Is the unthinkable happening?Are the Australians losing their edge? Will England finally win back the Ashes?
Well, let’s leave the fantasy to J.K. Rowling!
Anyway, who could have anticipated that cricket’s almighty Aussies could be stretched—let alone beaten—by Bangladesh? And for heaven’s sake, wiping the floor with England is their national hobby, right? No one minds a game that goes down to the wire, especially not when Australia are on the receiving end ;), but their performance in the just-concluded triangular begs the question if they are currently ‘all there’.
Most of the English commentators seem to have borrowed a handful of leaves out of their Indian counterparts’ book given the way they are going on and on and on about: (a) the Simon Jones/Matthew Hayden incident, and (b) the importance of beating your chest rather than getting down there and actually playing cricket. Let’s face it, England will not win the Ashes just because Kevin Pietersen is playing for them. Or, for that matter, because Jones hurled the ball at Hayden. Nor will the series be decided by whose wit is more colourful!
And one imagines (hopes) that though the visitors seem to have left the form book back in the southern hemisphere, the Tests will be a different story altogether. In the one-day series, Hayden seemed woefully out of touch, as did Michael Clarke. Which begs the question: where the hell is Simon Katich? Or is he one of those Test match specialists?
The Aussies are masters at keeping their heads in tight situations, but lately they have seemed a bit too laidback for comfort. Is the Stephen Waugh intensity wearing off? Certainly, the Warne and Symonds incidents will not have helped matters in the visitors’ camp, and somehow one imagines that Waugh might have handled things better than Ricky Ponting is right now.
Most cricket followers around the world love to see the Australians stumble. This time around they’ll be waiting to pounce. That said, one wonders how much the English will care—for the Ashes will clash with the all-important football season!