Clutching at Straws

One of the central thrusts of the media coverage of the Ashes series is the way in which Australia, with all their obvious problems, are seen as the 'new England'. In other words they resemble the England team of the mid-1990s, with a glaring void in ability, leadership and selection. Whenever a straw comes along, however flimsy, it is clutched for dear life.

This was exemplified today by the response to Usman Khawaja's undeniably promising maiden innings in Test cricket. Such seems to be the shock at seeing Australia's Test number three perform with a modicum of composure and class that even writers as good as Christian Ryan are treating him like some sort of messiah. If ever there's an example of how far Australia have fallen and how poorly Ponting was playing, this is it.

With the game in Australia apparently going to hell in a handcart as a result of the rising tide of obesity, the nation's kids' obsession with computer games and the popularity and financial muscle of Australian Rules Football, it's seemingly the sole responsibility of a 24 year-old Muslim to single-handedly rescue his adopted nation from the wolves.

Get real. He's made 37 runs in his Test career.

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