You thought Australia was the best team in the world !
If yes, think again......  
By Ali Yawer Usmani

So you thought that the Australians are the greatest cricketing team in the world! Think again.

How would you react if I claimed that the South Africans have been a better one, relatively, than Australians in the last one-year or so.

There has been a considerable talk in the media about the Aussies success since they won the world cup, and they have been proclaimed no. 1 at the moment. But then success is relative and is determined by many other factors such as the quality of opposition, home advantages etc.

So let us have a closer look at the recent fast performance of both South Africa and Australia and find it out for ourselves as to which team is really better? Before they won the world cup last year, the Aussies had just toured the Windies, where they could manage a draw in the series, against the team, which just prior to that, had been drubbed 5.0 by the South Africa.

Even in the 1999 World Cup Australians weren’t so convincing, until the very last stage. But do remember here, they never won the semi-finals, it was a tie.

The only success they had in test matches last year was against India and Pakistan (though a few of them were through questionable means especially the second test against Pak at Hobart) both the teams, which have traditionally never done well in the past, on the bouncy hard pitches of Australia or South Africa, and so the result was only to be expected, not because of the Australia’s strength but the opposition’s weakness.

But, yes they had a worthy victory in New Zealand for which they reserve some real credit. On the other hand, compare this with South Africa’s performance over the same period. If Aussies can boast of a perfect summer (6-0 against the two visitors) than South Africa have done it too against WI the same thing. They came to India and won a test Series where no other team had done so in the last 14 years including the Australians.

This all not withstanding the match fixing allegations that surfaced later on. Secondly, they drew the rubber with the Sri Lankans in test matches recently and here too the Australians were a failure where they lost the series and also the one-day finals. (And we say that Aussies are a better players of spin), just remember Muralitharan.

In their head to head clashes during April they defeated the Aussies (2-2) in the one dayers and more importantly managed a draw in the return series recently at Melbourne. This all, when perhaps they are facing one of the darkest periods of cricketing history in their country and without the services of one of their most successful and best player of one dayers -  Hansie Cronje. Considering all this, it becomes quite clear that South Africans had a better record, vis a vis Australia against most teams and that too on the foreign soil which the Aussies have failed to do. Now if these statistics don’t prove that South Africans are the best team in the World, better than Australians, then What Does?


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