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  Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 12:57 GMT
Nothing lasts forever

Australia's latest Ashes victory was their eight in a row. That makes it 11 Test triumphs in their last 12 and 32 Test wins for captain Steve Waugh.

Can anyone (or anything) stop them?


Keeping up with the Joneses
The highest form of flattery is imitation, and Australia will increasingly find other countries adopting their successful blueprint.

England have already copied Australia's much-vaunted Academy to prepare young players for Test cricket and have recently appointed a chief medical officer.

They have also increased the number of central contracts to 20 to protect players from the rigours of the county circuit in between Test matches.

As other countries drag themselves into the modern era, Australia might begin to find themselves pegged back.


Complacency/boredom
South Africa are comfortably the second-best cricket team in the world, but the thrashing they took against Australia last winter highlighted the gulf that still exists between the two sides.

Waugh recently admitted that some recent Australian victories had been "a bit easy".

A lack of competition can lead to complacency, and sooner or later a young team hungry for success will knock the Aussies off their perch.


Injuries pile-up
Australian opener Matthew Hayden was only cleared to play in the third Tests against England after undergoing surgery for haemorrhoids.

If Australia continue to dominate matches so easily then there players will have nothing else to do but sit on their backsides.

Piles could become a recurring problem.


Nothing lasts for ever
For nearly two decades the West Indies were the most exciting team in the world and 20 years ago they held the World Cup, Frank Worrell Trophy and Wisden Trophy simultaneously.

No longer. They have lost 30 of their last 43 Tests out of the Caribbean and New Zealand's victory in June suggests they are becoming increasingly vulnerable at home.

Former West Indies' cricket board president Pat Rousseau recently admitted his fear that his team would be "underprepared and embarrass ourselves" at the forthcoming World Cup.


The squad aren't getting any younger
The average age of Australia's 12-man Ashes squad is 31.

With only Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Ricky Ponting under the age of 30, it is clear that the current Australian squad will have to be dismantled sooner rather than later.

Whoever follows John Buchanan as coach faces a huge rebuilding job.


Difficult for new players to break through
The success of Australia's record-breaking team means the pressure is immediately on any new player to live up to the efforts of his team-mates.

Darren Lehmann is the most recent example of a player who has suffered.

The 32-year-old has racked up records and awards in domestic competitions in Australia and England but has found it difficult to make his mark in the Test arena.


Christmas goodwill
Australia could get carried away with goodwill during the festive season and pledge to match the injuries England have for the last two Tests.

Alex Tudor gets a free bowl at Brett Lee's head and Glenn McGrath attempts a 'Simon Jones'.

All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

Tour in review

Test series

Clickable guides

Background

Play the game
Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


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