Ashes series were already too frequent

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We’d like to add a slightly more sober footnote to our post from last Friday.

We described back-to-back Ashes series as being ‘quite literally the worst idea of all time’. We stand by that and would like say that it’s actually the worst idea by an even greater margin that we had previously thought. Here’s why.

Every other year?

Ashes series have long been played every other year, give or take a few months as a result of the different seasons in England and Australia. However, up until fairly recently, there was only an event once every four years.

Up until satellite TV and the internet, only home Ashes series were a phenomenally big deal. Yes, you could get highlights at midnight on BBC1 and you could read the newspaper reports a day late, but an away series wasn’t all-pervasive like a home series was.

An away Ashes series didn’t unfold before you. It was something faintly unreal and distant. You really had to make an effort to keep up with it.

This meant that a home Ashes series was even more significant. The home series was the one you watched. This was the one people most cared about and it only happened once every four years.

Home and away

These days away series are almost as big a deal. You can get up early or stay up late and watch live coverage. You can read a million news reports via the internet. You can follow it on Twitter or on an obscure English cricket blog which unexpectedly goes all serious during the first Test.

An away Ashes series is now that much more vivid, it might as well be a home series. In effect, the big event is every other year, not once every four years. It’s slightly less special.

Now twice the same year? That’s really not special.


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  1. So we have Ashes series in 2013, 2013/14, 2015, 2016/17, 2019, 2020/21, etc. I guess the thing I don’t understand is the bringing forward of the 2015 series from 2016 (shifting to avoid the football is the excuse). Anyway, I don’t think it is too bad…
    [pause while KC calms down]
    as long as they do actually shift back to the four year cycle after 2015 as they say they will. What would be worrying is that they might change their mind again.

    Meanwhile, the ODI today has given a tremendous opportunity for more Ashes gloating. Australia lost their third wicket at 166 today, making it their best performance for two wickets in the entire Aussie summer. An Aussie win (well within their grasp) would be their 2nd highest innings score of the summer. Now that’s sophisticated gloating, that is.

  2. An away series is the more accessible one these days because one is at work during match time in home series. Or, doesnt it apply to Englishmen – who give up their day job during home series, perhaps?

  3. This isn’t really about this post but I thought I’d share Duncan Fletcher’s pre Ashes strategy which I read again in an old edition of The Guardian from September I found today: “Play Morgan and drop Cook for Ashes success”.

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