A summer of sport IV: Cricket

I’m loving the series “A summer of Sport” by Peta. I had no idea that all of this was available in the area!

For more of Peta’s posts, please have a look at her blog: http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/

Howzat?

England is hosting Australia this year in the 67th battle for the Ashes.

Britain can boast a number of recent sporting triumphs; a massive medal haul in the 2012 Olympic Games, great success in cycling, tennis, horse racing, and car and motorcycle racing, to name but a few.  But will cricket be another happy hunting ground for British sport?

Right from the start of Ashes cricket, Australia was dominated by the mother country. There were a few short periods of Aussie greatness, but history is clear about which country was consistently playing superior cricket.

In the 1990s things started to go horribly wrong for England; England started losing and Australia started dominating. By the late 1990s England’s oldest cricket foe had secured the greater number of Ashes series wins, and this made millions of Australians, including myself, very, very happy. (We do take our sport seriously.)  This was a glorious period for Australian cricket and we set about building on our lead, and build we did… Until the 2010/11 Ashes series. For the first time in 24 years England won an Ashes series on Australian soil. With only one series win in the last decade Australia is clinging to a 31:30 lead, and I bet England are keen to finally even-up the tally.

On the other hand, Aussie pride is a fierce animal, and sport is a serious matter. When threatened with the possibility of a mediocre result or even, God forbid it, failure, Aussies are capable of producing inspired results. This might just be where Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ originated, that or it was just one of many episodes in our glorious period of cricket. Maybe Aussie pride sparked Ashton Agar’s enormous run haul (for a number eleven batsman) just a few weeks ago, in an effort to save the test for the Australians?

I recall learning of my grandfather’s cricketing prowess some years back. The local Masters picked their team and country (Australia or England); their selections were final and permanent. My grandfather was England captain and like Misses and Masters today, he acted out the achievements of the sporting heroes of the day. But this was during the bodyline series; my grandfather ‘was’ Douglas Jardine. I am proud of his selection to a such senior position and his being (nick)named for such a strong character, but I am not so sure about the whole bodyline business…

England hold a 2-0 lead going into the third test starting tomorrow (1 August) at Old Trafford, but I suspect play will not be as one-sided as the scorecard suggests. Whatever remains for Ashes series 2013, my hope is that this oldest of rivalries continues to inspire Misses and Masters in England and Australia to pick up a cricket bat and play. Play in the garden, play at the beach, play anywhere. Just get out there and play.

Feeling inspired?

If you would like to make your cricket playing a little more formal there are a number of local clubs to investigate. To name just a few that encourage cricket for all ages and abilities (in alphabetical order): Basingstoke & North Hants CCOakley CCOld Basing CC.

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