LADIES and gentlemen, we are in crisis.
A crisis of the worst kind.
Our national icon, the Australian Cricket Team, has fallen off a talent cliff.
Plunged more than fell, and the decline appears a long way off halting.
Aside from a rain- interrupted rearguard yesterday, it's pretty hard to argue we are not in a cricketing conundrum.
The talent pool just looks a little too thin for our liking.
Gone are the days of Mike Hussey, Jimmy Maher, Stuart Law, Brad Hodge and other prolific run-scorers who have been out of the Australian frame for years. Or of Stuart MacGill's ripping leg breaks in state cricket, yet waiting for Warney to be injured.
We had a long line of Test-ready stars plying their trade in Sheffield Shield, waiting for an opportunity to acquire a much sought-after position in the Australian XI.
That line appears pretty short these days.
Scanning around the states, there isn't a raft of household names that jump out and scream 'I should be playing Test cricket'.
So what is the answer?
I saw a funny letter to the editor the other day saying the size of backyards in new homes was to blame for our nation's decline.
Bit of a stretch, but there is some merit in what he's saying. Perhaps new developments should now be conditioned to include a cricket net or pitch in each new park they create?
I could think of nothing better and no easier way to safeguard our national pride against embarrassing middle-order collapses.
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