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“The Ashes is the oldest cricketing rivalry, and...”


written by dblock on 08/04/2007

The Ashes is the oldest cricketing rivalry, and traditionally has been a fierce and highly publicised contest between England and Australia.

England's failure to regain the Ashes for 16 years from 1989, coupled with the dominance of the Australian team, had dulled the series in recent years. For the first time in many a series England had the pressure of defending the Ashes, while Australia had the pressure of confirming their status of worlds number one team. For this reason the upcoming Ashes series was the most intriguing in living memory.

The series was played in Australia between 23rd November 2006 and 5th January 2007. The five match series comprised Test matches at Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

The forthcoming series went a long way to decide where the balance in world cricketing power lies. England prior to the Ashes 2005 series had won 7 series (against other nations) in a row and went in to the contest in great form. Australia have rarely been threatened over the last 10 years in cricket. However, the defeat to England presented them with a new challenge to the reign at the top. Indeed, many critics held the opinion that Australia had passed their peak, and with many of their top players well into the 30's, it was seen as though their dominance was now over.

Certainly, Australian cricket changed policy after their defeat, and the emergence of many new and young players into the team was testament to that. Players such as Matthew Hayden, Gillespie and Martyn, who were among the top players in the world a few years back, were no longer guaranteed of their place. Coupled with the injury problems to star bowler Mcgrath, a new face of Australian cricket began to emerge. On the face of it, the team has performed well since the Ashes defeat, recording 12 victories of out 13. This still has not silenced the critics, as they still argue that their appears to be many hidden flaws within the team. One such flaw maybe the over reliance on the top players, i.e. Ponting, Gilchrist, Warne and Mcgrath. The replacement to the older generation of players do not appear to be of the same standard yet.

There are also critics amassing against England, and there appear to be a few reasons to suggest that they will be unlikely to repeat the success of 2005. The first reason appears to be injuries. Since the Ashes victory, England have suffered greatly to long term injuries of key players. Captain Vaughan, Simon Jones, Ashley Giles and Andrew Flintoff have all had time off the game nursing injuries. Indeed, it is unlikely that Simon Jones will play in the Ashes at all, and Vaughan will miss most, if not all the tour as well. Considering the performance in the last series, both of these two will be big losses.

The second of the major worries is about performance of the current team. Since winning the Ashes, England's performance has blown hot and cold. They lost to Pakistan away, but then beat them at home. The other two series against India and Sri Lanka resulted in draws. There are question marks gathering around some of England's top players. Marcus Trescothick is a big worry. His record against Australia is not the best, and he has problems against Mcgrath. He has also been involved in recent problems off the field, which resulted in him returning home early during the India tour. His performance against Pakistan on the recent tour was particularly poor. The other batsmen have performed well of late; in particular Ian Bell. However, there are doubts on the ability to perform well against top quality bowling, which was witnessed during the recent tour of Pakistan. The batsmen were able to perform well against the bowlers of lesser quality, but once the quality bowlers returned from injury, the England top half struggled.

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“By gum, I just love cricket and thats why The Ashes...”


written by Boycott on 13/09/2005

By gum, I just love cricket and thats why The Ashes happens to be my favourite event in the sporting world. What a great sight it was to see Freddy, Vaughny and the rest of the boys stick it to the Aussies.

This latest series of The Ashes will hopefully provide the launchpad for the rebirth of cricket on these shores. Thank god for these thoroughly decent England cricket players who have given this country a team to be proud of. The Ashes was everything we could have wished for, great cricket, adventurous batting, lethal bowling and an England triumph.

What a lovely way to give Warney and the rest of the Aussie veterans the retirement party they richly deserve!

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