Is this Australian cricket’s summer of redemption?

    As the summer began in September up in north Queensland, there was a narrative around the country that suggested that the Australian cricket team was on the nose.

    The smell was still wafting from the messy way the previous summer had finished. It got a bit stronger when the test skipper bit the hand that fed him and the T20 skipper complained about fatigue before the real stuff had even started.

    Noses were being turned up.

    It’s been hard not to roll your eyes at the Australian team for some time.

    Sandpaper Gate is the obvious example. Although a few years ago now, the team has not changed much.

    It wasn’t so much the fact that it was blatant cheating, it was the fact that they lied about it in a press conference and expected everyone just to bow to their status of brilliance.

    Such was the magnitude of the scandal it is easy to forget the boorish behaviour of David Warner and Nathan Lyon when AB De Villiers was run out. It wasn’t what the Australian public deserved.

    Everyone knows the efforts that were made after that disaster of a tour. Players tried hard to win people back, they made commitments to understanding the importance of respect.

    They did try hard to change the image of the side. This was not easy to do through a pandemic which saw them locked in isolated hubs around the world.

    It would have been tough. Try as they might though, the problem has continued to be the wide held idea that the Australian cricketers don’t get it anymore.

    Yes, cricket is their office. Yes, they have worked hard to get where they are. Yes, they make sacrifices, but they also have the greatest jobs in the world.

    They are living out the dream of so many Australians. Australians do get it. They understand that these men are living that dream because they are the ones that are good enough.

    That’s fair, but they want something in return.

    They want a side that they can admire; a side that doesn’t complain and act the victim. A side that doesn’t believe they are beyond reproach. They want a side that shows, doesn’t just say, that the game and the team are both bigger than one man.

    Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

    For the first time in a while, I think maybe we might be seeing that in this Test side.

    Both Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green got injured this Test, as everyone knows.

    With plenty of cricket coming up, and in Green’s case the IPL, few eyebrows would have been raised if both looked to protect themselves from further injury.

    They didn’t though, they played on and in doing so took some of the stench out of the cricket.

    Getting a cricket ball on the finger hurts, getting one at 150 odd clicks would hurt a lot. Obviously, he would have had expert medical attention, but the option would have been there for Green to avoid the rest of the contest.

    He didn’t. He batted with the busted digit and helped get his mate through to a hundred in doing so. Big Cameron’s obvious elation at Alex Carey getting to his century coupled with the selflessness he showed in helping him get there was the kind of effort that we want to see from our Australian cricketers.

    Mitchell Starc’s approach to cricket is too often undersold. For some years now he has forgone what would surely have been millions upon millions of dollars from the IPL.

    Indeed, he has ignored the lure of T20 money from almost everywhere in the world for a long time for one simple reason, he wants to play his best cricket for Australia.

    This approach came through clearly in the picture of a bloodied finger on his bowling hand that circulated the internet this afternoon.

    Playing cricket for Australia is a privilege, not a right. The team is something Australians deserve to feel pride in. Not something that they should feel less than.

    The efforts of young Green and veteran Starc in putting team before self in the current test are the kinds of efforts, we deserve from our national cricket side. For it is efforts like that which will turn noses down and make people smile.

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