Comments on: Pretty sure that was a fantastic Ashes, but what do you actually remember of it? Independent and irreverent cricket writing Wed, 02 Aug 2023 09:10:03 +0000 hourly 1 By: King Cricket Wed, 02 Aug 2023 09:10:03 +0000 In reply to Ged Ladd.

The Old Trafford floor piss is not the best, we’ll grant you that.

By: Ged Ladd Wed, 02 Aug 2023 06:42:46 +0000 In reply to Ged Ladd.

On the very rare occasions we get relentless rain in London, we get relentlessly posh rain, we don’t get that grim northern stuff.

Like the floor piss in the loos behind the members’ stands at Lord’s; to the casual observer it’s just floor piss, same as everywhere else, but to the cognoscenti, it is clearly a better class of floor piss.

Unless the weather improves counter to the current splodgeness and today’s forecast, we could well be in for a double-no-result in today’s London derby double-header at Lord’s. But, if that happens, it will be posh no-results, it won’t be grim ones. Different.

By: Sam Tue, 01 Aug 2023 22:21:30 +0000 These comments are getting longer and longer. ‘And the writer and commenters looked from one to another…and they couldn’t work out which was which’.

Or something like that.

By: oS Tue, 01 Aug 2023 17:26:28 +0000 Bazballers must be elite

By: James T Tue, 01 Aug 2023 16:31:20 +0000 In reply to King Cricket.

I think it’s related to why the run-out-at-the-mankad-end annoys people. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it are. If cricket is about a contest between bat and ball, when that’s interrupted it’s going to be unpopular with people who like the contest as much as the result. Which applies to odd run outs when the ball is / isn’t dead, rain etc etc etc

By: King Cricket Tue, 01 Aug 2023 16:18:04 +0000 In reply to James T.

Think that’s a good point about the context of the Bairstow stumping. As you say, maybe the reaction was at least partly borne of the flatness of disappointment and the slightly crappy/unsatisfactory mode of dismissal provided an emotional outlet.

By: James T Tue, 01 Aug 2023 13:54:03 +0000 I think you’ve got it spot on, particularly with the headline. I mostly just remember it being close.

In fact it was close to the perfect series, and the fact that it wasn’t because of the draw makes it kind of disappointing, almost more disappointing than if we’d lost. I didn’t know til now that I’ve waited my whole life for the perfect series, which is decided in the final hour of the third session of the last day of the fifth test. And now I know that’s never going to happen and it makes me a bit sad. I never really thought about it before as even a possibility. It’s like Alex Tudor’s 99.

A lot of people have pontificated about the Lord’s crowd and the members about the Bairstow thing, but nobody seems to have recognised that the reason people felt angry was because they felt they’d been robbed of the spectacle. Bairstow might have popped an easy caught and bowled back for his next ball and nobody would have reacted the same way. Or Carey could have done that in the 10th over to get rid of Pope and maybe the most one-eyed England fans would have kicked off, but not the whole crowd. It was England’s last real chance but it felt like it really was a chance, and it was going to be yet another amazing test even if England lost – all punctured in an instant. Spectacle of cricket, not the spirit.

I suppose it kind of exposes something about test cricket which is that so often it’s about grinding your opponent into the dust and that’s more fun to watch if you’re winning or somehow hanging on for a draw. Those fourth and fifth test dead rubbers at the MCG and SCG always have an air of watching for the individuals not the teams, watching someone make the best of a lost cause like the viking on Stamford Bridge. Maybe we need to be a bit more honest that “the greatest form of the game” is only truly great when the sides are pretty evenly matched.

The other thing I’ll remember about this series is being annoyed at the constant whingeing. Just. So. Much. Whingeing. And not just from the Aussies, although they’ve whinged even more than usual. It’s like England and Australia have taken the worst things about each other and adopted them. Yabba was a tosser but somehow English crowds are all in his incarnation, yelling nonsense insults at the Aussie players and calling it banter. And still booing Smith – it’s been five years ffs. We’ve turned into that bloke at work who comes in with a joke on Monday morning and then repeats it to everyone he talks to for the whole week. And the Aussies have developed that snide, side-mouthed, tabloidy way politicians picking up on some bullshit detail to somehow invalidate some pretty spectacular achievements, and to justify shit behaviour by calling it hypocrisy.

