Michael Clarke’s Australia made quite the statement with their 4-0 whitewash of India in the recent Test series which has many people asking if they’re on their way back to the top of cricket.
England remain the world’s number one ranked nation in Test cricket, followed by South Africa, India and now Australia.
For England, who humbled Australia last year in the Ashes Down Under, they will be feeling a tad nervous about their archrivals recent win, having lost themselves to Pakistan in humiliating circumstances this month in UAE.
Meanwhile, the Aussies, led by Clarke, made a major statement, although India’s performance should be noted, as they were very, very poor.
Nonetheless, Clarke said: “We’ve shown a lot of people around the world that we’re on the way up.”
The pleasing part for Australia was the performances of their bowling attack with Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and even spinner Nathan Lyon showing plenty during the series.
Some say, Australia’s current pace attack is the best in the world when you look at the depth it has with Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson.
There’s certainly a lot of youngsters in that attack, while the batting line-up showed it has some youth coming through with David Warner making plenty of runs through the series.
“We’re getting better every day,” Clarke added, before stating there was plenty of hunger among the Australian group after previous disappointments including last year’s Ashes defeat.
“The disappointment of last summer has inspired a few of us. There’s been a bit of fire in the belly,” said Clarke who has grown into his role as skipper.
“It’s a very special feeling to sit here beating India 4-0 knowing that last summer I couldn’t buy a run. The loss in South Africa and the loss against New Zealand is something that every player in that change room has had in the front of their minds.
“You need to go through a few tough times individually and as a team to realise how hard it is in Test cricket but then how special it is when you have days like today.
“There’s a long way to go before we have to play England (in 2013). Right now I’m just enjoying this success against India. It was a big series for me for the main reason that I didn’t perform last summer.”
Indeed, Clarke’s return to form, having scored one triple hundred and one double ton this series, was something which has made people stand up and take notice.
In terms of leading by example, Clarke has certainly done this, with his intense preparation setting the standard for the Australian team. If previous results didn’t appear great under Clarke, it’s because his lead-by-example style will take time but it seems to be taking effect now with a certain attitude returning to the team.
“There has been no magic formula for our sustained success against India. One simple word sums up the reason why we dominated a series against some of the best players in the world – preparation,” Clarke wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph.
“Team-first orientation of sustained pressure and sacrifice is the foundation of great teams and if we can keep doing it we will be a great team one day,” he concluded.
“Our training has been unbelievable. We trained so hard I am not surprised we achieved such success given all the work we’ve put in. We’re training like it’s a game, always applying pressure. Our attitude to training has certainly improved out of sight.
“So to be rewarded for all that effort by beating India 4-0 when they were the No.1 side in the world just a few months ago is something all the guys can be immensely proud of.
“One of the most pleasing aspects of our performance has been the arrival of so many new players. Since I first took over as captain filling in for Ricky Ponting a little over a year ago we have had 10 new players wear the baggy green cap.”
Are they on their way back to number one? Time will tell but if they were ever going to head down a direction, it would’ve been the one Clarke and co have decided upon. Iron out their inconsistencies and this will be a team to be reckoned with again.