I know that in Australia losing an Ashes series 3-1 to England is seen as a bit of a disaster. Losing it at home in such spectacular style (like they did), is probably regarded as a major disaster.
At the time I didn’t think the future of Australian cricket was as bad as we were led to believe it was. They still had quality players like Watson, Clarke, Ponting, Hussey, Haddin, Harris and on his day (once every 12 months) Mitchell Johnson.
Obviously England were the better team, but the gap between the sides was probably slightly exaggerated by the fact that England were in top form, while Australia were a team with no confidence that descended into a shambles by Sydney.
The chopping and changing of players, the provisional 17 man squad, etc, all these thing obviously didn’t help, as has just been pointed out by Shane Watson in his new book.
Just a few months on and look at things now. Michael Clarke has settled in fairly well as captain, Australia are starting to climb the test rankings again, they have just won a test series on the sub continent, they are still the No.1 ranked ODI side in the world, they have a top class all rounder (something lacking in most other test teams) and Phil Hughes and Shaun Marsh are starting to settle in at test level.
In Sri Lanka the batting looked in good shape, but I’m not totally convinced by the attack. When Ryan Harris doesn’t play it looks fairly average, and Harris doesn’t have the greatest fitness record. Newcomers Nathan Lyon and Trent Copeland did ok, but neither of them really set the world on fire and I’m not sure they are the answer (although in fairness I didn’t see enough of the series to judge them, just their online stats). While Mitchell Johnson was his usual self, need I say more.
With that in mind, there is still plenty of improving to be done. But I do have to ask myself, was it ever really that bad?