It has been three decades since the invincible West Indies defeated Australia at their current fortress The Gabba. After that disheartening defeat to the West Indies, Australia have enjoyed a fantastic record in Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket.
After that historic Test match, the world of cricket has changed and the balance of world has shifted to Australia. Over the time, many new facets wooed the game of cricket. So far, Australia played 59 Test at the Gabba and won 37, lost just seven, wherein 17 matches were drawn. But, after the 1988 defeat to West Indies, Australia have all win record at The Gabba. They have played 28 Tests and won 21 while seven were drawn.
Since that historic Test match at The Gabba, the cricket world has observed a sea change. So, here is how the cricket world looks like now since that historic Test match.
Mighty West Indies have turned minnows
The Caridean cricket team, which notched a record nine wickets victory at The Gabba against the hosts Australia, now turned into minnows in international cricket. The cricket world has observed how West Indies cricket’s pride was dented as the administrators and cricketers got involved in a muddle which symbolized the tragic end of the power of West Indies cricket. Since that 1988 Test, the power of cricket shifted to Australia from the Caribbean.
Earlier, this year West Indies failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy for the first time in the history of cricket. At the same time, their bid for qualifying for the 2019 World Cup is also in danger.
Feeble India turned into a world beater
In the 80s, Indian cricket just lifted the lid to announce the emergence of a competitive team. Beating all odds India had won the 1983 World Cup. In 1985, India won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia by beating Pakistan by eight-wicket.
India’s wins in these two multilateral tournaments showed the world the rise of a team which plays good cricket in the big tournament. From Kapil Dev to Sachin Tendulkar India have seen the rise of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni who changed the face of Indian cricket before the world that now reckoned India as a world beater. After 1983, India won the 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy and became the No. 1 team in ICC Test rankings.
South Africa returned to international cricket
One of the big developments in cricket was South Africa’s return to international cricket after the infamous apartheid era was brought to an end by the iconic leader Nelson Mandela. In 1991, then Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) office bearer late Jagmohan Dalmiya invited strangled South Africa to tour India. Under the leadership of renowned all-rounder Clive Rice, the touring party won their first Test match against India after their debut in international cricket post-apartheid era. However, India won the series winning the next two matches. In the subsequent 1992 World Cup in Australia, surprising the cricket community they marched to semifinal but suffered a heartbreaking defeat to England in a rain-curtailed match. That was the beginning of South Africa’s rise in international cricket and in the following years they built themselves as a mighty force in world cricket.
God of cricket debuted and retired
In the following year, 1989, a little boy, namely, Sachin Tendulkar made his international debut in Karachi against Pakistan. That little boy, over the years, became the ‘God of cricket’. He went on to score 100 hundred and more than 30 thousand runs in international cricket. His sound technique and eye-catching batting displays took the world by surprise, as a result, the game has put himself above the rest of the players.
Rise and fall of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka made their ODI debut in 1979 while Test debut took place after six years. In the 1990s, the team from the Indian Ocean became one of the best limited over sides. Under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka built a formidable team which was comprised of Arvinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Asanka Gurusinha, Hashan Tillakaratne, Roshan Mahanama, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan who inspired Sri Lanka to win their maiden World Cup in 1996 in Lahore.
Since 1996, Sri Lanka played 2003 World Cup semi-final, 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals but are yet to win their second title.
Fiery fast bowlers bid adieu cricket
In the 1990s, cricket fans have witnessed the rise of intimidating fast bowlers. With Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were famous for seam and bounce, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis kept batsmen at toe with their vicious swing and deadly toe-crushers. In the late 90s, we have seen the rise of fast bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar, Shane Bond, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait. These fast bowlers created a fear among the batsmen. While Lee was known for his sheering pace and swing, Akhtar was a combination of seam, swing and deadly yorker. At the same time, New Zealand fast bowler Bond, who had a short run-up, was famous for his seam and wild swing. They could easily clock above 150kmph. However, their retirement left cricket with few fast bowlers who could keep batsmen at their toe.
