Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Let's start with one Pom down
The Ashes are back, a small ray of (currently Welsh) sunshine in a particularly cold Melbourne winter, and the inimitable Blowers of TMS on the radio.
Another lovely gift is a Pommie wicket (lovely take, Husseyyy....) after the bad news of the loss of Brett Lee to injury for at least the first two Tests and and England winning the toss.
And the English batsmen aren't looking comfortable, which is as it should be.
The tough question is, as ever, whether I can find someone to venture five quid on England.
While an Aussie series win is what's wanted, with luck we should also see a good contest with England giving the impression of being together facing Australia, and the apparently endless juggernaut of the Australian cricket machine needing a good rebuild and new workers in the engine-room and steering. There are some missing faces.
As well as incredible cricketers Gilchrist and Warne no longer being in the team, there must be a nod to the loss of one of humanities greatest statisticians, (the entirely humourless) Bearded Wonder, absent for the first time from a TMS Ashes team due to an untimely death in January 2009.
We have five Tests of five days in Wales and England to look forward to. And in the fine tradition of the game, anything might happen, and much of it probably will. It is certain that it will, however, finish in my old home ground of Surrey's Oval. Among other games I recall seeing Australia give away the last Test to England after a victorious series, and being there as Black Sarf London demonstrated the stupidity of Tebbet's Cricket Test as they celebrated the Windies' Blackwash - one of the nosiest and most intense days I can remember, including fast-jet time...
The Windies in their pomp were something to see, a machine which still echoes to today, but impressive as Big Bird was, there's nothing like the Ashes, right down to one of the most quixotic trophies - that actually isn't.
This post might not make sense if you don't speak cricket. A more comprehensible intro here from the BBC.