The collapse of the Australian empire was a near certainty. Eventually, as Australia weakened and its enemies got their own houses - or academies - in order and learned from the Australians, Australia would be overrun. Or so the parallel goes:
History is absorbed before you think of it as history. Before I could read, my grandfather—a tough Yorkshireman and a serious cricketer—gave me his album of 1930s cricket cigarette cards. I spent as much time with them as with my first bat. It was the portraits of Australian batsmen that made the deepest impact. Staring at you from beneath their famous baggy green caps, they seemed unimpressed by anything, let alone this young Englishman. They had a look — resilient, cussed and self-reliant — that said there was a score to be settled. Don Bradman perfectly embodied this relentless hunger, but it ran deeper than him. There was a bloodline.