The Ashes

Now the dust has settled (kind of anyway) the pyjamas have been cleaned, folded and put away it’s time to focus on the real game - The Ashes. It’s less than 2 weeks to the first test at Edgbaston. Joe Root thinks this years Ashes will be bigger than the WC, let’s hope he’s right and the ending is a little less controversially. Both teams will be playing lead up matches with teams still to be confirmed.

I for one am looking forward to long nights by the fire and a good contest played in good spirits.

:uk: :australia:

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Here here! The cricket lover in me would be happy to see each test go to the last ball of the 5th day in each game, but if the Aussies were bowled out for 50 in each innings and England won each game inside a couple of days then that’s fine too :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Presuming that won’t happen and on a more serious note my biggest concern for England will be the opening batsmen. Jennings’ name has been mentioned but he has generally struggled at Lancashire (where I’m a Member but unfortunately don’t get to as many games as I’d like) and is not in great form.
Burns maybe? Roy perhaps but would he be too cavalier and not able to curb his aggressive stroke play and produce a patient innings? Or maybe even Bairstow?

Talking of openers at Lancashire great things were expected of Haseeb Hameed when he broke into the England team a few years ago but his form for the last two seasons has been abysmal. I think he needs a change of County and a fresh start.

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Roy set to open according to commentators who seem to know. It would be mighty brave to have Bairstow with him.

Selectors have two few batsmen and too many bowlers, especially if Broad is considered and all the others are fit. I think with a 5 match series we will see plenty of rotation.

Test squad for the Ireland match announced today likely to see some folk rested I am sure. Stokes et al probably still drunk!

Bruce

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Australia haven’t won (the Ashes) away since 2001, so most think that England will start favourites. Smith and Warner are safe bets and it looks like we will be at full strength. Matthew Wade is also on the radar, although we are only relying on a squad of 17 down 1 from the norm.

I’m struggling to pick a meritworthy top 3 of England’s batting order (ex Roy), assuming Root bats at #4. Jennings isn’t sound against pace (plants front foot and goes fishing) and others who have been in the frame before aren’t setting the averages alight with form AFAICS. As much as Roy is great in ODI cricket, when the ball was moving around (swing & seam) on Sunday, to my eyes he looked a bit lost.

I’m also concerned about the bowling attack if Anderson is N/A through injury for the first match. I suspect Archer will play but I’m not sure Test cricket is really his bag.

@BruceW - FYI Stokes was being interviewed by the Good Morning Britain mob (or whatever it’s now called), a.k.a. the Piers Morgan show. To my ears (I only saw c.3 mins or so), it was cringeworthy and Stokes’ face supported such thoughts.

So far I’m liking what I read, no 1, 2 or 3. And no Anderson. Maybe the nights won’t be that long. :grin:

After the most recent Test games in England, buying tickets for D4/5 is perhaps inadvisable.

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I think Archer will be a fine test bowler but they will manage his workload and development. Pace is always a weapon.

My tentative 11, in order, looks like this assuming people are fit. Anderson will be fine don’t worry!

Roy, Burns, Root, Bairstow Stokes, Buttler, S Curran, Ali (or Foakes), Woakes, Wood (or Archer) Anderson

So no Broad for me and Ali is debatable however I think they will want a spin option at Edgbaston. The other option is Denly to bat 3 and neither Ali or Foakes play.

Bruce

Brancroft and Warner will more than likely open for Aus, that’ll get the Barmy Army something to sing about.

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It would be nice if the national cricket team could be viewed on the BBC, particularly the most important test series in cricket.

The great home Ashes series in 2005 resulted in…total blackout for 14 years so I would not hold your breath.

As someone trying to keep kids playing cricket so they join clubs and keep the flow of players into our League I think it has been a total misstep by the ECB.

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It would be nice to think of this being the case but the Beeb surrendered the TV rights to cricket so long ago, preferring to stay with TMS on radio - plus the quality of their coverage was surpassed by C4 (IIRC) when it took it over initially. It would be good if they could muster enough of our licence fees to assume a highlights programme on BBC2/wherever, noting BBC1 is crowded out by the likes of EastEnders (which I hate with a passion).

