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Thread: England's preoccupation with the Ashes is harmful to Test cricket

  1. #1
    International Regular Steulen's Avatar
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    England's preoccupation with the Ashes is harmful to Test cricket

    After reading Paul Collingwood's current column on the BBC website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cric...nd/5165716.stm, you lazy gits), it again struck me how dominant the Ashes are in English cricket. Collingwood's column is another excellent example of an England cricketer making all the right noises ahead of a Test series against good opposition, only to insert the large but (no pun intended) "of course the Ashes are already in the back of my mind".

    England bowlers can miss a whole English summer as long as they are fit for the Ashes etc. etc. It's the only series that really counts, it seems. This problem may well be at the heart of the current decline of Test cricket. A number of countries are none too enthusiastic about playing Tests as it is (Pakistan: would be nice to play in front of an audience for a change; India: doesn't make us money; Windies: we're crap at it, NZ: we could play 20 Twenty20's at the same time), and with England not even pretending to attach full value to playing Test cricket against others than Australia, there's not much left in favour of the five-day game.

    The bad thing is, this mentality is shared by players, management, journalists and supporters alike.

    If this mindset continues, The Ashes will soon become an anachronism, a biannual re-enactment of Gettysburg and Waterloo including the funny clothing, while the rest of the world watches baseball and Twenty20.

    If England want to preserve Test cricket as we know it, they better start by thinking about the next series to come. Then, only when they look at the calendar and see, by golly, it's Australia next, can they start using Ashes every other sentence again.

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    what decline in test cricket??
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    International Regular Steulen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy
    what decline in test cricket??
    No-one giving a damn other than our Ashin brethren perhaps?

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    U19 Vice-Captain SpeedKing's Avatar
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    We are too preoccuied with the Ashes, we always have been. Last time round, even from the South African tour, we were already looking forward to the Ashes. and to say the truth, most countries do sort of look forward when they are bout to play the Aussies. But in our case, considering the run we have had over the last few series, we could do away with that distraction.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    I think it's more just to do with the history of the Ashes, and the fact that kids from either country are brought up learning about the Australia-England rivalry. Naturally, that attracts more fans, and more attention, than some random test series that England has to play under the FTP. It just has more meaning.

    Edit: Just found this article, which seems to be talking a little bit about the same thing, that England are focusing too much on the Ashes and not the upcoming series. You can bet your bottom dollar, though, that the Australian selectors will be thinking of the Ashes as well come the Champion's Trophy.
    Last edited by andyc; 11-07-2006 at 02:59 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by flibbertyjibber View Post
    Only a bunch of convicts having been beaten 3-0 and gone 9 tests without a win and won just 1 in 11 against England could go into the home series saying they will win. England will win in Australia again this winter as they are a better side which they have shown this summer. 3-0 doesn't lie girls.

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    This whole Australian summer, the Aussies seemed to have at least half an eye on the Ashes too. There was a lot of talk about finding the right balance for the Ashes, trying out players to see if they deserve a shot in the Ashes etc. Quite simply, the Ashes is the biggest series in the sport, only Pakistan vs India even comes close, so it's understandable that it is a big focus for both teams, especially considering the huge shake up that happened last time around.

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    International Vice-Captain Dasa's Avatar
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    The Ashes may be a big series, but it seems a bit like the English aren't really giving other teams the respect they deserve because they're so preoccupied with the Ashes. I don't think the Aussies are the same in that regard at all - they're still treating every Test match pretty seriously and you don't always hear talk of the Ashes when they're playing other teams.

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    There's nothing wrong with hyping up a big series, and obviously it turned out to be a huge success for cricket in general last year. I do agree however that if it leads to you writing off other significant series well before the big one because you are just preparing for the Ashes, it's a problem. If it was Bangladesh a month before Australia like last time, that's fine, but Pakistan four months out is a bit absurd.

    Over here, there's been a bit of the "eye to the Ashes" stuff over the last couple of seasons, but I think there's less of it, and it's not harming Australia's performance or the attendances or interest in our games, so I don't think it's really such a problem. I think the last series before the Ashes last time, against New Zealand, did have a bit of a "warmup" feel about it, but in reality Australia didn't change their playing style or their selection policies or anything, so there wasn't a huge difference.

