Saturday 8 January 2011

The Ashes: How the tables have turned

For most of my life, Ashes cricket has meant watching Australia give England a harsh cricketing lesson – now it’s England teaching the Aussies how to play.

One of the more interesting theories I’ve heard behind England’s series success, is that somehow England have managed to become more Australian than the Australians.

I’m not so sure about that. At the moment England clearly have a better collection of players than Australia, but talent can only take you so far.

England have been captained well by Andrew Strauss, but the management, background staff and infrastructure of English cricket has improved, and this shouldn’t be overlooked.

Sporting success goes in cycles. This is England’s time; they’ve worked incredibly hard to reach this point. Australia have dominated world cricket for almost 20 years – but nothing lasts forever.

As I mentioned in my last Ashes post, it’s incredibly difficult for any team; regardless of the sport to keep on producing successful winning teams.

Being on top and maintaining that position brings its own challenges, something which Australia have had to deal with in recent years.

Some of the Australian media reaction to the series defeat has been over the top. They’ve become spoilt with success.

Suddenly they’ve become all introspective, questioning how they’re going to produce top quality test match cricketers. Sport is so important to Australia's national self esteem, that you know at some point Australian cricket will re-emerge.

As for England, I remember after the 2005 series win the team were meant to go on and become the World’s number one Test team - that never happened.

In my lifetime England have never been the dominant Test playing country. Becoming the best in the world has to be the next challenge. That's going to be tough and not taking anything away from this Ashes triumph, I’m not going to get carried away and assume England will achieve this.

Have to say though it is exciting times in English cricket. I remember back in the late 90s early 2000s I lost a bit of interest in cricket as England were so mediocre.

Now I’m really looking forward to this year’s World Cup and summer Test series against India

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