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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Justin Langer column
Justin Langer
By Justin Langer
Former Australia Test batsman and current Somerset captain

Amid the controversy and adulation of the World Cup, one fact stands alone, and that is this Australian cricket team are not only the current champions but arguably one of the greatest outfits to walk onto a cricket field.

Looking down the team list, Australia simply have everything.

Not only does the team boast some of the best batsmen to have played the game; namely Ricky Ponting, Matty Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.

But they also have a group just behind them who could prove to be some of the best ever in a few years' time in Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey and Andrew Symonds.

Ponting, McGrath and Gilchrist show off the World Cup trophy
Ponting, McGrath and Gilchrist show off the World Cup trophy

In the bowling department, Glenn McGrath has been a colossus in every sense of the word, Shaun Tait is the world's quickest, Nathan Bracken the most economically miserly and Brad Hogg as clever and reliable as any one-day spinner in the international competition.

Add to this, the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle in Shane Watson, who has shown why he is potentially the world's best all-rounder, and there just isn't any weakness in this team.

A great team can also be judged by the players sitting on the sidelines and in the Australian squad there are players who would be among the first chosen in any of the other teams in this World Cup tournament.

With a hint of cynicism I will now ask, where have all the critics gone?

It was only a few months ago the critics of the Australian team came out in force.

Coach John Buchanan's tactical judgement was being questioned when the team was training in overdrive during the finals of the one-day competition in Australia, won by England, and then during the Chappell-Hadlee series in New Zealand.

At the time I remember smiling at some of the criticism. Australia had lost five games on the trot and Buchanan had apparently lost his marbles once and for all.

But he took it all on the chin, as hard as that would have been, and asked people to judge his team after the World Cup.

Like so many of his calls during his tenure as coach he has had to trust his instincts, and invariably his patience and courage has paid dividends nearly every time.

John Buchanan
Buchanan ended his reign with a World Cup win

His greatest strength is his vision and like almost all visionaries the price he has had to pay for this legacy is constant criticism and ridicule from the hoards of doubters out there.

Again and again though his ambitions for the team have been realised and it is because of this that he will be remembered as a great cricket coach, who will be missed.

With his vision and the unadulterated talent within the group has come a philosophy of constant improvement and in the last seven weeks this has been on display stronger and more emphatically than ever before.

It is hardly believable that there can be such an apparent gap between this team and the rest.

Leading into the final, the team was fired up like they were for the last Ashes series.

You could hear it in the voices of the guys that winning this World Cup meant so much to them.

At the start of the summer and during Buchanan's boot camp last Australian winter, another target of ridicule, the squad set out to win the ICC Championship, regain the Ashes and win a third consecutive World Cup.

To their credit this dream has been realised in a more dramatic and ruthless fashion than anyone could have predicted.

It would be fair to say that everyone involved is feeling on top of the world, smiling with warmth of satisfaction few of us could ever understand.

From Taunton,
JL


SEE ALSO
Ponting expects continued success
29 Apr 07 |  Australia
Nathan Bracken column
29 Apr 07 |  Australia


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