Sydney: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 percent of its 100,000 capacity.
Adelaide Oval's smallest-ever crowd of 8,378 for a one-day international watched the second match of the series and Brisbane's Gabba ground was half-full with 20,088 fans for the fourth game.
Worrying still was the fall-off in television ratings for cricket this summer with the audience of long-term broadcaster, the Nine Network, plummeting 40 per cent for the ODIs on the previous year's figures.
Media analyst Steve Allen of Fusion Strategy said that cricket television ratings were down across the board, with Tests the most affected and the game suffering something of a "disconnect" with the public.
"The result was a bit of a shocker," he said. "They were off 40 per cent. That's a big drop, about the most severe we've seen."
Nine Network chief executive David Gyngell said he was prepared to wait until the tour here later this year of traditional rivals England to gauge the actual health of the Australian game.
"We have a very dominant Australian side, which is good news against weak opposition (Pakistan and the West Indies) this year, but we won't really get an understanding until we see the Ashes summer," he said.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland sees nothing to be alarmed about.
"Australian cricket operates in four-year cycles, with some ups and downs depending on who we are playing and when," he said.
"The trend line for public interest, as measured by attendance, TV and radio ratings and research, has being going up consistently for many years.
"The strong Australian programme for the next few years, starting with the Ashes next summer, will see this continue."
Despite the apparent loss of public appetite for the ODIs, Cricket Australia has scheduled seven 50-over games for England's tour here later this year despite some misgivings from Ponting.
"I have said for quite a while now that those seven-match series are pretty hard to be a part of, but you understand the reasons behind it," he said.
"One-day cricket brings in a lot of money to the game ... but it's just important for one-day cricket's sake that you don't get to a stage where you are just playing meaningless games."
Lynton Taylor, Kerry Packer's consultant in the days of World Series Cricket of the 1970s, warns against cricket overkill.
"I think there has been too much cricket this summer and taking it deeply into February was a mistake," he said.
While ODIs and Tests have tailored off, T20 has attracted a large and in most instances, a younger audience to their games in line with overseas events.
The Boxing Day Test at the MCG draws traditionally the biggest crowd on Australia's cricketing calendar.
This season the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan attracted 59,206 fans.