Ashes to Ashes

As we write, England are a day away from unveiling their touring party for the Ashes. 16 or 17 men, good and true, will represent their country in one of the finest sporting endeavours on the planet. An Ashes series is the sort of thing that sends a tingle down the spine, that makes you think of years past, of heroes and villains, of the towering figures of cricketing history. There is a special aura around the Ashes. To quote Sir Ralph Richardson, from a wonderful Pathe documentary we’ve plugged before on this blog (found here – http://film.britishcouncil.org/cricket1):

What is it about this unobtrusive game? What is its magic? For magic it must surely be that makes men sit and watch and dream of past occasions and of wistful yearnings never quite fulfilled. Magic it is that makes the hush when captains meet.

But here we sit, having just finished the last dregs of an overlong Ashes summer, watching two thoroughly disinterested sides polishing off a dreary one-day series. There was, we would suggest, little of the magic of which Richardson speaks in the last few matches.

Yet in a few weeks, England will jet off again to face Australia. Another five Tests will follow which we, and no doubt all of those who have but a passing interest in Test cricket, will be following hungrily. Or will we? Has our appetite for this contest between these two great nations been sated? And what of the players? Only this week, Stuart Broad has said that England will not be the best in the world until they beat South Africa. Perhaps their focus is not entirely on the matter in hand. This is, after all, an England side that beat Australia 3-0 only a few weeks ago while looking supremely unconvincing. It is one thing for fans to be a little sick of a contest that has overstayed its welcome for the time being, it is quite another when it is the players themselves.

We’re not overly concerned – Andy Flower’s England are perhaps the most professional side to have ever played the game and they will restore their focus to the series ahead. As as for the talk of killing the goose that laid the golden egg by ruining the mystique of the Ashes, we may complain now, but in 2015, when Australia are here again, you can be sure we’ll all be licking our lips once again, ready for the sporting contest like no other. To quote Richardson:

But cricket casts its own peculiar glow, and in the years to come, this day too of rain and cloud will be sunlit in the memory.

So long as back-to-back Ashes series do not become a habit, the cricketing world will soon forget it was ever an issue and we’ll go back to talking of golden days and cricketing greats.

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1 Comment

  1. I think the coming Ashes in Australia would be different from last one of England- Never the less Australia try to get home advantage and most of the time they got it in the- So let us see

    Reply

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