What does it say of a side who, on the verge of losing three established players to pasture – two of whom have almost single-handedly provided the jugger in the naut for the past 15 years – seem unfazed by the effect it will have? Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne have both announced their retirements and it seems Justin Langer is next.
It just seems Australia all have their rose-tinted goggles on. It’s certainly time to celebrate their careers, but what the hell about the future? Is this blind, cocky, Australian arrogance that these three can be easily replaced? Langer can – Australia have enough batting reserves to form another side entirely – but what about the bowlers? Stuart Clark has been remarkably consistent since he came in, but how will he respond being the attack leader in the absence of McGrath and Warne? The pair fed off each other for 12-15 years: one sucking the confidence and fluency out of the batsmen at one end to allow a more attacking line from the other. Clark has benefited hugely from both of them. And as good as he clearly is, I refuse to believe he is the new McGrath.
Brett Lee is never going to be the Test bowler Steve Waugh expected he would become. He is brilliant in one-dayers but too expensive, too raw in Tests to lead the attack (which makes Clark’s introduction to the side even more important). So, assuming Langer retires, what would your Australia side look like for 2007?
As ever, they have the best part of a year in which to formulate a replacement team; they’re in India for a Test series in November but, before then, one-day cricket reigns supreme.