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Resurgent England and beleaguered Ponting!
by Gulu Ezekiel
Sep 07, 2005
The Aussies have always known that to get at a team you must attack its head. Now the tables have been neatly turned on them.

Australia could well come back to win the final Test at the Oval next week and draw the series, thereby keeping their hold on the Ashes. But the scars that have been inflicted on them by this resurgent England squad will take years to heal.

Whether Ricky Ponting becomes the first Australian captain in 16 years to lose to England or not, he is certainly the first to resort to whining about his opponent’s tactics.

The Aussies have a derogatory term for their traditional rivals — ‘whining Poms’. Indeed, English sides have gained a well-earned reputation for making excuses, especially while on tour. But now the sound of gloating ringing round the cricket world is being directed at the beleaguered Ponting.

Just as England have been notorious for their whining, Australia have from the very start of Test cricket in 1877 been infamous for bending the rules.

Now for Ponting and his mates to complain about England’s tactics of using substitutes excessively smacks of nothing short of blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

Glenn McGrath has joined in to lecture the world about the ‘spirit’ of the game being paramount. This would be hilarious if were not so pathetic. McGrath may be one of the all-time bowling greats. But his on-field antics over the years have been nothing short of odious.

Ian Chappell, Greg Chappell (remember the underarm incident of 1981?) Allan Border, Steve Waugh and long before them, Australia’s captain of the 1920s Warwick Armstrong, all were masters of bending the rules and damn the ‘spirit’ of the game.

If a worldwide poll were taken of cricket teams’ popularity, it is likely England would finish at the bottom of the heap (with perhaps Australia just a touch ahead of them). But now even perennial Brit-bashers are cheering on the home side as they inflict one humiliating blow after another on the Aussies.

Ever since Australian sides began their world domination in the mid-1990s, there has been more than just a touch of arrogance about them. And a lecturing holier-than-thou attitude has only served to antagonise fans and rivals.

Now it is payback time. And how! Australian’s are on the run, England’s media is strongly united behind their boys, the crowds are hostile to them and rubbing it in and the visitors find themselves inflicted with a siege mentality. Suddenly, the whole world seems to have ganged up on them, even the neutral umpires and the Match Referee.

Sounds familiar? Well, that is exactly how teams touring Australia are made to feel from the moment they touch down, looking round to see virtually the entire nation ranged against them. It is a daunting feeling and now suddenly the shoe is on the other foot.

It’s an old saying that bullies back down when they get a dose of their medicine. That is precisely what is now afflicting the once-mighty Australians. And no one outside their own country is shedding tears.

The biggest irony - in one month’s time Ponting will be leading his world champion side against the Rest of the World in the first ICC Super Series! It could not have come at a worse time.

More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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