Preview for the upcoming Ashes series

Written By: David Hall


Though some may shake their heads in sheer discombobulation at the prospect of spending the next seven weeks or so sitting on the couch until all hours watching the sporting equivalent of watching paint dry, others are quite excited at the upcoming Ashes series. Myself included.
After Australia was pummelled in the Champion’s Trophy one-day tournament in early June, and as off-field troubles with the players culminated with Dave Warner’s late-night idiot punch on the unsuspecting young English batsman Joe Root, the team had lived up to our nagging fears and plunged into a genuine state of chaos.

Michael Clarke must have been sleeping about two hours a night while he tossed and turned with nightmares about the first Test at Trent Bridge. Just as he would doze off, I imagine he would have found himself standing in the slips for three days while England batted and batted and batted. Fours, magnificent cut shots, Alastair Cook’s unctuous smile as he saluted the crowd with his bat to pass yet another milestone.

Finally the Poms would put their sense of humour on hold to try and win the game by declaring, only for Clarke to find himself sitting in the stands as the Aussie batsmen walked out to the crease and back to the pavilion in such quick succession that they looked like models on a catwalk. And then Clarke would wake up to the realisation that it wasn’t just a bad dream, but the reality he would have to face in about three weeks or so. “Shivers down my backbone…”
And then Cricket Australia did the unthinkable. They sacked the coach two weeks before the start of the series. And no schmuck either, Mickey Arthur, who took South Africa to the number one Test ranking. The guru recruit.
So while many of us, past the point of feeling pain about the worsening prospects of the looming crushing defeat, hopelessly shrugged our shoulders, there were greater plans afoot. Somewhere between Cricket Australia’s headquarters in East Melbourne and a hotel in Bristol, the major city in the funny-talking West Country of England, cogs were clicking and plans were being made. Somehow, an air of hope had sprung up between Australian cricket’s top brass. They hardly dared to dream it, but looking at the chain of events that could eventuate from this point-of-no-return, it was possible there was a way out.

While the mood around the top Australian team camp was like that of a Russian peasant family’s living room during a particularly bitter winter, the second fiddle Australia A team were by all accounts whooping it up, high-fiving each other just for the hell of it, and playin’ cricket in a cool, calm and collected manner. And the coach of Australian A side was? Darren Lehmann, the loveable larrikin of Australian cricket, who while most thought he would have ended up as a roof plumber or something similar after his playing days, had been putting together an impressive coaching CV in the IPL and then for Queensland in Sheffield Shield.

And so, with a swift flick of the axe, Arthur was out and Lehmann was in. And all of a sudden, the dark clouds seem to lift and the gloom, which had become like a nagging demon on the heels of the Australians, didn’t seem so bad after all. Boof was back, and you could tell from the energy around the camp that the players might start to feel confident in themselves to not just be barely competitive and hang on, but to start taking the upper hand in the games and put it on England to be reactive.

And now, with the very patchy batting line-up putting in solid efforts in the final two tour games before the tests, and the bowlers looking as dangerous as we had hoped, we have ourselves a test series.


  1. Rouxsie

    July 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Not bad Davo, Now i expect a daily article for the rest of the series.

    “Unctuous”, had to look it up… Well played.

    • David Hall

      July 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Cheers, I could do the daily article, but I’d prob need an all-expenses paid trip to England, plus a prescription for some anti-depressants while I was at it

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