The Ashes is here, but how well prepared are we?
The T20 World Cup was enjoyable but at the same time a bit of a farce, I cannot deny it’s not my favourite form of cricket, I obviously prefer anything from 50 overs upwards, but when 12 out of 13 matches are won by the team winning the toss you know it’s not an even playing field, yet they knew the dew would be an issue so why didn’t all knock out games start at 2pm?
I’m sure it would of been a different competition then.
To make things worse, I went to see the Australia v Bangladesh match, it was a group game starting at 2pm, I’m guessing the crowd was just a few hundred, in a 25000 capacity arena yet I was searched 4 times entering the ground why? I’m 62, flags were not permitted nor as I found at in Sharjah were binoculars, me and a South African were not allowed in with them?
We were both very bemused, it was absolutely ridiculous, luckily our coach driver was at hand to take them back to the coach, it didn’t end there either for the first time in a long time I wasn’t away for whole tour, we all had a bit of a go as it’s been a long time since we left South Africa, and we all needed to feel it again. There were no significant variations on each emirate so when I arrived I expected it to be fairly easy, then news started to filter through that the second game in Abu Dhabi required a PCR test two day’s before the England v New Zealand game was required ….why?
It wasn’t a requirement in the first game so why now? I decided the only way to find out this was to phone the ground after being cut of twice and being on hold over half an hour each time I wasn’t best pleased, but eventually got through, and to my horror they were correct, my next task was to find out the nearest medical centre where we could get it done. They needed to be done that day to gain entry to the ground, luckily it was only a 15 minute walk and manage to contact all the touring party at all the hotels and we never had any issues! That must of been an ICC regulation we didn’t require it to border Abu Dhabi nor did we need it on the day tour we had, prior to that we just needed to show our vaccines like we do at any event we go too. My job was made easy as the party with me were a great bunch, it was aided by an ex jockey who is still involved with racing, I absolutely loved hearing all his stories, so thank you Dale you need to write a book!
The ICC & governing bodies need to address all the issues, not sweep them under the carpet, there are a lot of issues, I personally think tours and competitions calendar needs to be addressed, at least four years in advance, it’s amazing that so many competitions or tours are not released until a few months before the start date. I think if we had the tours and dates then we can plan holidays etc, I don’t expect locations to be announced until at least 7/8 months before the start, but at least the itinerary would help us all!
So at midnight Tonight GMT it’s the start of the eagerly awaited Ashes. I guess like a lot of you, I wish I was there, if things are not bad enough England will play only with ex pats cheering them on. It will be extremely difficult in hot and slightly different conditions. Our recent record there – played 35 drew one lost 34 doesn’t bode well, I personally think we are a team in transition, and the problem we have is there isn’t a lot of quality in our batting & bowling attack in my opinion, I think England’s only hope without speaking the obvious, is use the new ball wisely and score big. A lot of the burden will lie in the shoulders of Root & Stokes, but he hasn’t played any cricket since July! I’m expecting a very difficult winter down under and I’m sure Roots captaincy will come to the forefront of the media once again, is he the right man to lead England, I don’t think he is, the trouble is who else do we turn too?
As for the teams you look at the Aussies with Warner, Smith, & Labuschagne in their top four to have any chance we need to get them out cheaply, as for the bowling attacks we will desperately miss Archer, I think they should of acted on his injury sooner than they did, I think their bowling attack is much better than ours capable of blowing any side away in their own back yard! They do have weaknesses in their side, but on paper our batting looks extremely vulnerable. I’m sure the reason Anderson isn’t playing is because Adelaide follows quickly and we need to look after his workload, I just think he will be more effective in the Day nighter in Adelaide? The pundits on TMS seem the think the Aussies will win the Ashes in general but a lot closer than the last tour down under. I’m afraid I see it differently, I’m sure one or two will come out with their heads held high, and I’m hoping one of them is Pope and Robinson has a good series, I cannot see England winning a test in all honesty so you can guess the rest!
With the West Indies tours fast approaching, we have been extremely busy, but we still have some availability, all I can say is if your thinking about it, be quick to avoid disappointment, I can promise you we have a great itinerary lined up, the last twenty months or so haven’t been great to any of us, so I’m sure you’ll have a great time!
Look forward to meeting old and new friends.
All the best