Interest in the national T20 side is at an all-time low with a dismal home World Cup campaign and the perception that senior players are rich, disinterested and chasing woke agendas combining to force Aussie cricket fans away in droves.
Australian players, looking to secure back-to-back World Cups had already begun making excuses prior to the tournament, with skipper Aaron Finch saying the side was ‘fatigued’.
Obliterated in the opener by New Zealand in front of just 34,576 fans, the World Cup didn’t get much better for the hosts, with the Aussie public more enamoured with the fortunes of other international sides.
More than 90,000 passionate cricket fans packed into the MCG to see Pakistan and India clash – and no doubt organisers could have sold another 100,000 tickets and they would have been snapped up.
David Warner trudges off in front of just over 34,000 fans after being dismissed for just 5 in Australia’s World Cup opener in which they got smashed by New Zealand
Just days later more than 90,000 fans packed into the MCG to watch India and Pakistan do battle in what is seen now as one of the greatest T20 games of all time
In total, just over 95,000 fans went to watch Australia in their home World Cup combined across four matches – and India’s clash with minnows Zimbabwe almost had more people with a crowd of 82,507.
It’s obvious: Aussie cricket fans are sick of the entitled, stale and woke senior cricketers who make up our national T20 side.
Adam Gilchrist, who still remains one of the most popular Australian players of all time, said it wasn’t due to a lack of interest in the World Cup – that still remains strong – but a complete lack of connection and care in the national side.
‘There was no feeling of a huge excitement about this World Cup from the way crowds turned up to the Australian games,’ Gilchrist told SEN Radio.
‘People vote with their feet … it felt a little bit flat in that regard [hosting a World Cup] around the Aussie team.’
Adam Gilchrist believes Aussie fans are no longer connecting with the national side, and are more interested in how other countries in the World Cup are faring
Gilchrist noted the ‘positive and exciting’ interest in other teams at the World Cup was brilliant for the game, and highlighted public sentiment in the Aussie side did not appear to be overly good or passionate.
It has certainly been a turbulent period for Aussie cricket fans since the golden generation of players, who were led by Steve Waugh and then Ricky Ponting, retired.
The man with the diamond earring, Michael Clarke, ushered in an era where the side came off as entitled bullies, before Steve Smith presided over a side that engaged in the unthinkable: ball tampering.
Public sentiment began to turn under Tim Paine’s thoughtful leadership, but as the old saying goes, reputation is hard to gain and easy to lose.
An emotional Steve Smith addresses the media after the ball tampering scandal, which led to him spending a year out of the game and dragged Australian cricket through the mud
His national career ended in disgrace after the married father of two engaged in a year-long sexting scandal with a Cricket Tasmania colleague that wasn’t, at the time, even considered a problem by the Cricket Australia board, before an embarrassing backtrack four years later when it became public knowledge.
In stepped the squeaky-clean Pat Cummins to yet again try to resurrect a cricket-mad nation’s opinion of their national side.
It worked… for a while. First in his sights was national coach Justin Langer, who was seen as too intense and confrontational for a side full of senior players who just wanted to do their own thing.
Once skipper, Pat Cummins made a concerted effort behind-the-scenes to get rid of coach Justin Langer, who some players believed was too intense
It worked, with the much-loved Aussie legend unceremoniously dumped despite the now 51-year-old leading the national side to number one in the Test rankings, a T20 World Cup win and retaining the Ashes in England.
Fans and former legends began to rail against the power Cummins was quick to wield, and when he effectively appeared to force Cricket Australia’s hand into dropping a $40million sponsorship with energy company Alinta due to his climate change agenda, opinion of the national side plummeted even further.
That’s despite the multi-millionaire – whose estimated net worth is an astonishing $63million thanks in part to the commercial support that keeps the sport afloat – not appearing to truly back up his woke agenda.
Cummins flies first class (a carbon footprint seven times larger than economy), drives one of the world’s highest-polluting luxury vehicles, (a Range Rover worth in excess of $130,000) and promoted a Chinese solar panel company that has been implicated in using forced labour.
Pat Cummins (pictured in December 2021) has been photographed driving a Range Rover, regarded as one of the world’s highest-polluting SUVs
Nationals senator Matt Canavan called out Cummins for supporting Chinese solar power companies that use slave labour (pictured is Cummins posing for the campaign)
It was a point not lost on cricket fans, who were scathing of the captain’s double standards, as the side’s performances on the field continued to decline and players claimed they were too fatigued to care about losing.
The Aussie public responded, despite having the pleasure of hosting a T20 World Cup.
Interest completely dwindled in the men wearing the bizarre yellow and black colour scheme, but rallied behind exciting sides like India, England, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Ex-skipper Michael Clarke piled on top of the criticism, believing the Aussie public simply don’t feel connected to their side anymore, and are fed-up of the entitled players.
