The Ashes, Ashton Agar, Stuart Broad and just a little bit of Pommie baiting!

15 July 2013 Comments 7

WARNING: Whilst this blog is about sporting honour and sportsmanship, it focuses on cricket. For those of you who have no interest I understand if you turn away NOW!

Wow. What a great Test match!

The first game in the famous Ashes series had everything didn’t it? The only thing missing was an Aussie win of course, but I promise I won’t harp on about that here. (Note to all Poms: it’s a marathon not a sprint…)

At Trent Bridge, there were brilliant performances on both sides, tension beyond belief, a DRS (decision review system) that created more debate than clarity – and then there was THAT moment when Stuart Broad didn’t walk when he was clearly out. I’ll come to that in a moment, but this was a Test match that proved the five-day game is THE unbeatable form of cricket. The stands were full and the ebb and flow, the strategy and the intrigue ran far deeper than anything a One Day International or T20 can provide. Rather like real, fresh coffee, it was far more enjoyable than any of that instant crap.

In an Ashes series, there’s an intense rivalry which makes winning even sweeter and losing a bigger kick in the guts. The sledging amongst the players (let’s call it badinage) is on a different level too, although I do hate it when a bowler gets right in a batsman’s face with bulging eyeballs after he’s got him out. By all means, chuck a few well chosen phrases in his direction when he’s played and missed, but please, go and celebrate with your own team when you finally win the battle.

Trent Bridge was the first of TEN consecutive Test matches spread across two series in both countries over the next 6 months. After such a great five days, this might sound a little strange but I reckon that’s a bit daft because you can definitely have too much of a good thing. We’ve just seen the British & Irish Lions in Aus for the first time in 12 years and the anticipation, excitement and resulting spectacle was a joy to behold, even if the result wasn’t. I hope the intensity and interest in The Ashes doesn’t burn itself out and end with the ECB and CA bean-counters the only people thankful for the schedule.

Whatever happens, the next 6 months will build a catalogue of stories, incidents and memories and there was one such moment in Nottingham. At just 19-year of age, Ashton Agar hit 98 batting at number eleven for Australia. He drove, pulled and cut like a veteran but finally holed out when two short of his century. I’d have been gutted, but Ash simply smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Oh the innocence of youth! Marvellous.

And now to Stuart Broad.

When Broad edged to Michael Clarke at slip, the whole world saw it – or rather, the whole world, minus the bloody umpire. For reasons best known to himself, Aleem Dar didn’t give it. The Aussie players knew it was out. TV commentators knew it was out. Spectators around the world knew it was out – and so, no doubt, did Stuart Broad.

Australia had used up all their challenges on the Decision Review System so the umpire’s ruling was final although why on earth a team should automatically lose one of their challenges even when they’re proved right, is beyond me… But anyway, Broad stood his ground and waited for the umpire to make his judgement. He has every right to do exactly that and in this case, he got lucky. If it had been an Australian in that position, he’d probably have done exactly the same, but whether the cap had three lions on it or was baggy and green is irrelevant.

Dignity, spirit and honour are the bedrock of cricket’s tradition, popularity and charm and Broad’s refusal to walk, was shamefully out of place in such a great contest. This is not a pious rant from an Aussie looking for a pathetic excuse because we lost. Yes, I was annoyed, frustrated and disappointed and I knew I was going to get horrendous stick from all the Poms I know (I can’t call them mates at the moment) but that is genuinely not the issue. After all, the Poms were on the wrong side of a couple of decisions too; this is not about the result.

For the sake of cricket, I’d love to see the two captains make a public statement and declare that every batsman will respect the game’s traditions and walk if he believes he’s out. Is that a naive notion? In this day and age, perhaps it is, but wouldn’t it be wonderful and show great leadership if Alistair Cook and Michael Clarke could send a message to the rest of the world that Test cricket’s traditions are not to be forgotten?

For we cricket tragics at SKINS, we believe that the game is much bigger than what happens on the oval; we see cricket as a metaphor for life. When England and Australia meet, it’s a rough, tough playground and that’s the way it should always be. But let’s fight with honour and leave neither an Englishman nor an Australian with any leeway when it comes to excuses.

Bring on Lord’s!

7 comments on "The Ashes, Ashton Agar, Stuart Broad and just a little bit of Pommie baiting!"

  1. Skippy on 15 July 2013

    That Broad’s father is an Umpire and is reported to have behaved in a similar fashion , tell me everything about that incident ! Like father , LIKE SON !

    Tradition , no longer counts for anything ! We have seen other Matches where there has been an ebb & flow , that were instrumental in ensuring the ” punters ” turned up to fill the seats .

    This Test has ensured that the remaining Tests will have been ” Sold Out “, due to the palpable TENSION that was generated , and reached out to those watching TV or in my case the Internet feed !

    You would be amazed at the characters that i have watched and met up with , through more than half a century , going back to Freddy Truman in The Parks at Oxford , to The West indian Supremos in Perth , Alan Border at the Strand Hotel , The Waughs at the 2000 Olympic Flame ceremony and Shane in Centennial Park .

    Yet although i sat in the SCC during a Christmas Break i started to feel jaded over the years with the slow pace of Cricket . Ashton was a HUGE Wake up call , couldn’t get enough of him , even with the TDF on the TV .

    Not able to afford the trip to Lords , but will be there in ” spirit ” , with eurosport Ticker Tape and a Live Feed , if i can find it .

    Back to the TDF & Athletics , my take is Jacques Rogge no longer can avoid instituting a ” T & R comm ” see tourdafrance.blogspot.com

  2. John Bidwell on 15 July 2013

    Jamie

    Loved your blog !

    Just remember that Bradman was caught at SECOND slip in the first post-war Test…. and didn’t walk… and the AUSSIE umpire didn’t give jim out.

    It’s not all one way traffic.

    And let’s not forget all the Ozzie whingeing when Larwood was pinging it around their ears in the Bodyline series !

  3. matt moxon on 16 July 2013

    You lost, you lost, you lost, you lost, you lost.

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 16 July 2013

      watch it matt, i know where you live…

  4. Chest Rockwell on 16 July 2013

    Poms this, Poms that?? Aren’t you a UK citizen?

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 16 July 2013

      i refuse to answer that question on the grounds i may incriminate myself. however, i am not a ‘pommie’

  5. Roshini on 2 August 2013

    Enjoyed reading the blog and the comments…