It's an unfamiliar situation that Australia find themselves in at the moment. The team that was invincible in all forms of the game just some time back is now finding it hard to win matches consistently. A 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the arch-rivals England is the latest of the wounds inflicted on the Kangaroos. The question that raises is whether the Australians have their minds fixed on a Test revival, especially the Ashes - which is starting to cost them in the ODIs.
In the past one year, Australia have lost more one-day internationals (14 out of 29) than they have managed to win (13, with one tied and one with no result). It's hard to believe that a team, which once held a record of winning successive games and three World Cups in a row, has had such a record. Their performance in Test matches, after they drubbed India 4-0 at home, clearly emphasises where their priorities lie. They have won 9 of the 14 matches, losing just two and drawing three, since July 2011.
With Ashes lurking, bringing back the urn from England seems to be the only thing on their mind. But aren't they sacrificing too much by concentrating solely on Test cricket, especially the Ashes? And though the purists of the game may not find anything wrong in this approach, Australia's world-wide fan base will want them to do equally well in the other forms as well.
Australia need to take a cue from England, who are the Test No. 1 as well as the reigning T20 champions.
It won't be too much to say that Australia are still coming to terms with the departure of the legends like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Mathew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. And with Ricky Ponting too having his best past him, Australia's transition phase could get a a bit prolonged. Though Michael Clarke has done reasonably well after taking over the reins from Ponting, his side is still in search of the deserving candidates who can be called as the worthy successors of their great predecessors.
Many players – young and old – have been tried by Cricket Australia and coach Mickey Arthur, but the bar set by McGrath and Co. is so high that none of the upcoming player is able to come even close to that. It's not that CA has not shown enough faith in its players and has not given them a longer run, it's just that the players have found it hard to get going at the international level - consistently.
Australia need to take a leaf out of England's book, who are the No. 1 Test team, reigning T20 champions and cleaned up Australia in an ODI series at home. The key, probably lies in an all-round approach, which is where England are leaving teams behind.