SYDNEY: Critics are reportedly comparing the 2013 Australian Ashes squad to the last team to lose that often in a row, in 1984/85, after a sixth straight Test loss, and the fourth successive surrender to the English, highlighted by two more dull batting implosions.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, prior to this Ashes series, the Australian team was labelled the worst to ever leave its shores on an Ashes quest, although hopeful fans harked back to the last team to carry such a tag, the 1989 Ashes squad, which proved unexpectedly triumphant, 4-0, heralding a dominant era for the antipodean team.
The report further said that even though Australia’s bowling is promising despite being young and inexperienced, the current batting line-up deserved to be ranked with previous underachievers and also lacks their excuses.
Comparing the current side with the underachieving 1984/85 squad, the report said that generational superstars Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh had just departed in 1984, leaving behind a vast void, in a similar manner to the 2013 squad, which is also suffering following the departure of Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Simon Katich.
However, the report said that the 1984 squad fought bravely against a West Indies side laden with batting legends like Gordon Greenidge and Vivian Richards and pace attack of Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh and managed to eke out a win and three draws from the 10 Tests despite lacking their best bowler, keeper and batsman.
Stating that Australia was an unconvincing Test team for five years until that famous 1989 Ashes turnaround, the report also said that the current line-up much more resembles the 1985 top order, when players such as Graeme Wood and Greg Ritchie were called upon, who were not consistently heavy enough scorers for Australia to remain competitive.
According to the report, the current Test batting order is similarly lacking an underclass of proven competitors given the decline in batting standards in the Sheffield Shield, although it added that the past sides have shown enough fortitude and skill to fight out 21 draws, and resist losing streaks being set by the current outfit, despite their difficulties.
The report also said that the 2013 Aussie willow-wielders are undercutting new marks and have passed 300 just twice in their past 12 innings on their current streak in India and England, adding that they may well end up being the ‘worst-ever’ team with their batting.