The Ashes 2009 is currently going on and the first test at Cardiff just ended last weekend. The series is just 1 test old and the hype surrounding this one is unbelievable. I can’t believe that this is a follow up to the 2006/07 series where England lost 5-0. I guess the English have selective amnesia as they have completely bypassed that series in between almost making everyone feel that this series is right after the 2005 one. I have been following this series for the last 15 years or so, not because I have a favorite team but just for the love of the sport. Since the time I started seeing the Ashes it’s always been a one sided contest. Yes there was one great series in 2005 but that’s about it. I did not watch the 1986-87 series and the one before that when England had won the Ashes back to back. But since then it has been just a one-way traffic.
While the British media blows this series up out of proportion, one can’t stop thinking, is it really this big? Yes probably for the English and the Australians but to call this as a series for which the entire world is waiting for is bit of a stretch. To be frank for the last 2 decades England have been a mediocre team except for the one which played in the 2005 Ashes. The English media is generating all this hype for the current series from England’s 2005 ashes win, meanwhile completely ignoring the 5-0 bashing which they received in 2006/07.
I recently saw few of the SKY commentators calling the Ashes as the definition of test cricket, yes I agree but for only England and Australian supporters and not for the entire cricketing world. For the others, it’s just another cricketing series between two teams. As far as I am concerned the Ashes has been too one-sided over the years to be called a great competition. Australians have been too strong for the English teams of the past with the likes of McGrath’s and Warne’s in their team.
The current Ashes series though can be called as a series between two even sides. The contest becomes even only because England are playing at home. The over hype for the series is sometimes hard to take. Yeah I agree that this is one of the oldest series in the history of the game but that doesn’t automatically make it a great series, does it? Since 1989 until 2005 both these teams have played 43 times and England has just won 7 and the Australians 28 with 8 drawn games.
The 2005 series was great and England played brilliantly to win a close series to claim the ashes almost after 2 decades. In spite of that it still remains 34-9 to the Aussies since 1989. The series was great prior to 1989 as the teams were close, the games were even, the head to head more close 87-86 to the Aussies but since then it has been one-sided. Even though this will remain as one of the oldest and historic series in the cricketing circles, it is hardly a great contest anymore. The English probably would like to believe that the entire world is waiting with bated breath for this contest but that’s not true.
Yes I agree that we do watch it and enjoy the series but same as any other contest. I think that the English always want to hold on to their history and would want to believe some things are more important to others than it actually is but that’s not the case with the ashes. The Ashes is equally important to the Australians but you will see that once the series is over they will start concentrating on their next assignment and you will not see any Aussie talking about the Ashes until they meet again for the trophy. The English though live for the series, so it seems. Once the series is over they keep thinking about the next one, meanwhile ignoring the series in between.
English media by talking all the time about the 2005 series is trying to make this current series bigger than it actually is. This series will be good but will never attain the greatness of the 2005 series as the Aussies are a young team and no matter what people say England an ordinary team. I will be following this series for sure but I don’t think that this particular series deserves the hype it has got.