It’s time for some new source material

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< 1 minute read

England’s players have been treated to an afternoon of Beefy rest day anecdotes, while Michael Clarke’s babbling on about ‘the line’ for the billionth time (“I think everyone knows where the line is,” he said this week – if not, we certainly know where we can hear about it). It’s pretty clear that no-one’s got anything left to say ahead of this Ashes series. We need some new source material. We need some cricket.

You get the impression that a few things need to go England’s way for them to win the series. Actually, that’s a mindless thing to say. Of course things need to go their way for them to win. That’s what winning involves. What we mean is that a few things need to go unexpectedly their way. If everyone on both sides performs roughly as you’d expect, Australia would win.

But this is the essence of sport. All that’s gone before is just history. Averages measure the past, they don’t predict the future. Shan Masood has just made his first Test hundred in the fourth innings to help Pakistan make 382 to win. That was far from a likely outcome.

The only people who truly have any idea how things are going to go are the experts.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. …and how did those 2006/7 Ashes actually go?

    I have no memory of that series; in my brain, it is as if that series never happened.

    Ryan Harris’s absence is one of those unexpected things, before a ball has even been bowled.

    If a Mitch or two by strange chance go the same way as Ryan…

    1. Why do you assume they were predicting the 2006/07 Ashes? Because it was 2006 when they made their prediction?

      We can see how you’d think that, but no, they were looking ahead to the 2010/11 edition.

    2. Ah, that makes sense now.

      I remember that 2010/11 series. It was a good one.

      Your expert pets were spot on with their predictions.

  2. Apropos of nothing, headline on the BBC cricket site: “Franklin spell checks Notts progress”. I had visions of the Middlesex captain marking Samit Patel’s homework for a moment.

    1. Chris Read, unfortunately, got an A-double-star with rainbow stickers today.

  3. What are everyone’s plans for following the opening exchanges? I’m supposed to be doing a live blog on the Budget. Maybe I could have TMS in one ear at the same time.

    1. What kind of a knobsack schedules a budget speech for the first day of the Ashes?

    2. Not remotely a funny story, but back when Osborne was just a common-or-garden MP, we used to do some work for a local paper covering his constituency. Everyone who worked there used to joke about his uncanny ability to sidle into about 60 per cent of the photographs that were published.

      Any award, any opening, any anything, there he was at the side of a line of people with his smug fat face fatly smugging at the camera.

    3. I’m sure it would only require the faintest touch of Ceci magic to have a picture of Baby George orating his budget waffle at the opening of the Ashes tomorrow.

      Some idiot scheduled our Company AGM for next Wednesday and the only day I can go to the City and prepare for it is tomorrow.

      Who is our company secretary for crying out loud?


    4. I work nights in the US, so cricket in England happens to fall precisely during the hours I normally sleep. The first ball will be bowled right around the time I finally decide that nobody is updating anything on the internet at this hour of night and I should really stop refreshing the same seven sites and just go to bed.

      Then I’ll wake up bright and early in the afternoon and the day’s play will have just finished and I’ll be able to watch a replay thanks to ESPN’s archiving. I’ll put that on while I eat my breakfast and have a cup of coffee. Then I’ll go to work a few hours later, somehow avoid all the cricket sites I normally read to avoid doing work, get home around midnight, and resume having the replay on while I do other things.

      Rinse and repeat for five days. Being a cricket fan in America isn’t really so bad.

    5. Man up, Dan.

      No-one sleeps during an Ashes series.

      A bit of uber-grump and dangerous operating of machinery never hurt anybody.

    6. Last time I tried to copy edit on less than four hours of sleep, I neglected to change “towards” to “toward” and failed to hyphenate several compound modifiers preceding nouns. I even allowed a singular “they” to slip through. My pedantry requires a good night’s sleep to be at its sharpest. Everything, even watching the Ashes live, must be sacrificed at the altar of proper spelling and grammar. This is the life I have chosen.

    7. We once allowed the place name ‘Knutsford’ to be spelled ‘Kuntsford’ in a newspaper headline, so sometimes missing these things can be a plus. Look on it that way.

  4. That Pakistan opening batsman, though. I Shan’t criticise him for a while.

  5. My prediction for this series is that it will be revealed sometime during the second match that Joe Root believes in magic unicorns.

  6. It’s the Ashes… again. Am I the only one finding it hard to muster any enthusiasm?

    1. No, but that should change once the first ball is bowled.
      To get you in the mood answer these questions:
      Hazelwood or Siddle?
      Mitch M or Watson?

    1. Battings!

      40ish for three, now a century stand featuring some, all or none of Ballance, Root, Stokes and Buttler. Brave new world.

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