Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 4

Australia – The most successful team in the history of Cricket, five-time World Cup champions, incredible test record at home and away, also hold the record for the most consecutive wins (16) and their phenomenal list of their records can just go on and on. They have been one of the hardest team to beat since the inception of this sport. Any cricket fan who resides from this part of the world can proudly say what their team has achieved in the past. From Donald Bradman to Steven Smith, they have produced world class cricketers in all aspects. So in this article, I will be interviewing one of the fans who has been following Australian cricket for quite some time and is a massive fan of a certain someone who has been called names like G.O.A.T., Gary, Gaz, Lion and many other names as his display picture clearly suggests that.

Thank you for your participation in this interview, tell me how did you become a fan of Australian Cricket? Share your early memories of watching this sport.

It was the Ashes 2013-14. Mitch created absolute havoc in that series. That attracted my interest. I did some research on the ASHES, got fascinated upon reading the history and stuffs; and that way one thing led to another. Kerry Packer’s WSC was my major interest. Did some more research, fell in love with the channel 9 commentary done by Bill, Richie and Tony… This way, there was just no looking back 🙂 Became an Aussie fan.

The person in your dp or should I say GOAT said that he rates Aus/Ind series at par with the Ashes, your thoughts on this rivalry.

Absolutely it is! If there’s any test series that clings near to the Ashes in terms of importance, then it has to be the B-G Trophy. Always has been; but presently its at its peak mate. The 2003-04 series was a major checkpoint that ignited this spirit. For arguably the first time, the Indian team under Ganguly came back from Australia thinking, ”Man we could’ve won it!”. This spirit redefined the rivalry b/w the two nations. Now India was producing players that could challenge AUS in AUS. At home, we obviously have a better record than Aus. But now, things started to change. 2008 series was full of controversy, 2011 was a bust for India; while Ind won their first series down under last year. So, this shows how intense the rivalry b/w these two nations has become. There’s sledging, drama, magneficent performances; everything!

Which is your favourite match between these two teams. Which is that one match that you can never get tired of watching the highlights irrespective of the format?

If its test cricket; then the Adelaide test (2003) stands out for me. We had to work so damn hard for that win! When a team lke Aus scores 500+ on a flat Adelaide wicket; then the odds are wel against you tbh. But the way India went on to win it was awesome. Agarkar and Dravid’s class was worth seeing.

Aus vs Eng, Aus vs Ind, Aus vs NZ, Aus vs SA, Aus vs WI, Aus vs SL – It seems like whichever team Australia play, they already have a rich cricketing history shared between the respective team or opposition, what is the secret of their success in your opinion? What makes the opposition say that beating Aus in Aus is almost equivalent to winning the World Cup? 

Australia has been a proud cricketing nation. Ever since the 20th century. Whether it be the era of ‘The Invincibles’ under Sir Bradman, or the era under Richie Benaud in the 50s, Lawry in the 60s and Chappell in the 70s-80s, also Border in the 90s and Waugh till the early 2000s. And then Punter. Aus has always had SUPERB Leaders. Beating them was no school lay mate. Leave alone beating them at home. They have always been strong. STRONGEST Team, to be precise. Long and proud history of superstar players. So ofc the other teams of that era couldn’t beat them easily at all; which still contines (except teams like SA who have had the better of the OZ since the early 2000s) So the answer is quite obvious- Australia has always been that team whom every cricket team dreams of beating at home. Seriously.

Australia – 5 World Cup Trophies – most number of World Cups by a team – how proud are you of this stat? Can you share your memories of any World Cup victory that you like?

5 WCs- It’s a powerful stat in itself! Really proud. Umm….I started watching cricket in 2010. So 2015 WC victory is the only one I could witness. Having said that, my favourite WC memory is from 1999, Edgbaston. Allan Donald’s run-out. Man, what an absolute thriller of an end! AUS didn’t start the WC ideally, yet went on to win it. It was a great comeback and much greater achievement!

Australia Vs England – there have been some amazing contests between these two teams. How would you describe this pinnacle series – The Ashes -in your words.

Oh man. 2005? Arguably the best Ashes series ever played. At that time, England dreamt of beating Australia in an ashes. So dominating was that Oz side. Before the First Test some Australians, including fast bowler Glenn McGrath, were suggesting that a 5–0 win in the series for Australia was a serious possibility. When Eng lost that first test at Edgbaston,  people must be like, “Here goes the Ashes”. But neh, Eng won the second test at Lord’s by a mere 2 runs! Then drew the third, won the 4th, and drew the 5th again. Won it 2 to 1. Unbelievable. Who knew? Australia haven’t won an Ashes in England ever since. Still IDK what happened!

The 2019 Ashes series must have been bittersweet for you guys. Bitter because Australia couldn’t go across the line in the third test and Sweet because y’all managed to retain Ashes. Few words on that marvellous series?

OMG, with that team, 2-2 is still a prize! In the first test, we were like what, 128 for 7? Damn I was cringed. But Smudge was in golden touch all through. Summed up with Wade’s heroics, we won the 1st at Edgbaston. 2nd test match was drawn under remarkable circumstances, with Smudge v Archer battle taking some real shape! Labuschagne rose in the ranks. 3rd test broke some hearts, it really did. Can’t express how much. Painey’s dumb review, Gary’s fumble and Wilson’s decision making spoiler it for us. Ben had a day out. 4th test match was comprehensive, and we retained th ashes! Superb comeback. Joyous day! At the Oval, we should’ve batted first, but Painey opted to bowl. And we lost. Sad we couldn’t win it. But altogether, it was a superb ending resultwise!

It was the redemption year for Steve Smith during the 2019 Ashes series scoring a mammoth 774 runs at an average of 110. But let’s go one year behind and talk about Sandpaper Gate – did you feel that this bloke who had already established himself as the best Test batsmen then, go on and do further wonders for Australia after going through what happened in South Africa? 

I was sure that he’d make a good comeback, he’s tough. But not this great man! Straight away makes a mark! 2 consecutive 100s at a ground home to the most hostile crowd in England! Phew. He was just phenomenal. This was his first test since the Cape Town match in 2018. He never seemed to be rustic at all, which is unbelievable. Look, Smudge loves batting. So it was just a matter of time before he was gonna find his previous touch. But he did it quite fast, did he not? Without his heroics, AUS had no chance in that Ashes, whatsoever. The fire of redemption makes you do remarkable things.

Would you like to create a Dream 11 of Australian cricketers? Would be tough but can you give it a go?

I’ll make a general all time XI! Which ofc is for test cricket

Matthew Hayden
Dave Warner
Sir Don Bradman
Ricky Ponting (c)
Steve Smith/ Greg Chappell
Adam Gilchrist (wk)
Keith Miller
Glenn McGrath
Shane Warne
Dennis Lilee
Nathan Lyon

Johnson, Thompson, Benaud, Steve Waugh as reserves.

Couple of interesting names there in that list but that’s @FervidCrickster for you. An ardent genuine follower of Australian cricket and a massive fan of The Ashes as his bio clearly suggests that. Thank you so much for reading this article, there are plenty of interviews yet to come. My next guest in this series is very special. Hint – he is from South Africa. Will be posting that interview by next week. Follow me on Twitter – @bhavsarJ2_0

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