserves to hang on to the captaincy as long as he and Langer think he should, no one else.

Later this year, we have the chance to match our women and win the World Cup for the T/20 game if it goes ahead as planned. Aaron Finch leads a great team, and they have won nine of their last ten completed games.

Of course you have to have the talent to reach these heady heights and its no coincidence that this has come about with the return of Smith and Warner as well as the emergence of Marnus Labuschagne.

Similarly Pat Cummins is rated the number one bowler in the world.

With the veil of uncertainty over most of our sports we should be very proud of our truly national team.



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