Anyway. It was a great series. I’m mostly just a bit melancholy that it’s over. Keep writing great stories.

By: King Cricket Tue, 01 Aug 2023 13:05:57 +0000 In reply to Ged Ladd.

England’s prospects in the next Ashes are more intriguing than normal. You’d imagine the batters could potentially enjoy themselves on Aussie pitches against the Kookaburra ball. Strong positions may ensue, but the bowling’s anyone’s guess.

From the most recent Test, it’s quite hard to imagine Woakes or Wood making it, let alone Jimmy. Jofra Archer isn’t often around. An attack comprising, say, Josh Tongue, Matt Potts and Saqib Mahmood feels a bizarre prospect right now for a series that isn’t really so far off.

By: Ged Ladd Tue, 01 Aug 2023 12:21:38 +0000 In reply to Ged Ladd.

I suppose these are largely personal reflections and the truth is that it is…or at least was…difficult for me to engage directly with the away series for most of my life.

In the late 1970s and 1980s I would have engaged with the away series only by reading the newspaper reports a day or two after the events. I do recall being so pleased reading about the success of the Gatting squad of 1986/87, which had been deemed to be a “can’t bat, can’t bowl and can’t field” squad by a fate-tempter in the Aussie press at the start of the tour. But as is the case with most Ashes matches in Oz, the matches themselves were either draws or pretty one-sided wins. I don’t remember feeling in suspenders, rushing to the radio news or the newspaper the next morning for an update. Yet another Ashes series in which Broad was the hero – Broad père rather than Broad fils in this case.

1990/91 I barely engaged at all. I was majorly crocked in the back… “Ged’s back!” I hear you all cry…and in any case was still spitting feathers about so many of my England heroes going on the 1990 South Africa rebel tour, which felt like dreadful timing to me, so soon after Mandela’s release and the delicate stage of negotiations with the South African nationalists. Sorry to get political, but I simply disengaged that winter and thought England deserved to be thrashed…which we were.

1994/95 I re-engaged and I do recall listening on the radio quite a lot through the night, much to the chagrin of my then relatively new beau, Daisy. As usual, one-sided matches apart from some of the draws. England’s inevitable collapse at Melbourne second dig meant that it was all-but over before 1994 was out. Darren Gough’s heroics at Sydney in the new year test was a highlight – I think I even woke Daisy up with that one.

Nigel “Father Barry” is better qualified than me to relate personal memories of away series, not least his “curtains story” from Adelaide in January 1995, contained within this guest piece on my blog:

1998/99 was another series that was effectively done with one-sided Aussie wins by Christmas, although the Boxing Day test was a nail-biter. Dean Headley the hero of that one for England.

2002/03 had a little false hope for England, soon dashed by a decision to bowl first at Brisbane and a horrible (ultimately probably career-shortening) injury to Simon Jones. One-sided affairs and all over by 1 December.

2006/7 – so much hope after 2005 but those hopes soon dashed with one-sided Aussie wins and it was all over by mid December. Is there a thread running through these reminiscences?

2010/11 – ah, now there was an away series to remember. Of course I was/we were thrilled to witness an England team doing so well over there. But in truth it was a relatively weak Aussie squad that year and it soon became apparent (after a very exciting England-backs-to-the-wall draw at Brisbane) that England would prevail in one-sided matches.

Since then, England haven’t won so much as a match over there during an away Ashes series.

If the new style means that England will compete over there and make the series exciting on both sides of the globe, that would be an absolutely marvellous thing.

By: Sam Tue, 01 Aug 2023 11:13:05 +0000 In reply to Ged Ladd.

I don’t remember any away Ashes series.