    I think this time it's been fairly reasonable in Australia, and Australia's players seemed pretty focused on South Africa, and even said that was the first concern when interviewed and so on. Part of that might be beacause Australia lost last time. The desire to win back the Ashes is there, but before that could be done Australia needed to turn things around in general. The aim of the Australian team was to recover from the England loss and rebuild the side, and they did that fairly successfully. It was only when Bangladesh came along that we got some of the "looking forward to this being over so we can rest up and prepare for the Ashes" stuff in interviews.
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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    It may well be harmful to England's test performances, but there's no evidence at all that it's harming test cricket as a whole. I'm sure that followers of Pakistan & England were delighted with England's performances last year and a couple of months ago.

    Still always convenient to blame us, I suppose ......

    EDIT
    Should have read "Pakistan & Sri Lanka .."
    Last edited by wpdavid; 11-07-2006 at 08:40 AM.

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    It isnt quite normal circumsatnces.

    The ashes is the biggest series + England won it for the first time in a long time + Australia are the top team to beat for anyone + the last series was incredibly tight and hard fought + the return series was scheduled for just 1 year later + massive public interest in that series from both sides, not least Australia where they consider it the biggest summer of cricket in their history.

    Perhaps the ashes scheduling should be considered. technically its every other year, but in reality it varies from 1 year to 2½ years.

    Even so, I cant see that its all about the ashes. Pakistan will play to full houses in england, something they probably dont do anywhere else.

    There is, though, probably a growing apathy towards ODI cricket, but inst that just a cause for celebration

  11. #11
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Yeah I tend to agree with those who are saying that it seems to be an English pre-occupation more than an Aussie one. At least Australia have won everything else since the Ashes and it's why England can't claim to be on par as a team with the Aussies; they may have beaten the Aussies but they've literally not won a Test series since against weaker opposition. Certainly it's been most apparent in this series against SL; the Test series they should have won comfortably was drawn (a side where the top batsman's average for the series is around 38 shouldn't even challenege you if you're a decent Test side) and in picking third-string players in the ODI's, they were rightly spanked 5-0.

    I'm not putting all of their ills down to this but Simon Jones is has been a huge loss. Not just because he was bowling well but because he's the only really frighteningly aggressive quickie in the side. Harmi has his moments but he has long period of appearing quite meek too. Freddie has the killer instinct in some ways but he hasn't been able to exercise it due to a bowling workload which no-one capable of bowling 90mph+ should have to bear. Simon Jones was a barometer of the side and when the side was doing well, he was all over the Aussies. And when not doing well, he was the spark.

    The batting overall has been okay but the bowling by England since the Ashes, particularly the pace bowling, has been pretty awful. The Test bowling has been poor but the ODI bowling has been really, really bad. If you want to pinpoint a reason why England can't win a series right now, there it is. Nothing sort of a series win against Pakistan will do before the Ashes.
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    I think this sort of prioritising is inevitable when you cram so many series in. It is impossible for any side to play full out for so much of the year, so players look for the games that mean the most to them.
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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaly piscine
    I think this sort of prioritising is inevitable when you cram so many series in. It is impossible for any side to play full out for so much of the year, so players look for the games that mean the most to them.

    So if there was only one series between the two Ashes, England would all of a sudden care about that series?


    I said this a long time ago, England are too preoccupied with the Ashes...and it is hurting cricket in general. Its mostly hurting England, but England are a huge part of the cricket world and its important to have a strong and focused English team for the good of cricket.
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    International Regular Steulen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaly piscine
    I think this sort of prioritising is inevitable when you cram so many series in. It is impossible for any side to play full out for so much of the year, so players look for the games that mean the most to them.
    That may be the reason, but when it means an England cricketer thinking of Australia when he's due to play Pakistan this month, it's really unhealthy.

  15. #15
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steulen
    That may be the reason, but when it means an England cricketer thinking of Australia when he's due to play Pakistan this month, it's really unhealthy.

    And you will never be close to the best side in the world thinking like that. And there's an important distinction between Australia and England...whatever their priorities: they win. And they keep winning. England on the other hand, do everything but win. This whole 'out of the ashes', or 'fit for the ashes' is ******** business. Most important thing right now for England is to be fit for Pakistan.

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