England Retain The Ashes – Start the Bar!

Anyone else put a bottle of champagne in the fridge before the start of play last night? I put in two. I’ve been waiting for England to triumph in Australia for twenty four years so I was going to make the most of it. When the final wicket fell, I even considered standing on the sofa and randomly spraying Bollinger around my living room (in commemoration of Doug the Rug’s wayward bowling at Adelaide).

Sky’s decision to go on air half an hour early was great too. Cricket is unique amongst sports because the standard of punditry is exceptionally high. Instead of getting a bunch of semi literate cockneys spouting cliché after cliché without saying anything remotely insightful, it’s a pleasure to listen to eloquent and intelligent men like Mike Atherton, David Gower and Nasser Hussain analysing where it all went so right.

When England win, I can even tolerate Sir Ian too. You know he’s loving it just as much as you – and you just know he’s going to give the Aussies a ton of stick when he goes out on the town later that evening. Go get ‘em Beefy!

Yesterday’s play was brilliant because you could tune in knowing exactly what the result would be. There were no anxieties, only joy. The fourth day at the MCG was just a victory parade. I even wanted the Aussies to put up a bit of a fight, just to extend play and give me more time to wallow in the Canary Yellows’ misery. There’s something magical about staring at a scoreboard that reads ‘Australia 168-6, (still) 5,000 runs behind’.

Cricket is my favourite sport for so many reasons. In games that last eighty or ninety minutes, victories are short and sweet – which is all very well, but what if you’re a sporting connoisseur who wants to cherish your team’s conquests over a number of hours? And what if you’re a bit of a sadist who likes to savour the demise of your sporting foes in a prolonged fashion? I think I’m probably both.

The post match interviews were amazing too. England should be proud of their cricketers. They’re accessible, likeable, and for the most part modest too. They respond to interviewers’ questions fluently and perceptively, and you get the impression that they’re down to earth and friendly – the kind of blokes you’d be happy to have a beer with.

Would you want to have a drink with Wayne Rooney or Ashley Cole? No way. Give me Graeme Swann and Andrew Strauss any day of the week. Footballers would probably try and shag your wife when you pop to the gents.

Last night I went to bed a happy and contented man. I also felt extremely proud – not because I’m a nationalist, or because I dislike Australians with a passion (deep down, I secretly like Aussies, and I’ve got a few Australian relatives) – but because, like you, I’ve seen the England players grow over the last few years.

We’re all familiar with the personal stories of players like Tim Bresnan and Christ Tremlett – and we appreciate the stick they’ve taken and the obstacles they’ve overcome in their careers. In a way, therefore, we feel we know them. That’s why we share their joy and revel in their success. Well done lads.

James Morgan


  • In your list of players who have come through hard times, don’t forget Graeme Swann who was picked for a Tour with Duncan Fletcher and then became one of the tried but wanting brigade. It has been great to see Swanny come through to being the best Spin Bowler after the pundits said a finger-spinner was as dated as a two pound four ounces bat.

    • Very good point. Swanny has come such a long way. Amazing to think he was way behind Giles in the pecking order for years.

  • It is a really good achievement but I hope England keep their focus on the last test as a drawn series would be a travesty! Lots of people keep stating that Swann should have been picked a few years ago but his time in County cricket and the move to Notts made him as a player.

    • Like quite a few England players, Swann was a bit of a late developer. Trott is probably the best example of this. Nothing more than a slightly above average county batsman for years, then suddenly ….


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