Twenty-20 World Cup 2009
Australia made joke of following shock exit
Have you heard the latest Irish joke?
It’s about a team of part-time cricketers who went further in the World Twenty20 than Australia’s multi-million-dollar men who could buy half of Belfast with their salaries.
Australia’s Twenty20 campaign was over in not much more than 48 hours after consecutive losses to the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
As a shocked Australia plunged out of the tournament in straight sets, mighty minnows Ireland had a laugh at their expense by tasting a surprise win over Bangladesh and progressing to the next round.
Meanwhile, the Aussies were eating humble pie after being booted out of the tournament by a terrible seven-wicket loss to Sri Lanka which even left captain Ricky Ponting at a loss for words.
English tabloids lapped up Australia’s Twenty20 debacle with the Daily Mirror joking: "What do you call an Aussie at the Twenty20? A spectator."
Another English commentator wrote: "Since they touched down in England 12 days ago, Australia’s tour has gone exactly to plan ... England’s plan."
Australia’s World Twenty20 wipe-out will prompt a wide-ranging review of 20-over cricket in Australia’s corridors of power and could even spell the end of Ponting’s captaincy in this form of the game.
The push to make Michael Clarke the 20-over captain - as part of his apprenticeship before he becomes Test captain - will now gather even more steam.
Selection policies will come under heavy scrutiny with Australia choosing only two players under the age of 27 in their squad for a format that simply cries out for young and athletic players.
Australia’s woeful tournament continued their disgraceful Twenty20 form. The one-time world-beaters have now slumped to five Twenty20 losses in a row and won just 11 of 23 matches in the sawn-off format.
However, Australia’s shock exit could also have a silver lining for their Ashes campaign because they could now opt to rush Test specialists, including Phillip Hughes and Stuart Clark, to England to fine-tune Ashes preparations.
Instead of playing 20-over cricket for the next fortnight, Australia will now head for a pre-Ashes training camp in Leicester with the Test squad getting more time to prepare for the Ashes.
The Twenty20 exit leaves Ponting’s side with more than two weeks to fill before they face Sussex at Hove in a four-day match in the build-up to the Ashes, which starts with the first Test in Cardiff on July 8.
"It’s disappointing to go out of the tournament and I can’t explain why," Ponting said. "Now we have to move on as quickly as possible and focus on the Ashes."