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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 January, 2004, 10:02 GMT
Fans' corner
Australia fan Michael Selig

BBC Sport has teamed up with fans on the TMS message boards to give you a fan's eye view of international cricket.

Each week, we will be choosing one supporter to sound off about his or her team.

This week Michael Selig, 16, who lives in Les Lilas, France, gives his views on his team, Australia.

Who have been your best players in the last year?
Well, Ricky Ponting has enjoyed a sensational year, scoring more than 1500 runs (Australian record) in Tests as well as leading us to World Cup victory without losing a match. Oh and he scored 140 not out in the final beating the most runs scored in a World cup final. Hayden had another excellent year in Tests scoring over 1000 runs at an average and strike-rate of over 70 while Gillespie, when fit, was our best bowler. A special mention to Andy Bichel who took his chance in the one-day games by scoring crucial runs and taking crucial wickets .

And your worst?
Difficult to say as everybody did their job. MacGill only realy did the job against the lower nations but still finished second best wicket taker of the year; Brett Lee has been disappointing in Tests but was second best wicket-taker in the World Cup. Possibly Justin Langer who struggled at the start of the year and never really looked at ease against India, but then he scored two centuries.

Sum up the last year in one word:

Ricky Ponting has been Australia's star of 2003
Ricky Ponting has been Australia's star of 2003

Now sum it up in 50:
It would have been fantastic had we beaten India and perfect had we started with an Ashes whitewash at Sydney, but winning the World Cup (we won all our games), beating the West Indies in Tests and one-days, winning two triangular one-day tournaments as well as thrashing Bangladesh and Zimbabwe wasn't too bad!

Which Australian ground is your favourite to watch international cricket at and why?
Definitely the MCG. Its atmosphere and aura are second to none. The Adelaide Oval is the most beautiful ground in Australia but the MCG is very special.

Are there any promising youngsters in your squad?
Michael Clarke is exciting all the Aussie fans; he's scoring masses of runs and it seems just a matter of time before he replaces Steve Waugh in our middle-order. I also like the look of Ashley Noffke who's a bit of a Glenn McGrath type bowler and Cameron White, a leg-spinning all-rounder who's captaining Victoria at the age of 20.

Player your team couldn't cope without?
Another tricky one, I would have to say Ricky Ponting for his batting, captaincy and fielding.

Which opposition players do your fans most respect?
Apart from the obvious Tendulkar and Lara who we all fear, Rahul Dravid gained our respect with a series of astonishing scores in the latest series, while we have always respected England's Darren Gough for his whole-hearted commitment and because he likes to have fun with the crowd.

If you could choose one of these to play for Australia, which would it be?
Probably Rahul Dravid because he would add solidity to our middle-order.

Best game ever seen:
World cup semi-final tie between Australia and South Africa at Birmingham in 1999. So many little things like a good bit of fielding turning two into one influenced the outcome.

Worst game seen:
Probably the first Test between Australia and Bangladesh earlier this year: it was never exciting, never a contest and all I was interested in was whether Steve Waugh would get a ton.

Funniest thing seen at a match:
Billy Bowden's signalling!

Australia's new star Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke is set to shine in 2004

Favourite all-time player:
Shane Warne: he has such an amazing aura, you can't take your eyes off him when he's bowling.

Worst player even seen:
Probably Nagamootoo of the West Indies: he bowled leg-spin with his fingers. He doesn't flight it and he doesn't turn it.

What kind of impact did winning the World Cup have in Australia?
It wasn't that huge to be honest; we were already World Champions and most people expected us to win, not least our fans. However, winning all the games represented quite an achievement and winning the final so convincingly silenced our doubters who said we were wavering after a great start. It was also great to beat the Poms (again)!

What do you think of Steve Waugh and his contribution to cricket?
Steve Waugh's contribution to cricket cannot be overestimated; he helped turn Australia from a good team to one of the best ever.

Although his figures aren't in the league of Bradman or indeed Tendulkar, to keep an average of over 50 as well as having the second most amount of Test runs, the most amount of Tests played, second most Test tons and best record as captain speaks for itself.

His best performances have always come with us under pressure as witnessed by his 120 not out against South Africa at Leeds in the '99 World Cup, mainly because he always thought Australia could win and thus never panicked; it was only fitting he would bow out with a match (and series) saving 80 against India .

Were you surprised by India's performance in the recent Test series?
Yes, very. I must admit I expected another thrashing, particularly after the warm-up matches, but India performed brilliantly, particularly Rahul Dravid who many (including myself) didn't believe capable of scoring runs in Australia.

How will Australia fare in the VB Series against India and Zimbabwe?
Despite the minor set-back in the Tests, I expect the Aussies to win this Series. Whenever we're under pressure I would back my team to win and although it's possible to beat Australia once or twice, I have always said that beating them in a series isn't done too often. I'm looking forward to seeing Michael Clarke again.

How long do you think Australia's dominance of world cricket will continue?
Well, I think India and Pakistan are best placed to take over, but I would guess another five years at least. The depth in batting is huge with players such as Love, Cox and Hussey not in the team and while the bowling cupboard looked a little bare against India, I think the high scores reflected more the great standard of batting by both sides and the flat wickets than the poor bowling. We also dropped too many catches which didn't help.


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