T Nation

The Ashes 2006 Thread


#1

The biggest sporting event of the year, (If you are an aussie or a pom) is nearly here, only 6 months away. And don't say i'm getting carried away.

Now I know most of the yanks on this forum wont understand what the "Ashes" is and I don't know if I can be bothered to explain it, but i'm sure their are lots of aussies & poms who can contribute, plus other cricket fans.

I hope England can go into the ashes in the right way, hopefully with convincing wins against sri lanka and pakistan, as well as a good performance in the champions trophy. However, that being said, England may go out early/ fail in the icc/cc since it's just a week or so before the real action begins.

My prediction for the series is two-all, everyone keeps going on about the gabba, and how the England batsmen will struggle, but Harmison, Flintoff, and Jones will certainly enjoy the bouncy wicket. In fact I would say England have the advantage here, because apart from Brett Lee we definately have a pacier attack.

On the batting front Australia are definately stronger and Hussey looks like he has an extremely bright future, with an average of 76 in 11 matches along with four centuries. I have to say that in comparison KP is extremely hyped , with only 2 centuries in the same number of matches at 43.20. Hussey is my tip for man of the series but will be pushed close by Flintoff and Vaughan (Who I think will return to form.) I also sincerely hope Ashley Giles can return to fitness since although not in the same class as Warne or Macgill:

he is the best we have, and by a long way too. Although Panesar might some day be a better spinning option he is not experienced enough, and is not a good enough Batsmen. No Englishman would want to see Hoggard coming in at six. As for Blackwell he is just a bits and pieces player, a bit like Symonds, except Symonds is better; and Udal is too old, and poor in the field.

I also think that is time for jones to GO (for the yanks who don't know, his initials are G O J) He simply hasn't been good enough and Read has already made two centuries for Notts this season. Also, I would drop Bell, if he continues to underperform up to the ashes, and replace him with cook or collingwood. Probably Collingwood for the experience.

So this would be my England team if the ashes were tommorow:

Strauss
Trescothick
Vaughan
Collingwood
Pietersen
Flintoff
Read

Giles/ if the king of spain is unavailable then Blackwell.

Hoggard
Jones
Harmison

Im only changing two players from the ashes winners, as I think it is too important a contest to blood the youth of panesar and cook. And I do not believe Shah has what it takes to succeed at TEST level.

So those are my prediction, what do you all think?

Ill leave you with some good memories of last summers series:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9031490052943080647&q=andrew+flintoff&pl=true

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3926596476600340497&q=ashley+giles&pl=true

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8360694806168913419&q=ashes&pl=true

Oh and this is the schedule:

Nov 23-27 - Australia v England (1st test), Brisbane

Dec 1-5 - Australia v England (2nd test), Adelaide

Dec 9-10 - England v Western Australia, Perth

Dec 14-18 - Australia v England (3rd test), Perth

Dec 26-30 - Australia v England (4th test), Melbourne

2007

Jan 2-6 - Australia v England (5th test), Sydney

it's followed by 7 ODI's.


#2

Readying ourselves for a cold, cold Aussie winter down here mate, so cricket season seems aways away, but I'll play

My prediction for the series: 3-1 Australia

Now I'm hardly a one-eyed Aussie fan. I was the first person on my feet when Vaughan belted the Aussie attack around the park the last time the Poms were here - as in, finally someone with the courage and skill to take it to McGrath and Co

That said, last year's series was very tight and other than Flintoff and Pietersen playing out of their skins, it could easily have been won by the Aussies if any ONE of the following things happened:

  • We held our catches in the field

  • Our fields were placed better

  • Hussey was playing

  • Hayden or Gilchrist were in touch with the bat

  • Gillespie bowled well

Also, I just don't rate Pietersen very highly. He's got a great eye and sure can hit the ball - but has big holes in his technique that will sooner or later be targeted and exposed on the international stage

We shall see ... should be absolute corker

Finally, I was actually in London the month the Poms won the Ashes - and the only way I could get around for three weeks without being harrassed was by pretending I was a bloody New Zealander!!

Rob


#3

I for one can't wait...it will be absolutely brilliant. The English will be totally hammered by the Aussie's and the English press will tear them to piece's in typical English fashion and all the English cricket 'fans' who have rushed to praise 'their' team will go scurrying back into the dark corners from which they came.

Just wait and see the job that the English press do on the England soocer team in the lead up to the World Cup...they will build them up and then tear them to ribbons when they inevitably fail.

That will give you a taste of what will happen this summer in Australia. All those 'fans' will be going around bleeting on like the team failed on purpose and as if they could of done better themselves.

I feel sorry for the real English fans...the ones that have followed them through the last couple of decades when they've been hammered all over the world. The powers that be at the ECB finally woke up to themselves and got dozens of Aussie coaches in to help them do what they'd failed to do for decades. It is quite sad actually as the success of the English team in the last Ashes Series had more to do with Australia's wealth of coaching talent working out of Australia. The Aussie's totally took their eye of the ball...parden the pun and had become complacent. What they did to the South African's recently should be a reminder to the English that it is going to be twice as hard to retain the Ashes as it was to win them.


