Ashes Cricket

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Ashes Cricket

Postby Grant » 29 May 2013, 08:00

As this wonderful site is devoted to those traditions that have held Man in good stead, there is no greater sporting tradition than the enduring battle between England and Australia on the field of flannelled endeavour. We have traversed many of the worrying influences that affect those things we hold dear, so it's time to conjecture about this most important issue. Are there any cricket tragics out there who have an opinion about the upcoming battles. (Apologies to our American and Canadian members who probably have no idea of what I'm writing about.)
Grant
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Nathan » 29 May 2013, 08:29

Yes, definitely looking forward to that one - nice idea for an ongoing thread to deflect away from all the other doom and gloom! England have definitely got a good team this year and the winning momentum, but you've got quite a few newer players I don't really know much about, so I wouldn't want to predict the score.
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Paul » 29 May 2013, 09:18

I'm a cricket fan Grant and have been since the summer of1975. I've seen a few days (live, always at Old Trafford)) of Ashes battles over the years and listened to hundreds more hours via the instititution of Test Match Special - one of the last endearing features of the BBC.

I'm looking forward to this year's tussle. The series in 2005 was excellent and contained some classic matches, though you may have a different view.

I've seen some good players in my time, none less than the mighty Australians of the late 1990s through to 2005 - a superlative team. It's rather sad when a team such as this eventually ages and many of the players of such quality retire. It's the same with the West Indies and their decline from the greatness of the 1970s and 1980s.

I don't really like 20/20 cricket and so don't follow the IPL tournaments at all. In fact I'm not too keen on one-day cricket of the 40 or 50 over variety either, though I will watch it. It's all I have ever played after all. But test matches are the real deal - proper cricket, along with the other 3 and 4 day formats in national domestic tournaments. As you will know, only two-innings cricket, over days of play, produces the subtlety and technicalities of the game.

I played in just 2 games for my school in 1979, that school summer term then being interrupted due to sitting O levels. I then didn't play any cricket until 1996, apart from messing about on the park and the beach with the kids, playing with tennis balls. In 1996 a few friends and I formed a team and spent a few seasons playing friendlies against local league clubs. We also did a bit of touring a little further afield for a few years, managing to find fixtures through work contacts and via an internet cricket-fixture service.

This was/is a good site to use for English friendly clubs:

http://www.thefixturelist.org.uk/cricket.shtml

We went to Bradford in 2000, 2001 and 2002 to play an Asian team, all arranged by my brother through contacts he had in the double-glazing and window industry. The match in 2002 was played against the backdrop of the recent (a week earlier) Bradford riots of that year. I remember driving through the town and seeing evidence of the previous week's troubles. No trouble at the cricket of course. If there's one thing to get Asians involved in Western culture then it will be cricket.

I played in local league cricket from 1998 through to 2006. My last match was September 2006 when, opening the batting, I was dismissed for a duck the sixth ball of the innings - dragged onto the stumps off an inside edge. Not the greatest moment to retire then though I didn't think it would be my last game at the time. The following year I just couldn't rouse the same enthusiasm for some reason (I was nearly 44) and so have drifted out of playing the game.

I qualified as an umpire in 2005 and have stood in probably 150 matches at local level, including a handful of cup finals and a couple of league deciders. It's a thankless task really but I have enjoyed most of it. I had a serious disciplinary situation with one team in 2008 and had to report the captain and entire team to the league. I was disappointed with their lame response, wherein the club were ordered to write to me with apologies, but nothing else was really done. No bans or fines, which should be typical punishments.

I could go on about declining standards of behaviour that have now even affected cricket, of all things. Player power has also become too prevalent and there seems to be a lack of resolve by leagues in applying strict disciplinary sanctions. In this, it seems the game and its custodians (at local level) merely mirror society and the lack of discipline applied thereon by the judicial authorities. People just get away with too much and (some of) the younger players can now be quite boorish and aggressive. In fact you can see a demarcation in behaviour between those players now 40-something and those younger than that age. It's not just the maturity that is responsible but a definite shift in people's behaviour. In 'my day' (Fred Trueman hat on) players aged in their teens or twenties wouldn't dream of the dissent and sharp practise that may occur today. Still, it's not that bad all the time and cricket remains a beacon in the darkness on many levels.

