South Africa vs. Australia – too much being made?

I understood the euphoria when South Africa won a series in Australia. What I didn’t get was the hype. The media was abuzz that this South African cricket team is the best and is perhaps #1. I had my doubts, but kept it to myself, for criticizing South Africa at that time would have been tantamount to dissing the IPL. There were definitely chinks in their armor. They were too dependent on Smith and Amla. It takes more than just two phenomenal batsmen to forge a team that will consistently and comprehensively beat others. If anything was proved in Australia’s tour of South Africa, it was this.

After Australia  has beat South Africa now, the euphoria has turned. Two newbie Aussie batsmen have been made stars, Phillip Hughes being  one of them is sacreligiously likened to Don Bradman. My issue is not with the analogy but the haste in declaring legends. Why are we in such a hurry? The guy has scored what one century? Ok, he might be young, but I find such analogies – both the likening to Bradman and the “catch ’em young” propaganda – ridiculous to say the least.

Moving back to my original point that too much is being made about South Africa and Australia, that South Africa beat them in Australia, does not mean that they are the best. The Australian victory now over South Africa also does not justify their ICC #1 ranking. The rankings –  like many other things concerning the ICC – need to be drastically revamped, for now it is far too dependent various external factors. Australia are nowhere near as consistent as they were in the last decade, nor are this set of individuals of that calibre. As for South Africa, their side of the late 90s with the likes of Klusner and Donald was certainly special, and would have been the best if only Australia weren’t as good, or some dark elements in that South African side didn’t fix matches.

To me, this Australian victory is nothing other their revenge over the Saffers. It doesn’t mean, prove or justify anything else.

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8 Responses to South Africa vs. Australia – too much being made?

  1. Soulberry says:

    Well said VM!

    Yours truly has been sentimental according to the prevailing breeze as well.

  2. SA’s fall coincided with the injury of smith and i was also getting this feeling that even steyn is not 100% fit…

    although they have lost to oz (infact comprehensively
    beaten) but take nothing from them that they were trly world beaters in year 2008 and if my memory serves me right not lost a single series in all conditions…

    australia really played well no doubt and it will be interesting to see how long they can go on with their over worked, over loaded bowling attack specially johnson…

  3. vmminerva says:

    @SB, thanks man. As for the prevailing breeze, I’m falling behind on that. It’s been a while since I caught some true blogging breeze.

    @SP, the referral system cheated South Africa. That is were they were beaten comprehensively. As for Aus, true, it will be indeed be interesting to see how long they can overwork their bowlers. Apparently Siddle and Johnson might be taking a “well earned” – as the Aussie media is putting it – break.

  4. namya says:

    VMM,

    Agree completely with the modern day magi.. they have something earth shattering to predict if a glass falls down. The IPL comparison was an unkind cut tho 🙂

    cheers

  5. vmminerva says:

    @namya, nice to see a newbie. Welcome! I take it you are an IPL fan. I got a bit bored towards the end of last year’s IPL. Wonder if it’ll get any better this year – if they have it at all. Cheers!

  6. Q says:

    Hmm.. thats an interesting thought VM.. although if any team deserved to be declared the best during 2008, it was South Africa.. they didn’t lose a single series during the year, they won their 11th test series in a row I believe, and became the first team to beat Australia at home in almost 2 decades since the mighty West Indians.. South Africa threatened to take away the ICC number 1 ranking from Australia by consistently beating all teams in all conditions.. its been difficult to replace Australia from the top because on the last decade and a half they have only lost series to India (twice), England (once), and South Africa (once).

    This Australia win just went on to show how strong their system is and how determined they are to not be dethroned.. They have done well in SA.. though the bowlers have looked tired in the 3rd test.. in the first 2 tests I felt that Australia finally found their balances test XI, something they had missed at home against SA..

    SA vs Aus, largely due to the nature of the pitches they plan, have produced some of the best test cricket in the recent past, hence the hype they get. Its definitely an entertaining series. Moreso than others. Probably only India v Aus is the only other series that entertains just as much.

    Moving on, SA’s climb over the last 2 years has not only been due to Smith and Amla.. Prince emerged into one of the team’s leading batsmen.. Kallis has always been there as a rock.. and how can u ignore the emergence of De Villiers.. he has definitely turned a corner.. the rise of Duminy in Australia recently was stuff that dreams are made of..

    And I haven’t even mentioned the best test pace attack that dominated batsmen world over- Steyn, Ntini, and Morkel..

    And ofcourse the way that Smith has matured as a captain.

  7. vmminerva says:

    @Q, that statistics you state are definitely impressive. But I believe this has lead to much of the hype. True, they have a very talented bunch of players with includes a promising set of youngsters in Duminy and the like. But the young ones need to taken with a pinch of salt, for they have much to prove. If we want to nitpick we can, but that isn’t the point. I’m still convinced that while they might be a strong contender for the future #1, there is still something missing. Maybe that is consistency, maybe that’s just an X-factor, maybe that’s just me. I agree with you in that Aus/SA clashes are of high quality and very entertaining. Probably next only to an India/Aus clash (for an Indian fan) and maybe even better for an unbiased fan.

  8. Q says:

    I agree VM, that the likes of Duminy, AB, Morkel, Johnson, Hughes and all have much to prove but Aus and SA are the top 2 teams in the world, hence the hype their series get…

    Just like it used to be WI vs Pak in the 80s and then WI vs Aus in the early to mid 90s.. for the last decade it has pretty much been Aus vs SA and Aus vs Ind.

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