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Shane Bond: Australia on the decline

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Former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond believes Australia are no longer the world beaters they once were.

India defeated Australia in the first two matches of the best-of-three finals to clinch the Commonwealth Bank Series, and also caused them problems in the Test series earlier this year.

Australia stalwarts Justin Langer, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Damien Martyn all retired last year and the team have now lost the services of Adam Gilchrist and Brad Hogg.

Bond, who is set to play in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) with the Delhi Giants, is convinced Ricky Ponting and his men will now find it hard to compete with cricket's top nations because of a lack of depth in their squad.

"Australia are not as dominant as they have been," Bond told the Hindu. "The depth is missing and I think they would struggle in the sub-continent.

"But we have to respect their cricket. Australia losing is very good for the game and it should generate interest, more so in Australia.

"I am sure people will now come to a ground to watch the team not just thinking of what the margin of victory would be."

Bond praised the efforts of India batsman Sachin Tendulkar and emerging paceman Ishant Sharma during the tour Down Under.

"Sachin showed solid defence and put away bad balls. It was clear during the Test series that he was setting goals," Bond added.

"I liked Ishant. He has a huge prospect of becoming a very good bowler. To bowl 150kph in your first series is special. Ishant bowled well enough to make people sit up and take notice."
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