I think England will retain the Ashes this year, even more so now that Ponting and Hussey have retired. Australia has produced some marvellous players over the years and it's sad to see them go. Shane Warne was a genius.

Finally, one has to mention Sir Donald Bradman. A remarkable sportsman, possibly the best (in the context of his sport) that there has ever been.

Thanks.
Paul
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Mike » 29 May 2013, 09:44

Nathan wrote:Yes, definitely looking forward to that one - nice idea for an ongoing thread to deflect away from all the other doom and gloom! England have definitely got a good team this year and the winning momentum, but you've got quite a few newer players I don't really know much about, so I wouldn't want to predict the score.


To be honest, I'd put my house on England in this series. The Oz team is in complete disarray at the moment (we were thumped 4-0 in India) and the new players hardly inspire confidence. It would be nice if the series turned out to be as exciting as 2005, but...I can't see it happening.
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Nathan » 29 May 2013, 09:56

Mike - I was trying to be diplomatic by not saying what you just said;)

It's a back-to-back series this time, so the series Down Under should be the real contest, that is, if we're not sick of playing each other by then. Shame those Tests are on from about 11.30pm to 7am our time - I always do an all-nighter at least once, but that's about the most anti-social a time as it can get.
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Mike » 29 May 2013, 11:43

It's not much better here, of course. If I recall, the first session usually starts at about 9 p.m. our time.

I agree with Paul about 20-20, by the way. It's cricket's equivalent of bubblegum. Good test cricket is always worth watching though.
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Grant » 29 May 2013, 20:05

Paul, I couldn't agree more about the 2005 series. An extraordinary clash that contained the best match in living memory - that one where Engalnd was chasing a small target and Shane Warne almost won the match single-handedly. Although Australia lost, both teams added a glorious chapter to test match history. We all like to dream and my unfulfilled dream is walking out on to Lords as part of the Australian team. An English Ashes series is the superb mix of tradition, intense competition and good-humoured bragging rights once it's over. Let's hope this series lives up to expectations.
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Caleb » 30 May 2013, 04:25

Paul wrote:Shane Warne was a genius.


He went to my school, though he was in his final year while I was still in the junior school. Apparently, even then he was really good. The other thing, supposedly, that he was infamous for was for holding the record for how many sausage rolls (or was it dim sims?) he could eat at recess. I can't remember the number, but it was something truly disgusting like more than 50. He beat one of the science teachers, Mr Stansfield, to take the title and no one else ever came close to beating it. This was all hearsay, of course, and by the time we got to year 12, it had grown into an outright legend.
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Grant » 30 May 2013, 07:55

It's a shame success on the sporting field is seen as an excuse to engage in behaviour unbecoming off the field. One would hope the lessons learned as part of sport would be carried into daily practice but with Shane Warne his genius centred solely around what he could do with a cricket ball. The sports stars deserving of long-term admiration are those who have led a complete life in terms of conduct and contribution. .
Grant
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Paul » 30 May 2013, 11:07

I did mean that Warne was a genius at cricket of course, not in the general sense, such as Einstein. I'm sure people here recognised that.

He has done some pretty boorish things though in his time off the field of play which was a pity because it did no doubt cost him the Australian captaincy. Not only was he a genius with the ball, but he had a very good cricket brain too. Surely he was the 'unofficial' captain when Ponting was first given the job?

