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Australia's triumphant season masks games' ills

cricket Updated: Mar 02, 2010 14:57 IST
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The Australian team's unconquered march through their home international season raised more questions than provided answers for cricket amid dwindling crowds and television ratings.

Ricky Ponting's team swept aside lowly-ranked Pakistan and West Indies in Test, One-Day and Twenty20 matches for Australia's first unbeaten domestic summer since the Steve Waugh-led side of 2000/01.

The lopsided contests left plenty of cricket fans feeling empty, many staying away from matches and tuning out of televised cricket.

One dismayed fan derisively labelled the vanquished: 'Panicstan' and the 'Worst Indies'.

While Ponting, rehabilitating his captaincy after leading a second failed Ashes series in England last year, was proud of Australia's unbeaten achievement and upbeat about the unearthing of fresh young talent, there is an unease about the state of the game.

Fans stayed away from the one-day internationals in droves, preferring the pyrotechnics of the abbreviated T20 form of the game.

The massive Melbourne Cricket Ground took on a funereal feel when just 15,538 fans watched the fifth ODI against the
West Indies, just 15 per cent of its 100,000 capacity.