Saturday, 25 October 2008

KP - Aussies are in Decline

Sky sports has reported in an interview with England captain Kevin Pietersen that he feels Australia are in Decline.

The Kevin Pietersen article as reported by Sky sports is written below:

Aussies are in decline
Retirements have weakened Ponting's men, says England skipper.

England captain Kevin Pietersen says Australia will be taking a "backward step" if they recall Shane Warne for next year's Ashes.

Australia's spin cupboard is empty following the retirement of Warne and fellow wrist spinners Stuart MacGill and Brad Hogg in the last 18 months.

Leg-spinning all-rounder Cameron White has been unsuccessful in filling the void during the first two Tests of their current tour of India.

Warne, who took 708 wickets in 145 Tests, has previously stated he would consider an Ashes comeback if asked by Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

"I've already had a text from him saying he might play in it next year," said Pietersen, who played with Warne at Hampshire.

"If he does I think it will be a real backwards step for Australia. If they did decide to pull somebody out it would show how much it did mean to Australia, certainly.

"There is still a long way to go before we play them and there is room for improvement - but they certainly aren't the team they were when we played against them last year. Definitely not.


"They took Test cricket to a new level with the side that they had and absolutely hammered us. They really hurt us.

"But the side that is playing for Australia now is certainly not the one we played against two years ago.

"They don't have Glenn McGrath they don't have Adam Gilchrist they are missing some pretty dangerous players. They are missing Justin Langer at the top of the order."

Warne claimed 40 wickets during the 2005 Ashes series but Pietersen insists England would not be fazed if he was to pull on the Baggy Green again.

"To be honest it really doesn't matter if he plays or not. I don't have a problem with it and our guys play Shane pretty well. I enjoy facing Shane," added Pietersen.

Pietersen is currently in Antigua with England's limited-overs squad preparing for the Stanford Super Series.

England then travel to India and the West Indies before the 2009 Ashes summer gets under way.

Pietersen wants to tackle Australia on the back of successive series victories, as they did in 2005.

"We have a very important next few months," he said.

My View:

In my humble opinion; KP is probably right, although I wouldn't want to rile the Aussies too much. It's impossible for a team to lose some of the greatest players of the modern cricketing era and not take a step backwards; Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist are unquestionably modern greats with Langer, Hog and MacGill all top drawer players that can have a significant impact on the result of a match. Australia have got quality players to replace the before mentioned players but it will take time for them to fully establish themselves in the test arena and as stated in the Sky sports article Australia are currently lacking in the spin department.

Although I concur with KP's opinion I can't help but think that if Warne were to decide to come back for Australia during the Ashes in 2009 that he would play a significant role. I'm sure if Warne was to make a return he wouldn't comeback half cooked and would make sure that he would be bowling well!

As an Englishman I would rather not see him return; as a cricket fan it would be great to see him bowl again (if he could find some of the old form as he was a magnificent bowler).