Batting sensation Virat Kohli rose to fame
When the West Indies defeated Australia at Gabba, Virat Kohli was a toddler. Nobody ever thought that India would get an advanced version of Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli is a run-machine. He has already scored 50 international centuries-32 in ODIs and 18 in Tests. Currently, the Indian skipper is the fastest 9000 runs scorer in ODI cricket and he is just behind Tendulkar in terms of a number of centuries he scored so far. Across the all three formats, he has almost 50 plus batting average.
Born of franchise-based T20 cricket
In the new millennium, Test cricket suffered a blow as a sharp drop of popularity forced the international cricket governing body to come up with a new format to woo the young cricket fans.
In 2005, ICC introduced fast-paced Twenty 20 cricket which was an instant hit among the cricket fans and corporates across the globe. After India’s win in the inaugural World T20 in South Africa, BCCI launched Indian Premier League (IPL), a money spinner, which opened a door for young players to ply their trade and earn money. At the same time, their performances in the shortest format of cricket also give them the opportunity to play for India. Followed by IPL’s huge success, Australia launched BBL, Pakistan and Bangladesh created PSL and BPL respectively. Now, South Africa are about to follow the same trajectory, as they are about to launch T20 Global League. After the T20 cricket was introduced to the fans international cricket has become fast paced and quality of ground fielding has seen sharp development.
300 is not a safe total
The target of 300 runs is no more the safe total. In the new millennium, the world of cricket has witnessed how South Africa chased down Australia’s 434 with two wickets in hand in a 50-over match at the New Wanderers in 2006. So far, 18, 400 plus total were scored in ODI cricket and 350 plus is also not rare in ODIs. In 2012, India chased down a 321 target with 80 balls to spare and seven wickets in hand at Hobert. Virat Kohli scored 133 off 86 balls. The match stunned the cricket world because such a dominating chase against 300 plus score is rare in international cricket.
Australia become an indomitable force
Australia became the next invincible team in world cricket. They went on to four more World Cups after their maiden title victory in 1987. They still hold the record of 16 consecutive Test match victories which is only equaled by South Africa. The record is yet to be broken. Australia’s unbeaten runs commenced in 1999 and ended at the Eden Gardens when India registered an epic Test match victory against Steve Waugh’s Australia in 2001. In the ODIs, Waugh’s successor Rickey Ponting led his team to 21 successive ODI match victories, a world record which is yet to touched by any other team. Australia’s domination in world cricket continued till 2007 World Cup.
Afghanistan & Ireland join big boys of cricket
So far, cricket was limited to only 10 Test playing teams and associate members like Canada, Scotland, Namibia, Kenya and Ireland used make their appearances in the World Cup. But, things have changed when Ireland and Afghanistan, a war-wracked country, started showing their consistency in ICC’s continental tournaments and marquee events like World Cup and World T20. Their performance in the marquee tournament forced ICC to open the window for discussion to give Test status to new teams. After several meetings and discussions, the ICC has given the Test status to Ireland and Afghanistan. Both of them are getting ready to make their Test debut. While Afghanistan opted for Sharjah Ireland decided to play at Malahide Cricket Club’s ground.
Bangladesh-the tiger at home
In the limited over cricket, Bangladesh after a long wait finally delivered the fruits of the trust. Their rise in international cricket was first felt in 2015 when they defeated England in the Down Under World Cup and qualified for the quarterfinal for the first in their cricketing history.
Following the World Cup, they invited Pakistan, India and South Africa to play them on their soil and went on to hand them series defeat. It is understood that the year 2015 is the golden time of Bangladesh cricket. In the following year, in the 2016 Word T20, they played a nail-biting match against India in Bangalore to give the home fans a nervy moment. But, in they lost the match as wicketkeeper-batsman failed to hold his nerve till the match gets over. It is widely believed that their immaturity cost them the chance win the important match against India.
Later in 2016, they showed their will for Test cricket when they defeated England in Dhaka. In 2017, Champions Trophy they defeated New Zealand to qualify for the Champions Trophy quarterfinal but lost to India.
(How has the cricketing world changed since Australia last lost a Test at Gabba? Please tell us at the comments section below. )