The last question that was asked was "would Merv make it in today's game?" The consensus was "In cricketing skill, yes. Still world class. Being able to conform to the regime and dial back the confrontational attitude, no." And I think that's currently the problem in Aussie cricket.
The same could be said of Botham's chances in today's game. Sir Ian often remarks on it during his commentary; "I think I played in the right era" and who wouldn't agree with that? Beer in the dressing room, rest days and not an ice bath in sight. Sir Ian told Andrew Strauss that the only reason they would have had an ice bath back then was for somewhere to keep the drinks cool.
That's a man's man, right there.
The closest we've had lately to a throwback was Pieterson and he was soon whipped back into compliance. The Aussies have always been renegades and their cricketing heroes epitomised that. I don't see why their Cricket Authorities would seek to change that and take that weapon out of their game. It was working fairly well for quite some time after all.
Either your team is filled with skilled cricketers (and I actually believe that this Aussie team doesn't have a bad player in it) that toe the party line and the party line is enforced (England since Andy Flowers has stamped his authority on the team), or you have a team that are the classic, archetypal Aussie team with the Waughs, Warnes, McGraths, Pontings and the management act accordingly and back the fuck off; not have this pool of festering resentment at being made to do things that men shouldn't have to do. Homework in jotters, for a small example.
I mean really? What was Pat Howard thinking? These are cricketers, not a bunch of Kirby salesmen.
I always worry about critising players because I know that if they're in a position whereby they're doing it for a living, they certainly know a shite sight more about cricket than me! This Aussie team has players more than capable of delivering a performance, getting within 14 runs at the first test was testament to that.
The team mentality still isn't right and it comes straight from the management acting like a corporate entity rather than a world beating cricket team. At least the Aussies have Darren Lehmann now to remove the nonsense put in place by Pat Howard but it's going to take a while to plaster over the cracks in the team.
Or at least, that's my uneducated take on it. For one, I hope it continues. But not for too long, Aussie cricket being top dog was a staple throughout my youth and whilst I'm enjoying this section of my adulthood, The Ashes should always be between the two best test sides on the planet. England and Australia.
Come on, Australia, catch up!
Just not yet though. I would like to enjoy this for a bit longer.