It’s really not been all that super, has it? John Stern, editor of The Wisden Cricketer in his column, Stern Words, wrote before this series:
Australia will be so up for it as to make the contest potentially one-sided despite the obvious talent they will be facing. Had Australia beaten England, the chances are that the World XI players might have fancied it more than the Australians. The opposite now seems to be true.
While the matches haven’t been wholly one-sided, Australia have certainly outplayed World XI who, as a team, lack the intensity that a group of players (a “team”) who represent a country usually have. It’s a shame, though; Lara, Flintoff, Sangakarra, Shoaib, Gayle…some fine, fine players. And my boss made a good point about the trouble the series faces; we see so much cricket these days that we’ve become spoilt for choice. The tasty prospect of picking Murali’s doosra isn’t a rare enough occasion to get excited about. Lara? Christ, I’ve seen him bat more than some of England’s players.
So what can the future of a “world series” hold? After England’s memorable summer, Australia – the caged animal, as John said – has fought back, determined to show the world that they are indeed the best. Better than all the rest, as (and I shudder that I know this) Tina Turner once said. But these two victories are a feeble attempt at confirming their waning authority as cricket’s leaders, not that that is Australia’s (or Cricket Australia’s) fault.
It’s the fault of the Ashes. Damn this summer, and damn all that participated; any other cricketing contest now seems weak and watery in comparison.