|Test playing nations in a state of flux.|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Aug 20, 2005|
A disquieting sense of turmoil appears to be casting
its shadow over almost every Test-playing nation at
Each team has its own unique problems but what is
common to all are the tensions brought about by recent
The most recent case is of course the most surprising
too. One would hardly imagine dissent and dissension
with the virtually impregnable four walls of Castle
Australia, the undisputed world champions of both Test
and ODI cricket.
It is remarkable what one defeat can do to the morale
and team-spirit of a side that has always prided
itself on its unity of purpose and cohesiveness.
Remember, the series is locked 1-1. Australia will
still retain the Ashes which they have held for nearly
20 years if they can win one of the remaining two Test
matches or if both are drawn.
But after defeat at Edgbaston and the narrowest of
escapes at Old Trafford the cracks have begun to show
within the rock-solid façade. Captain Ricky Ponting
appears to have saved both his own and his side’s skin
with that epic of an innings in the third Test. But
after their defeat in the first Test at Lord’s, it is
England that have dominated proceedings.
Back in India, the controversy over the captaincy appears to
be snow-balling with distinct camps cropping up within
the team, something that can have ominous
Both Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have their
supporters and some like Virender Sehwag have already
publicly planted their flag (in Sehwag'’s case, in the
Defeat in the final of the Indian Oil tri-series final
in Colombo meant stand-in skipper Dravid was most
likely to be replaced by Ganguly and that is what has
happened, though not before a stormy selection
In the West Indies cricket appears to be lurching from
one grave crisis to another with money clearly the
name and bane of the game. The side is currently sans
Brian Lara and all its other superstars except for
With the Caribbean islands
staging the World Cup for the first time in 2007,
doubts are already being raised as to whether the
hosts will be able to field a full-strength team for
Despite their brilliant performance in India earlier
this year, controversy and Pakistan cricket go hand in
hand and it is only a matter of time before the next
one raises its ugly head.
The racial quota system within South African cricket
has made the team an unhappy one while the less said
about the plight of cricket in Zimbabwe the better. No
wonder Sachin Tendulkar is itching to make a quick
So what does that leave us with? England are riding
the crest of a wave, the whole nation backing their
team in their quest for the Ashes.
Sri Lanka have moved up the rankings since their
semi-final placing at the 2003 World Cup and look a
real threat for 2007—they are virtually unbeatable too
in ODIs on their own turf. New Zealand also look a
confident lot under the able Stephen Fleming.
Bangladesh are enjoying their best period since they
were brought into the Test fold in 2000 and the
stunning win over Australia earlier this year in
England has been the icing on the cake.
Ultimately, it all comes down to one factor— - the
winning feeling. It’s amazing how a successful side
can brush aside all the cobwebs.