#4

Agreed ManMeat. The Aussies will come out HARD. There is no way we will not win back the Ashes - and if you saw even part of the reaction Ponting and his team got when they arrived home - and how they responded against RSA - you know why. That said, the English know this and should prepare accordingly

I'm not gonna do a McGrath and predict a 5-0 whitewash, as he did before the last series, but it will be very very tough for the Poms

Apparently already about 30,000 have booked their tickets to come here during the summer - so it should be quite a spectacle

And yeah, they've taken all our best coaches!!


#5

Pace and bounce won't be a problem for the Aussies. The reason Australia lost the Ashes in 2005 was because of the sideways movement and their batsman weren't prepared to knuckle down.

With a 5 month break for the Aussies and the fact that Englands spinners are sub par (bowling left arm over the wicket to right handed batman is gutless) will lead to a 3-0 or 4-0 result for the Aussies.

But don't be down if you're an English fan, this will be the last time Australia will win the Ashes for some time. Englands team will be a force over the next decade and it hurts bad to admit to that!


#6

Yeh because Harmison wont like pace and bounce at all will he? I would say England have an pace attack capable in all condtions, when fit.

Harmison - Bouncy wickets
Flintoff - Reverse/ Bounce
Simon Jones - Skiddy/ Reverse
Hoggard - Conventional Swing

The only worry would be in the spinning department, I sincerely hope that we can get the king of spain back, because, panesar, despite potential, can't hold a bat, and we don't want hoggard in at 6.

Jones,
hoggard
jones
harmison
panesar

Sounds solid doesn't it?


#7

Yes and I think you'll find that if it wasn't for bad light England would have beaten south africa in south africa 3-1 themselves. Also australia have never had any foreign coaches, have they?


#8

I think its more down to personality than technique so much, for example, look at Ian Bell, perfect technique, maybe not enough bottle though.

Don't get me wrong though peitersen hasn't set the world on fire in TEST cricket, like people claim, his two centuries a modest return having played 12 matches I think. Compared to Husseys, 4 centuries is it? In as many games.

In ODI's he has been phenomenal though...


#9

Good point about the attitude Alstan. I think that's the greatest thing that Aussie coaches are hired by other countries for. Perfect example, Greg Chappell in India

I see Pietersen as being a player with incredible talent, who's used to belting domestic attacks around - and has brought some of that form into ODIs, and to a lesser extent, Tests

Yeah he did paste the Aussies all over the park in a couple of Tests - but we helped him along by dropping him a number of times along the way

The real test is how well he does when everyone has worked out his technique problems, when he's in the middle of a form slump, when he's playing on a four-month tour of another country. The best players have had to learn how to score runs in even these situations - Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting, etc. Michael Clark went through this in the last couple of years. Let's see how young Kevin goes when that time comes - as it comes for all batsmen

In three years, the Aussies are not going to be the force they recently were (and are). McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Warne and Gilchrist are on the way out. Just look at that list of names - the statistically greatest opening batting pair in history, the greatest wicket keeper batsman in history, the greatest spinner in history, and Australia's most successful quick ever - all gone

Morever, India and England are on their way up - with quality players that are learning to play thinking, attacking, tough cricket

I think we'll win back the Ashes, but sadly I can't see Australia dominating the international scene for much longer

'Not enough bottle' - love that Pommie phrase!

Rob


#10

If Simon Jones cant make we are going to struggle-ive got a bad feeling that its not going to as close or as brilliant as the last ashes series that was nailbiting stuff. we might get beat being realistic but as long as we whip you at the world cup ill be happy


#11

I agree with most of what you say, as for India I will always struggle to take them seriously as a test nation since:

1) They are more interested in ODI's god knows why

2) They can't win away from home, and if they can't crack that they will never be world no.1.

Pakistan, however look to have a lot coming through, however at the same time they have a lot going out. Their wicket keeper akmal, looks very promising.

As for England becoming the best team in the world their are only 2 missing ingredients.
A quality spinner, who can bat a bit
a quality wicketkeeper batsmen

If england can unearth those, they will be the top team, but can they do it?

Their is not much around on the wicketkeeping or spin bowling front..


#12

England do have problems, however i'd be more concerned about ashley giles, as udal isn't as good, and panesar can't hold a bat... If hoggy is coming in a 6, I think you might be right. As for Jones it is a shame, but im sure he will be able to bounce back, as he did with his last serious injury sustained in australia.

As for the tests starting against Sri lanka on thursday, who do you think Enlgand should choose out of

Mahmood/ lewis/ plunkett

I'd personally go for plunkett and lewis, considering how lewis always plays great at this time of the season, when the balls are swinging around, I rekon him and hoggy will demolish the sri lankans. As for not selecting Mahmood, well he only has modest first-class best figures of 4-23, he is not yet ready for test cricket, he could certainly be England's quickest bowler but he is too erratic, as Mcgrath has shown line and length and variation are more important than all out pace. Plunkett certainly is more accurate, and will strengthen the tail, if we choose panesar.


