Tuesday, 25 August 2009
The Ashes aftermath
Ahh, the sweet taste of victory. It doesn’t get better than beating Australia, even though I myself am Australian, was rejected British citizenship, and still have to stand in the ‘this could take all day queue’ at the airport with Japanese grandmothers and people still shaking from their first experience of air travel. What makes it even sweeter is that, statistically, we had no business winning that series. Historians looking back will wonder how we managed it given Australia’s ability to take more wickets and score more centuries. But what these headline stats fail to show is that in crucial periods of play, the Aussies choked harder than George Bush on a pretzel. This is why we can’t read all that much into this Ashes win, apart from the fact that Australia are now no longer in a league of their own. Yes, England were excellent when it was required, but several abject sessions from the Aussies mean the onus should be on their losing, rather than our winning, if that makes any sense. The real litmus test will come over the winter when we play the newly crowned number one in world cricket – South Africa. The Aussies, meanwhile, go to India in an attempt to stop their slide down the rankings. But before any of this happens, we have the needlessly long one-day series against Australia and the equally pointless ICC Champions Trophy. What’s that, you ask? Exactly. The touring party for South Africa will now include our second-best South African, Jonathan Trott. Bopara should also be given another run, but at no higher than five. Bell will also probably travel, since his first innings score of 72 at The Oval was made to look very good indeed by subsequent scores. That leaves Collingwood as the other big uncertainty. It’s hard not to love Colly – he’s all heart. But if he was exposed by the Aussies, he’ll be stripped naked by the much more fearsome South African attack. I think he’s probably shot as a Test batsman.