Not any more though. I read that Shane is now a hair-tinted metrosexual in the company of an English actress, of whom I will speak not!
Paul
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Paul » 30 May 2013, 11:38

Grant wrote:It's a shame success on the sporting field is seen as an excuse to engage in behaviour unbecoming off the field. One would hope the lessons learned as part of sport would be carried into daily practice but with Shane Warne his genius centred solely around what he could do with a cricket ball. The sports stars deserving of long-term admiration are those who have led a complete life in terms of conduct and contribution. .


Good post and caused me to remember the cricketing knights. I read Gavin's post recently, about the frivolity of the UK honours system these days and generally agree with most of it and in particular the likely increased frivolity since (or at least during) the time of Tony Blair.

However I would disagree with any idea that absolutely no sportsman should ever be honoured. In particular well-behaved and outstanding cricketers. Obviously I am biased, but it would be hard to fault the first cricketing knight - Sir Jack Hobbs, who was knighted by the current Queen not long after she took the throne - long before Blair of course.

'Never once in word or deed did he ever fall from grace', is a quote aimed at Hobbs, who was by all accounts a perfect gentleman.

Sir Donald Bradman is another title I would agree with as is Sir Garfield Sobers (West Indian as you will know) and even more so, his countryman Sir Viv Richards.

I like Viv a lot, though he has sometimes spoken about colonial oppression and has a tinge of the aggrieved black man when he says this. He says it with a smile though and for Viv, it's a spur for competetiveness and even racial identity - which he acknowledges. At the same time he acknowledges and approves of the English (for eg) retaining their own identity. To denigrate one's own country is to Viv, unthinkable and he has mentioned it with regard to the English with puzzlement and disapproval. Of course Viv wanted us to be fiercely patriotic and to attempt to make his team 'grovel' , because that would make for a good game of cricket.

Silly Tony Greig. That one backfired spectacularly. I attended four days of the Old Trafford test match of 1976, aged just 13, only to see Gordon Greenidge score a century in each innings and Viv a century in the second. England were dismissed for 71 in the first innings and it rained that day too - possibly the only day it did rain from April to October in that longest and hottest of (English) summers. This was also the match of John Edrich and the ageing Brian Close facing a quartet of assassins in the gathering gloom, the stooped Australian Bill Alley as umpire intervening. Halcyon days.

Edit: What about Sir Learie Constantine, eventually Lord (Baron) Constantine of Marvel (Trinidad) and Nelson (Lancashire)? This was long before the modern era.

Compare Lord Constantine with our now Lord Ahmed.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/ ... 51483.html
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Grant » 30 May 2013, 20:49

Paul,
I have great concerns with honours bestowed on those who performed their professional tasks well. They have been well-paid for their commitment, in these days of stratospheric sporting salaries unlike the days of Hobbs, Bradman etc. It is those who have volunteered their time, money and expertise to help those less fortunate who deserve regal recognition. (And it should be done without fanfare ie no trusts in the name of the sportsman/celebrity)
Regarding Shane Warne, his transformation from a sun-bleached yobbo into a celebrity toy-boy is grotesque. I'm all for personal improvement but the work done on him would appear courtesy of the experts from Madame Tussaud's
Grant
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Nathan » 18 Jun 2013, 15:24

While we're waiting for the cricket to get going, I wondered if they were any rugby fans on here getting equally excited about the Lions tour down under?

I was looking forward to a first Lions series win for 16 years, but with the injuries we've had and the loss in the game earlier today I'm now not quite so confident!
Nathan
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Grant » 24 Jun 2013, 11:21

Nathan, there are many of your "Red Army" currently on these shores. (I wonder how so many manage to get time away from work?) The game on Saturday night was an excellent one with a preference for running rugby rather than the metronomic kicking that is a blight on modern rugby. If the Wallabies had managed a kicker who could pot a goal or two, the result would have been different. On to Melbourne for another eagerly awaited clash that we hope will equal the standard of the first game.
Grant
 
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Re: Ashes Cricket

Postby Mike » 11 Jul 2013, 12:51

What an astonishing session of test cricket that was. Ashton Agar - who would have thought?
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