#13

Indian fans have the attention spans of gnats - which is why they focus obsessively on the oneday game there. Which is a pity, because they have some truly great players. With Greg Chappell at the helm, hopefully things will change

I've always said that the Pakistan team are generally the most talented bunch of cricketers in the world - it's just that they lack any sort of consistency, commitment to each other, fielding skills, and fitness

That's what makes Australia a great team - not their talent, but their commitment to excellence and each other. Exhibit number one - Adam Gilchrist


#14

I agree about pakistans fitness, e.t.c not being up to scratch; as I get the feeling had England won that first test as they should have done Pakistan would not have had the fight, and would have rolled over, for an easy england series win. However, on the back of that confidence they were awesome. Which they can be, on their day, on their pitch.

I also agree with that about Gilchrist, but cmon, he's super-talented too.


#15


This is taken from Wisden, KP thinks England will be all back together for the Ashes, i hope so:

England's injury crisis may be spreading from the winter into the start of the home season, but Kevin Pietersen is confident that the Ashes-winning team - which hasn't played together since that momentous day at The Oval on September 12 - will be reunited on the field in the future. Michael Vaughan, Ashley Giles, Steve Harmison and Simon Jones all have injuries of varying seriousness, but Pietersen says they will be back.

"I'm sure it will happen, I'm just not sure when," he told reporters. "It is a worry but it gives opportunities to others and the guys who got a chance in India did really well. Owais [Shah] played well and Alastair Cook did well. They did fantastic jobs.

"Now it is just the case of trying to get that Ashes team back on the field. Come November 23 in Brisbane we have to make sure we have a full-strength team to take on the Aussies."

The Ashes verbals, or probably more correctly, banter, considering how well the two teams get along, is already in full swing. In a recent interview with The Wisden Cricketer magazine, Matthew Hayden claimed how England are carried by Andrew Flintoff while Shane Warne, Pietersen's team-mate at Hampshire, has not been shy at suggesting that England won't be comfortable coming to Australia with the Ashes to defend.

But Pietersen has never been one for listening to what other people say, whether it be barracking crowds in South Africa or confident Australians. He says the talk is nothing he didn't expect and thinks it will only increase as the winter approaches.

"I've heard that line about Freddie carrying the team before but you can name every player and they did a job for England in that series. It is probably the start of the banter they want to get going before the Ashes.

"We know the Australian guys are great guys and we're good mates with them, which means the series will be played in good spirits. We are just waiting for another Australian to make a comment now. It is all good banter adding to the build-up for what will be an amazing series."

And he was quick to get in a little jab of his own. "If it wasn't for Shane Warne in that Australia team then we would have won the Ashes 4-1. He probably had a bigger influence on Australia than Freddie did on England."

"Right here, right now, I'm as fit as I can be and raring to go. It's been fantastic playing for Hampshire again and I can't wait to get going with the internationals." With England's current injury catalogue mounting up that will be music to the selector's ears.


#16

I've found a great compilation video of the Ashes on google video:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7531604022654251142&q=andrew+flintoff


#17

Six months on, watching those clips still hurts ... bring on November!


#18

Anyhow we are just an hour away from the start of the Eng-Sri Lanka series, and i've skimped a day off to watch it :D.


#19

People often forget that Australia plays the ashes at the start of their cricket season every year after a long layoff. Alot of our guys haven't touched a bat in months, hardly great preparation. Whilst most of the english team have had a great preparation. The fact that we have dominated the series for so long despite this disadvantage is a testament to how good we really are/were. Also did anyone else read that stuff about the poms sucking on cough lollies and using the spit on the ball to increase the swing !?! thats just not cricket...


#20

That accusation was made by Nathan Bracken and was intended as a joke, and how would he know, he wasn't even in the squad for the series.
This is taken off www.nation.com:

Australian paceman Nathan Bracken apologised Thursday for insinuating England's bowlers doctored the ball to claim their first Ashes victory in 16 years.

Bracken, a fringe Test player who took no part in the Ashes series, said he was joking when he suggested English bowlers polished the ball with breath-freshening mints to achieve the reverse swing that bamboozled Australia's batsmen.
The New South Wales bowler offered his apologies to English bowler Simon Jones, who was quoted in British papers angrily denouncing the sweet-cheating claim as "sour grapes".

"I thought it would come across as a joke and it's come across the wrong way," Bracken told reporters.

"I've sent my apologies to Simon Jones and I'm making an effort to get in contact with him and basically sort things out so that everything's perfectly fine and I can make sure that no offence is taken."

Any genuine cricket fan will realise that what you said is ridiculous, especially since many of the Australian players also play county cricket in England.

Also I am not denying that the Australian team are great, the rankings don't lie, you are the best team in the world, for now. Although I for one don't see many more great players coming through the Australian ranks in the immediate future, McGrath, Warne, Hayden, Ponting, Langer, Gillespie, Kaz, Macgill, you are an old team and fact is that it WILL be a struggle for you to replace all those amazing players. By contrast England can look forward to a rosier future, as I can see a lot of talent coming through county cricket now that simply wasn't there a few years back.

It's just my view, and I might be wrong.