Date: 23/11/2017 Place: In front of my TV Time 5:30 AM (IST) ; A chilly morning, temperature had suddenly taken nose-dive since last evening, deep in my slumber i heard my alarm clock ring. A thought of setting a snooze crossed my mind as every cell of my body was feeling the chill but then the reason for setting the alarm dawned my ice-filled brains! How could I miss history in making, how could I not be a part of folklore called Ashes that had started way back in 1877, why miss it? Why?? Just because my mortal self was unable to come to terms with the outside cold!!
And then suddenly the cricket buff in me took over all the emotions and feelings and somehow I managed to pull myself out of the blanket, put my feet down, switched on the TV to tune into channel no.405(Sony Six) and what I saw was one for ages!! Mitchell Starc was marking his run up as he was about to bowl the first ball of 2017-18 Ashes and certain Alastair Cook was taking guard so when both protagonist were ready, our director (aka Umpire ) said “Gentlemen let’s play” Mitchell Starc started running and egging him,were 39000 aussie fans with a roar that was sure to give you goosebumps, and in that nanosecond all my efforts were redeemed.
Now,if my last paragraph was able to grab your attention let me explain more clearly. Cricket Test Series held between Australia and England is called The Ashes. But,why Ashes? As per Wikipedia “The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia’s 1882 victory at The Oval, their first Test win on English soil.
The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1882-83 played in Australia before which the English captain Ivo Bilgh had vowed to “regain those ashes”. The English media therefore dubbed the tour the quest to regain the Ashes.” However for a cricket fan, definition is very simple,if Test matches are pinnacle of cricket then Ashes is pinnacle of test cricket. It’s a magic show performed by 22 wizards on the field and supported by million more outside the pitch.
2004-05 Ashes in England was the most memorable
As a kid growing up I vividly remember two cricket series which will always remain part of my childhood. One was 2003 world Cup and the other was 2004-05 ashes in England.Those two series made sure that cricket will always be my first love,my commitment can be understood from the fact that I am still searching for my other love.There was lot of hype and hoopla around that 2005 ashes,for the first time in 20 years England had a team that could fight toe to toe with the mighty Aussies. Australia in those day were world champions and had players like Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langar, etc led by Ricky Ponting.England too had mavericks in their ranks with Freddie Flintoff, Kevin Peterson, Simon Jones etc and were led by Michael Vaughan. Outcome of the five match test contest was not decided until the very last day of the series. First test match was won by Australia which made every English supporter fear, that this series too will be like last 9 clashes where England team would play only for the sake of playing. But it was not to be as England won the next match and then went on to win the series 2-1 for the first time in 20 years. BBC reported after the series that it was “hailed as the most thrilling series ever” in the history of Ashes. The above image of Freddie Flintoff consoling Brett Lee after Australia lost the second test match by 2 runs,served as a beacon of sportsmanship throughout the sporting world.
What the Players feel about Ashes
If you will ask any English or an Aussie cricketer as to “what do they think about Ashes” . They will probably say that it is equivalent to playing in cricket world cup and sometimes they will even say that it is bigger than that. Now you will ask,what can be bigger than a world cup tournament? Answer simply lies in the fact that, cricketers from both the country wants to be part of ashes folklore, the folklore that laid the very foundation of this beautiful game. Whether it was body line tactics to stop Sir Don or Stan Mcable inspirational 187 not out in its response, Botham’s ashes or the ball of the century from Shane Warne also known as the “Sheikh of Tweak”, the image of Freddie Flintoff & Brett Lee showed why this game is called “the gentleman’s game”, or Mitchell “destroyer” Johnson who during the 2013-14 ashes down under sent the shivers down the Englishmen spines. It is said that during that five match,he never bowled a ball below 89 mph.
Wether it’s an Englisman or an Aussie they look upon the magical moments and try to conjure one by themselves which will eventually put them in the hallowed list of ashes great’s.
If you are a cricket fan, you already know what I am talking about but, if you are sports fan and you like to be called one then ashes is must watch. If you are movie buff its like Robert de Niro vs Al Pacino. It’s the ultimate game of thrones of this game of cricket.
As I write, first test match of ashes 2017-18 is underway down under. Do catch some of the action, especially the Boxing day test starting 26th December and the new year one starting from 1st January.
For schedule do visit the link below https://m.cricbuzz.com/cricket-schedule/series/2538/the-ashes-2017-18.
The matches can be seen on Sony Six.
Also read about India vs Sri Lanka series here.