So often it is the usual headline makers that are once again grabbing the attention when Ashes’ series get underway. Shane Warne, Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Glenn McGrath, a few that have dominated the back (and front) pages in recent years, prior to that a glamorous list that includes names such as Botham, Lillee, Larwood, Laker, Bradman, Border, Hobbs, WG Grace, etc.
Paul Wood - ARTICLES
Much speculation in recent times concerns the growing band of promising young bowlers making their way in Test cricket. With a genuine lack of world class quicks currently parading their talents on the international stage, fans of the game are hopeful of glowing careers for the big pacemen such as Ishant Sharma, Morne Morkel, Stuart Broad, and Peter Siddle, to name a few.
Relinquished of his role as England captain, Kevin Pietersen will have felt a number of emotions in the last two weeks. Anxiously he will have awaited the ECB’s decision to his ultimatum regarding his and Peter Moores respective positions, then the hurt of not receiving the full backing (from the board and allegedly some of the players) he may have expected, now the feeling of unfinished business with the captaincy role, but no clear signs of regret. He believed what he was doing was for the right reasons, although on reflection maybe there were other ways around the situation.
For the Stanford Superstars it was sheer joy, just rewards for their six weeks of preparation for the one-off cash bonanza. For England it was a missed opportunity to boost their bank balances to the tune of around 619,000 pounds, and coming up woefully short will torment them in moments of quiet reflection.
It may seem a long time ago now, but South Africa did do a very professional job in clinching their first Test series victory in England since their re-introduction to international cricket. Now on the horizon is the ultimate challenge – repeating the dose against the world champions in Australia. Victory here, and South Africa can lay reasonable claim to being the new team to beat.