‘At the moment it feels like there is a real dislike for the Aussie team,’ he said on Sky Sports Radio.
‘So many people are happy that Australia lost. There’s still angst around Justin Langer being sacked, or resigning, whatever happened there. There’s still angst around our style of play and how we’re playing.
‘I think the fans feel like they’ve been left out,’ said Clarke, one of Australia’s most polarising players over the past 20 years despite his undoubted talent.
Former Aussie skipper turned commentator Michael Clarke says sentiment against the national side is so bad, fans are glad the side lost
The good news is there are a crop of players who can turn this T20 side around.
The glitzy, exciting cousin to tradition-steeped Test cricket should enamour young Aussie fans, and encourage them to chose cricket over the myriad of other sporting codes in the country.
But right now, it’s not.
So which players can usher in yet another era of T20 cricket for Australia, and guide the side back to the highs of winning a World Cup?
Daily Mail Australia highlights the players who can turn Australia’s T20 side from pale, stale and woke to electric and successful ahead of the next International fixture in 2023.
Leading the way
Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis
Glenn Maxwell might have rubbed a few people up the wrong way when he said bombing out of a World Cup ‘didn’t mean anything’, but he is an exciting talent fans of all ages really connect with, given the way he attacks both cricket and life. Josh Hazlewood and Travis Head are no-nonsense characters who play with the typical Aussie fighting spirit, while despite Marcus Stoinis’ Greek Adonis aesthetic, his power-hitting is a joy to behold.
Mitch Marsh, pictured with dad Geoff, a former Aussie legend, will be vital to the batting line-up over the next few years
Adam Zampa has similar climate ideals to Cummins but has the good sense to understand commercial realities and not forcing it on others, while the affable Ashton Agar is the prototypical T20 player who just keeps on keeping on. Mitch Marsh would have been the next captain, but said he preferred to focus on his form, but the ‘Bison’, a typically Aussie larrikin, is beloved by both his teammates and most of the public, despite an early hatred of his free pass into the team. He’ll be a crucial cog at first drop for the next few years.
They have been immense warriors for Australia, but the time has come for Steve Smith, Aaron Finch, David Warner and Matthew Wade to step aside and let younger players with more appeal and enthusiasm for the Aussie jumper take over. Cummins, meanwhile, surely has too much on his plate now to worry about T20 cricket. He was quite poor during the tournament regardless, and was lucky not to be dropped.
Are the T20 careers of David Warner and Pat Cummins over? The pair have been immense warriors for the side but Test commitments and poor form might mean their time is up in this format
Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Josh Philippe, Riley Meredith
Without a doubt, Cameron Green is the future of Australian cricket, something the head honchos have been preparing him for patiently for some time. The unassuming 23-year-old is a laid back Western Australia native is a proper cricket nuffie who loves his fishing and has been with his long-term partner, nutritionist Emily Redwood, for more than three years. Would be the best choice to captain this T20 side by a long way – and the Aussie public love him.
Could Cameron Green be Australia’s next T20 skipper? The talented allrounder has long been touted as the future lynchpin of the national side in all three forms
Talented wicketkeeper-bats Josh Inglis and Josh Philippe, also Western Australians, will no doubt anchor this T20 side for the decade to come. The former is shaping up as Alex Carey’s long-term replacement, while the latter is essentially a more-relatable Steve Smith clone. Riley Meredith, complete with Gen Z moustache, is a fast bowler with serious speed and swing that has electrified Hurricanes fans.
Josh Philippe appears to have a long Aussie career ahead of him, and his electric batting will appease himself to fans
Plenty to offer
Daniel Sams, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Ben McDermott, D’arcy Short, Jhye Richardson
This group of players is anything but entitled – with all of them forced to grind their way through their careers, instead of being handed gilt-edged opportunities. Daniel Sams, Ben McDermott and D’arcy Short have impressed at BBL and state level for some time, and are all cricketers who are a pleasure to watch given their never-say-die attitude.
Nathan Ellis, pictured with fiance Connie Edwards, has had to earn his spot the hard way, and is the perfect character to rejuvenate the bowling line-up
Nathan Ellis and Tim David were both perennially underrated in their early 20’s, forced to seek opportunities at grade level (or Singapore, in David’s case) for many years in order to make it on the big stage. Ellis in particular, a racing, rugby league and surf lover who never gives anything less than 110 per cent with ball in hand, is a brilliant bowler and fielder to build this T20 side around along with Hazlewood. Baby-faced quick Jhye Richardson’s skill speaks for itself, and the swing bowler just needs a proper injury-free crack.
Potential 2023 XI
Cameron Green (c), Josh Inglis (wk), Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Tim David, Ben McDermott, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood.