(A personal rant from one very happy Australian fan)
To say that I am excited would be an understatement. After watching Australia lose three consecutive series to the stubborn Englishmen in the northern hemisphere, safe to say I, and all other Australians, wanted to hold the “urn” aloft.
I’m not about to tell you the story of the Ashes; no, there’s a much more immediate situation at the moment, and that is Australia regaining the Ashes, on home soil of all things.
What started out as nerves before the Gabba test on November 21st turned into pure elation for the Australian test team in Perth on December 17th.
Looking at the series in the United Kingdom earlier this year, you might say that the Australian team that has shown up for the some series is not the same, in many aspects. Well, you would be right.
It was a team effort from start to finish. The individual efforts from each player became an instrumental part in taking charge in each test. From Captain Michael Clarke came an attacking mentality, and this spread across the rest of the team.
Mitchell Johnson, forever the “enemy” of Australian fans, has given every ounce of determination that he has to help Australia. Work ethic has evidently changed under coach Darren Lehmann. Having an Australian at the helm of an Australian team has changed the culture of the side.
It did not happen overnight, but the change started to show in August, in the UK summer Ashes series. There was a fluctuating momentum shift throughout the UK summer, and it may have just been the catalyst for the demolition we have seen over these past 3-4 weeks.
Of course, while the mental preparation is a major factor, there’s also the renewed confidence. Everyone has been scoring runs, and that includes the tail-enders.
Whether it be Steve Smith’s century, Johnson’s prowess with bat, ball and in the field, or a helping hand from wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, there is so much that the next couple of years can bring. Confidence in playing a team sport is crucial, and Australia showed that in spades.
As a devoted fan who follows every minute of the matches, and continues to write about them, the passion displayed on-field and off-field means the players can hold their heads high. Forget all the media “bashing”, where people are criticising squads based on one poor performance; no-one has had three perfect outings in this yet. Only Australia has.