Jake Howe | 8:08pm gmt 22 Nov 2010
Or How I learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Sledging
So it's time to predict the Ashes.
I've used every resource at my disposal. I've broken a glass tumbler while attempting to make it look like a crystal ball. I meant to examine tea leaves, but then remembered that I'm a student, and only posses coffee and beer. I was about to study sheep entrails, but the farmer caught me.
Predictions can be strange things when it comes to sport. On the face of it, there is really no real reason to make any. Far too often we find ourselves trying to come up with something original but fall away from it. We fail to dare at the last minute to be either insightful or risky while still maintaining an air of seriousness. Because when it comes down to it, we're useless. Yes, all of us. Even you, Steve.*
I'm no better. I seriously posted on one discussion that I thought Ricky Ponting has been a better batsman than Ian Bell. And I find myself, the great fool that I am, getting annoyed at people who mercilessly sledge and back their own side in the face of any criticism. It's since then that I've learned the way to predict.
The pundits are talking about weather conditions and ground history, the form of key players and mood in the camp, recent results and local results, the works. All of this, without exception, is bollocks. The Ashes never works that way. I care more about the Ashes than I can ever hope to convey. So if you ask me
"Are England going to retain the Ashes?",
"Of course they bloody well will."
It's more fun that way.
Howe_zat's Ashes Predictions
And each one likelier than the last.
1) England to win 4-1, captain Strauss citing "a need for mercy" during Australia's consolation win at Sydney.
2) Ricky Ponting to accept defeat less than graciously, stating "Look mate, I just don't give one any more"
3) Somebody mixes a YouTube techno remix of Steven Finn falling over, complete with comedy sound effects.
4) Marcus North to be Australia's leading run scorer and wicket taker, cementing his place as Australia's greatest all-rounder since Keith Miller.
5) Stuart Broad to break a metatarsal. Attempts a beard, few are convinced.
6) Kevin Pietersen strangely responds to all sledging by recommending Brylcreem.
7) A streaker to invade the pitch at the Gabba. Cricket Australia moves to ban alcohol from grounds, there is much embarrassment when said streaker turns out to be Mitchell Johnson's mother.
8) Swann to mysteriously disappear after taking 0-135 at Melbourne, is eventually found in March off his face at a Children Of Bodom concert.
9) Shane Watson to set a record of 6 run-outs after being told that slow-motion running would earn him a guest spot in Attitude magazine.
10) Jonathan Trott disturbs the Bane of D'rin, a Balrog of Morgoth, while marking his guard. Many are consumed by the flames of 'dun.
*If I'm really lucky, I just seriously worried someone called Steve. Take that, Steve.