Australia, unlike most teams in the world, aspire to be a great team. Through this aspiration, they have become a very consistent team. Unlike their counter parts, Australia have been on top in nearly every home/away/major tournament in the last decade. Only once or twice have we seen this team really fall out. ( Most recently, being only the first half of last year)
Take every other cricket team in this world. Nearly every performance that comes to mind, when beating a top ranked team usually comes out of a set or string of special performances. This being either a really quick half century, century, unbelievable bowling spell, special players or if you look back at the recent series between the Aussies and the Kiwi’s, it again boils down to those factors. To me, the main reason the Kiwi’s won the first game, was that once in a blue moon freak innings from Scotty Styris. But through hard work and CONSISTENCY, the Aussies managed to pull away and win the series. Now, this can be argued, but there is no denying approach of being consistent (which usually leaves a WIN ALL streak in the heads), really made them the far superior team in this tournament. No matter how good New Zealnd looked.
Every team waits for that special performance. Sri lanka over the years have depended on the likes of Jayausirya, De Silva, Murali or Vaas to take them home. In the more recent games, a majority of them have been because of Dilshan and Sangakara. – There is no denying that.
India, still needs Tendulkar in that outfit, even though he still is set to push the limits of his already great cricketing career. Very rarely have I seen, especially with a batting order like India’s, where Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Tendulkar and, co have performed consistently during a series. Especially against the more top ranked countries. Hence why the Aussies sealed the deal in the last outing against them.
West Indies is almost and sadly dependent on Chris Gayle. No matter what the format is of late. If he doesn’t fire. You can be assured that the West Indies are in for a hard time.
Pakistan, its a hit or miss. To click or not to click, that IS the question with Pakistan. There is nothing that EVER was consistent about this team. They are the freak powerhouse of world cricket. As usual, and so it applies to any team with this nature – "On their day they can beat anyone!" . How many times have we heard that? pathetic!.
England, with the lack of talent in that side, always require a player from another country to come bolster their squad. Why do you think Kevin Peterson’s in it? Once in a while you would get a player like Flintoff to come along. For England to ever do well at the levels of the other greater teams, they seriously need consistency rather than hoping for the one special effort. Thats like the middle east expecting snow. (BTW that did happen, in the hills Ras Al Khaimah, UAE lol). Ok ok, not that bad, but, you get the picture.
South Africa could probably be the only other team that seeks that lasting consistency over greatness. There’s nothing great about that team. No name stands out or even compares to the likes of the Jayasuriya, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gayle, Vetorri, Akram, Waqar… – They all seem to perform rather consistently. Almost so consistently, that their super stardom, or greatness has just levelled out to making it, one really strong unit.
A good example for this would be Tendulkars amazing knock of 200. It took something special from him for India to beat the crap out of South Africa. But otherwise, the Proteas were rather consistent. Regardless of whether they lost.
However so this may be true, its those one or two greats that have really gotten these countries to where they are today. We should, and I doubt will, ever forget, the likes of our Jayasuriyas, De Silvas, Ranatunges, Muralis, Kaluwitharanas etc.. special performances that brought our team Sri Lanka, to the stance they are at today. Nor will anyone forget theirs.
But the thing is, we need those special performances, but its the consistent mind and philosophy that a player gets instilled into them that really combines and makes to a great team.
Honestly, I would take consistent over great, Any day!