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Feature – Why Australia are best poised to win the Test Championship

At 2-1 down in Border-Gavaskar Series, it seems Australia are destined to lose yet another series on Indian soil. Despite Australia’s recent success over the summer, defeating the West Indies and South Africa, it feels a pessimistic lull has passed over Australian cricket.

In the first two tests against India, Australia got embarrassed. It was not until the third test an aberration occurred, where the Australian’s beat India by nine wickets.

As such, while the Australian’s have been convincingly beaten in two of the three tests, I feel Australia have never been in a more advantageous position, to not only level the series but also win the test championship.

What is it about a team which transcends them from being good to great? Is it the coach? The Calibre of player? Their history? For me it is all these things. However, one is missing… maturity. In a sport like cricket, which requires incredible concentration and self-belief, being mature is at the forefront of being successful.

This is what the Australian team has. Their secret weapon if you will.

In the Australian test team in that of Starc, Hazelwood, Lyon, Cummins, Carey, Green, Head, Labuschagne, Smith, Khawaja and Warner, all but Green are married. Moreover, six of these eleven players have children.

The dad army!

In the past year, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Usman Khawaja have become fathers. This has complemented the respective weddings of Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins, who both tied the knot with their partners in 2022.

The Australian side has never had a greater opportunity to elicit the success out of its players as well as what they do now.

According to stalwarts of the game, a balanced life outside of the professional sporting arena, is a massive contributing factor to being successful.

This is particularly apparent in test cricket where players must travel internationally regularly, which means being with family helps players keep their sanity and focus on life outside of cricket.

Consider Travis Head. Since Head has had his first child in September, he has had scores of 99, 175, 38*, 92, 0, 51, 70, 12, 43, 9, 49*.

When batting, Head has become a prolific run-scorer and done so in a way where he has relished his natural, aggressive gameplay.

Coincidence? I think not.

Compare Travis Head’s stellar batting to that of Usman Khawaja, who since the birth of his child in April 2022, has scored five half centuries and an unbeaten 195 against South Africa, in his last 10 test matches.

Coincidence? No.

Even Marnus Labuschagne joined the trend, who since his first child has had scores of: 204, 104*, 31, 163, 11, 5, 14, 79, 49, 17, 18, 35, 31, 28*, at an average of 66.

While I am speculating, I wonder if these players would have had the same success had they been at different stages in their life?

In fact, I wonder whether these players would have had the same success had they not become fathers?

The only exception to this father to success relationship is David Warner, who despite scoring a Boxing Day double century, has only managed 36-runs in his last four test matches.

Interestingly, when Warner had his first child in 2014, he averaged 94 in his next 12 test innings, including six centuries and three half centuries.

Regardless of whether or not Warner deserves Test selection, his maturity and experience is what makes him valuable in the side.

Resent the Aussie team or not, they have become increasingly mature. Therefore, I feel this maturity will elicit subsequent success.

However, while the composition of the Australian side is strong and mature, they must capitalise on their opportunities to achieve success, as eight of the eleven players who played in the last test are over the age of thirty.

With an upcoming Ashes, Test World Championship and series defining match against India, the dad army AKA the Australian men’s test team must establish their own legacy or else they risk being left in mediocrity.

Third year journalism student, with a passion for Australian sport.

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