I see there are media articles today about ‘listing’ some cricket events (a la Wimbledon), so as to ensure these are FTA. I must admit that for all the financial ills which Sky and subs monies can introduce in to a sport, they have promoted cricket well IMHO. Let’s not overlook that BT Sport’s acquisition of the rights to the last Ashes series in Oz wasn’t a commercial success if most media reports are to be believed, not helped by the time difference and the uncompetitive performances of the England team.

There’s also the women’s game to consider as, I suspect, the rights may be bundled with this. c.1999 I had a chat with a lady who was involved with the then WCA in the UK, IIRC around the time that control of the women’s game was being passed to the ECB (or alike). She was very concerned the women’s game would get a poor deal, likely get lost in the ECB machine as against the greater marketing power of the men’s game.

From outside the goldfish bowl, it seems like her fears were unfounded, what with the women’s team enjoying the same sponsors as for the men’s Test team et al.

So I take it from your posts that the Ashes won’t be on free to air. That’s pretty dumb, who’s responsible for master stroke, Sky. You come over to my place and watch, there’s plenty of room and the beers cold. Nights are pretty long though😱

Your offer is very tempting, and presumably the long nights could be passed listening to good music in great sound!

It’s basically the greed of the cricket authorities for selling to the highest bidder (Sky) without consideration of the consequences. As a result, cricket is followed by fewer people and played by fewer people.

That’s disappointing who are we going to pick on if your not there :slightly_frowning_face:. When pay tv came to Australia they passed a law that protected most major sporting events that include the national sides. Test cricket is on both pay tv and free to air. Fox (Sky) found a loop hole that gave them the 20/20 and the 50 overs much to most people discuss.

Pete

No free to air cricket in any format in the UK for over 14 years, until last Sunday.

I’m sorry but I don’t see that Sky or BT stuffing the ECB pockets etc has conspicuously promoted grass roots cricket in the UK. Maybe it would have been worse without. NatWest have been a good sponsor and supporter of the game though with various initiatives and grants so clubs have been able to invest in grounds etc.

Our League is seeing club 2nd teams dropping out and clubs completely closing on an annual basis. The kids who turn up to our fundays are wearing footie shirts not cricketing ones. The game at a participation level is really in danger.

I took a look at the ECB accounts the other day … not a detail about the split between revenues and sponsorship. On the other hand there was an explanation about loans to counties.
I think there should be more transparency in such accounts, I would like to know how counties and minor counties are supported, as well as youth cricket.

It’s very well known that many counties (like professional rugby clubs) have been suffering, hence why the (very silly IMV) idea of ‘The Hundred’ was born - or could be still-born if some counties refuse the revenue/profit sharing terms.

T20 cricket for many counties has been a great boon but there are only so many ways to milk that cow, as interest in the County Championship has declined relative to the one-day competitions. The Test status of many grounds was put up for review many years ago and some (e.g. Old Trafford) were told they had to invest in the ground to get/maintain Test status (all very chicken and egg, with no promise of anything at the end), not missing the fact that more grounds have sought and acquired Test status (e.g. Hampshire (Ageas) Bowl/Cardiff/Durham being the latest IIRC, which have been added to the Test roster, partly to widen local public interest outside London which continues to enjoy Tests at Lord’s and The Oval come what may, leaving only 3 other berths per 5-match series).

AFAIK, outside of the usual functions and pop concerts which many grounds host, the vast majority of the Welsh/English grounds are single purpose unlike many of the Aussie grounds which share AFL/concerts and other events, with drop-in wickets (as per the new ground in Perth).

Like @Camphuw I’d be interested to understand how many of the counties strive to balance their books and if they truly do (ex benefactors), and what element they receive from any central source(s). Looking around the fringes of the England team and The Lions, I am not seeing the next crop of young players with Test potential (Archer/Currans excluded).

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Preliminary squad is Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

I would guess Burns & Denley will open. No James Vince is a surprise as is the absence of Jofra Archer with Olly Stone getting in ahead of him. Nice to see 2 Somerset lads in the squad (and I do not mean simply because it will improve Essex chance of winning the county championship). I would have preferred Foakes to Ali as I think his keeping is superb.

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I wonder whether there are thoughts to promote Stokes in to #3 berth (unless they go Burns/Roy/Denly?) and let other bowlers take the strain?

Look where Steve Smith started in the Aussie line up - #6/7/8?

He has the technique and temperament for a #3 in my view - albeit the way England have been batting, it could be tantamount to an opener’s role.