How damaging could Australia’s defeat be?

by: Kyle Green

Australia’s defeat earlier this week against India will have come as something of a shock to more than a few cricket fans. Since the loss, Australian fans have reacted to it in different ways, some predicting a subsequent fall from grace for the Aussies as they prepare for even bigger challenges, and some believing it to be a minor blip. 
Brett Lee for one truly seems to believe that Australia’s defeat could prove to be a blessing in disguise as the Aussies prepare for the Ashes 2010 series against bitter rivals England. Lee reckons such a defeat “makes guys switch on a lot more” and could in fact be “the best thing” the Australians could have wished for at this stage in their preparation.
However, to many England fans, this will seem like attempting to put a silver lining on a very large cloud hanging over the Australian camp at the moment. Yes, the defeat will ensure that complacency doesn’t enter the minds of the Aussies and that expectations from the Australian media don’t reach ridiculously sky-high levels. That said, there’s something to be said for momentum, even in a sport played at a relatively low tempo such as cricket.
The problem for Australia is that they now realise, as Steve Waugh has stressed this week, that they need to bounce back from this setback sooner rather than later. Waugh revealed, quite sensibly, that “if we come away from India having lost 2-0, it will affect our form going into The Ashes“. The longer the period of time that elapses without this win coming, the more pressure will be heaped on the shoulders of the players and the more difficult it will become to bounce back.