Plenty of cause for celebration at the SCG early afternoon of Monday 8th January as Australia wrapped up the Ashes 4-0.
Pat Cummins Man of the Match and Steve Smith very deservedly, Man of the Series.
Lyon could have been a worthy recipient of the bowler most likely to make a needed breakthrough, especially if Moeen Ali was at the crease.
The New South Wales quartet of bowlers Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon have achieved the rare distinction of taking all 20 wickets in each of the 5 Tests.
Selectors or selections of Sean and Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine and Usman Khawaja have all been vindicated as the team basks in the glory of the Ashes triumph.
It is good to see a resurgence of Australian Test cricket; however, as Steve Smith pointed out in post series interviews there is still a long way to travel for this team if it is to be seriously regarded as a team verging on peak performance – that is, it can win anywhere, home or away, over a long period of time.
Looking at the numbers below from 2017 (www.allthatcricket.com), Australian Test cricket has a lot to do – despite the current Ashes win.
Some of the mountains to climb on the way to peak performance, for which we will have a real measure by the time Australia returns to England to defend the Ashes in June 2019, will be –
- Becoming the dominant peak performance team in world cricket after this was the first Ashes series since 1984 that each Test went to day 5.
- Increasing the winning % Of Tests compared with 2017 results (see table below provided by allthatcricket.com)
- Like all the leading Test teams, Australia plays well at home, but cannot repeat these results overseas
- Improving the winning margins (see table below provided by allthatcricket.com)
- When Australia wins, it generally wins well – meaning it gets on a roll, and is hard to stop
- Can Australia learn a way to grind out close fought wins especially overseas?
- in March 2018, overcoming South Africa whose Test results for 2017 are similar to Australia – the coming series will be a very good gauge of the progress this Australian team is making
With Joe Root mentally and physically drained after the Ashes, it will be interesting to see how the ODI format will regenerate the winning ways that England have developed over the past 12 months as the data suggests – see short form tables below provided by www.allthatcricket.com
- England should enter the short format series verses Australia as favourites if 2017 results are the best indicator
- The ECB have described Trevor Bayliss’ role as Head Coach – firstly improve the results of England’s short form team with the silverware of World Cups the primary measure
- Australian selections have attracted some attention again with the mantra of ‘..doing well in domestic competitions in order to gain selection in Australian teams….’ being a repetitive soundbite. However, it would seem there are contradictory messages for some being excluded and some being included. Opinions vary, but as I have reiterated a number of times, the current selection system is archaic and wasteful of resources which could be better directed for the longterm benefit of the game.
Peak performance is not accorded to any team or organisation on the back of one or two results. It is earned over a sustained period of time against many circumstances which are not favourable.
Boof Lehmann and Steve Smith are well aware of what needs to be done, and how this can best be achieved.
There are good signs from this current Ashes result.
Hopefully the short form format will continue to build upon the baggy green efforts.
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