Friday, 1 April 2005

Dan on the Ashes

After the abysmal Australian series, Stephen Fleming was brazen enough to suggest that the England team were likely headed for similar treatment in the Ashes series set to commence in July. It is obviously tempting for Fleming to hold onto some last shreds of self-respect by adopting the position that the Aussie team is so good it can destroy anyone - but is England really destined for the same fate as the hapless Black Caps?

An alternative view is that the 2005 Ashes series may actually be a very close run event; perhaps even the first sign that Australia's dominance will not last forever. England's test team has been on fire since last year. England are now second in the world in the ICC Test rankings (as opposed to New Zealand's seventh place) and have had a golden run of successes including beating the West Indies in the West Indies (3-0 [one draw]) and in England (4-0), beating New Zealand in England (3-0) and a first series win in South Africa since 1964-1965 (3-1 [two draws]), all in the space of little over a year.

England last won the Ashes in 1987 and the 2005 team is one of the best I've seen in my lifetime. Harmison, Flintoff and Strauss are truly world-class players, backed up well by Pieterson, Trescothick, Hoggard, Giles, Jones and Vaughan. Man for man, it is a far better team than New Zealand have been able to put on the park in some time.

Moreover, the team has attitude and strength - as is shown by their ability to come back from dififcult situations, such as the first few days of the New Zealand tests, or the lost first test against SA. The question is whether this is enough or whether the Aussies are really, as Fleming hints, made of kryptonite.


Anonymous said...

England only beat SA 2-1 with 3 draws remember the Durban test was drawn but otherwise amen!

Karl said...

I think where the Aussies have really succeeded is that they regularly have five players making match wining performances in each match. Most teams rely on one player putting in a match winning performance.

I think you're right Dan in that England do have the team to push them. Key to that is getting every player to perform for those matches.