Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 23

Australia – The most successful team in the history of Cricket, five-time World Cup champions, incredible test record at home and away, also holds the record for the most consecutive wins (16) and their phenomenonal list of their records just goes 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. I got the opportunity to interact with one of the fans residing from this part of the world – Charbel Coorey – who also has his own blog – https://cricblog.net/ – with content such as previews, predictions, player ratings and opinions.

What’s it like growing up in Australia where Cricket is one of the most popular sport?

It has been amazing growing up in Australia, as it has really allowed my love for cricket to grow more and more. My father migrated to Australia from overseas in the 70’s, and he fell in love with cricket right away as it was so popular in this country. 

As a result, the game was introduced to me at a young age, where I started playing as 9-year old. Cricket is huge in my extended family, which has seen endless games of backyard cricket at our grandparent’s house. Also, whenever you go to the beach in summer, you see countless games of cricket as well. Go to a bar, the cricket is on and people are talking about it. It’s just fantastic.

Have you been fortunate enough to watch any Cricket match live in a stadium? 

Yes, I have. My first match was actually a state game between New South Wales and Victoria in the early 2000’s. Glenn McGrath was involved in that match, so to watch him bowl was a special moment as I looked up to him. I have been to international and BBL games as well. One special game I have been to was Australia vs India 2012 day 1 SCG, where James Pattinson bowled beautifully to the Indian batsmen. Another was the classic T20I between Australia and India at the SCG in 2016, where the Indians chased down 198. Incredible atmosphere in those games.

The Ashes is considered as the Apex of Cricket rivalry, tell us your favourite Ashes moments and which series did you enjoy the most. 

I have a few favourite Ashes moments. 

  • My favourite is undoubtedly Adelaide in 2006/07, where Australia won a game that was almost certain to be a draw. I remember watching day five with such joy after so much concern earlier in the Test that England could level the series 1-1. 
  • Australia sealing the Ashes in Perth 2013/14, and Ryan Harris’ delivery to Alastair Cook is a moment that will be etched in my mind forever.
  • Most recently, the 2019 Edgbaston Test is also a special moment for me. Steve Smith made his return to Test cricket after his ban, and overcame a hostile Edgbaston crowd to score two incredible centuries and lead Australia to victory.

However, the series I enjoyed most has to be the 2005 series. It hurt that Australia lost, but there is no doubt that this series was one of the best ever Ashes series ever played. 

Your favourite Australia vs India rivalry, tell us your two favourite matches/series between these two teams in the longest format of the game. (One match/series at home and other in India) 

My top two favourite Australia-India series in Tests:

  1. India vs Australia, 2004: I am in love with this series. It was Australia’s first triumph in India since 1969, and it made up for the heartbreak in 2001. Michael Clarke’s debut hundred in Bangalore is a memory that sticks with me, as well as Damien Martyn’s catch at Nagpur to seal the series. It was such a happy moment for Aussie fans and one that confirmed that the Aussie side of the late 90’s/early 2000’s was one of cricket’s greatest.
  2. Australia vs India 2007/08: This series was unfortunately marred by a controversial Sydney Test. However, what makes this series one of my favourites was the sheer competitiveness of it. India put up a really great fight against a fine Aussie side, highlighted most by Rahul Dravid’s sheer desire to keep batting even when out of form, as well as 19-year old Ishant Sharma getting the better of Ricky Ponting in a classic spell at Perth. An enjoyable series.

How do you think Steve Smith vs Virat Kohli battle (Across all formats) will pan out in the next 5 years? 

Two incredible players and I feel very fortunate to be witnessing them both at the same time. I really think Steve Smith has taken his white-ball game to another level in recent times. However, Virat Kohli’s white-ball game is really on another level, and I think Kohli will remain ahead in the white-ball formats. In Tests, I believe Smith is ahead and his sheer love for batting will keep him ahead. One thing for sure is that both players are the kind to work very hard on their game, and will want to be the best they can in all formats. It promises to be a great battle.

Australia, like India, have not been dominant in one format and that is T20 inspite of them having their own respective franchise based T20 League, what could be the reason in your opinion. 

I think Test cricket still rules in Australia. It is the format we love the most, and give the greatest priority to. It has only been in the last year that Australia has had a settled T20 team and solid T20 focus, in preparation for the World Cup (which has now been postponed).

For India, I think they need to stick with a core group of players a little better. There is often chopping and changing, particularly in the middle order, which doesn’t allow for consistent performances and results.

Australia vs England, Australia vs India, Australia vs New Zealand, Australia vs South Africa, Australia vs Windies – 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 always played aggressive cricket and have tried to get under the skin of opponents. This certainly gets opponents fired up, which makes them more motivated to try and beat Australia. Also, Australia have such an incredible record at home (for example, Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba in Brisbane since the late 1980’s), which also motivates touring teams to overcome such a strong home side. If you can beat Australia in Australia, you can be considered a very fine team, which is certainly a motivator.

For this final question, let’s create a dream team not only consisting of Australian players but also India and as well as England Cricketers. (You can include players from any team out of these three and from any era)

This is a very tough one as there have been some remarkable cricketers for all three countries over the years. With any discussion like these, some amazing players are bound to be left out. After much thought, here is my Dream Test XI consisting of Australia, India and England players. 

  1. Matthew Hayden
  2. Sunil Gavaskar
  3. Sachin Tendulkar
  4. Sir Donald Bradman ©
  5. Sir Wally Hammond
  6. Sir Ian Botham
  7. Adam Gilchrist (wk)
  8. Shane Warne
  9. Dennis Lillee
  10. Fred Trueman/Anil Kumble (depending on conditions)
  11. Glenn McGrath

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