Urn debate rises from the ashes

The ongoing debated on whether the winning side should get to keep the Ashes urn was reignited today as a key English commentator, a billionaire and a Prime Minister all advocated the Ashes holders, in this case Australia, should get to keep the urn.

English Ashes hero, Ian Botham and Sir Richard Branson, one of Britain’s richest men, called on the MCC to relinquish its hold on the urn.

“Ian and I were talking the other night and as two Englishmen, we said that it seems wrong that the Ashes should be going back to the UK when England had just lost the series”, said Branson.

“Australia should be proud to have won the Ashes and they should keep them until we can win them back again – and, as the airline that actually sponsored bringing the Ashes down, I also feel uncomfortable about the idea of actually flying the Ashes back to England.

“What we’d like to say is we’d like to start a campaign to keep the Ashes in the rightful place they should be, and if England one day win the Ashes back then we’ll be proud to fly the Ashes back to England.”

The former England all-rounder agreed.

“The reaction over here has been amazing. This is only promoting the game. It will create more interest and, I hope, get more people playing cricket,” he said

“This debate has been going on for as long as I can remember; ‘why should the Ashes stay in England?’ and it’s a fair point.

“You’re playing for the Ashes, and to me it seems a little bit ridiculous. If you’re playing for the Ryder Cup or the European Cup then you get the cup.

“I just think that Australia deserve it. If you’re playing for the Ashes, the winners should hold the Ashes – and that, to me, is what it’s all about.”

Australian Prime Minister John Howard also argued that the urn should be kept in Australia, during a commentary stint on Channel Nine today.

“I would very strongly support them coming to Australia,” he said.

“Despite all the tradition associated with the urn being where it normally is in England, I do think it should follow the winner.”

The Marylebone Cricket Club however was quick to stamp out any plans to have the urn kept anywhere other than Lord’s, issuing a statement saying “The Urn will return to Lord’s after the Exhibition tour finishes at the end of January.”

The urn and other Lord’s artifacts are currently on tour in Australia for the first time, done to coincide with the 2006/07 Ashes series.

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