Riots in Belfast? What riots in Belfast?

Yes it’s always good to have an historic sporting triumph to keep civil unrest off the front pages…

Congratulations to you and the whole team on your fantastic series win.

It’s been sport at its very best, played in a wonderful spirit between two exceptional sides, and has gripped the whole country.

With so many people following this extraordinary series ball by ball, I’m not sure our economy could stand many more days like today – or our nerves any more excitement.

But by bringing the Ashes back after so long, you have given cricket a huge boost and lit up the whole summer.

Congratulations to everyone on an unforgettable series and a fantastic win.

With best wishes
Tony Blair

Ashes, bombers, weasels, feet, mouths

Ah yes, sport and politics can be such a hilarious mix sometimes. Here’s an extract from the Hansard from the House of Reps session in Canberra earlier this evening. Continue reading “Ashes, bombers, weasels, feet, mouths”

Earth, I’m comin down!

Warmest congratulations to you, the England team and all in the squad for the magnificent achievement of regaining the Ashes. This has been a truly memorable series and both sides can take credit for giving us all such a wonderfully exciting and entertaining summer of cricket at its best.


– The Queen of Australia, among other countries, displays her partisanship in a congratulatory message to Michael Vaughan

Continue reading “Earth, I’m comin down!”

It’s back to the 80s day for Australian cricket

December 24, 1984: Australia loses a women’s Test to England.
September 19, 1988: Australia follows on in a men’s Test match against Pakistan.

August 27, 2005: The next occasion that Australia follows on in a men’s Test.
August 27, 2005: The next occasion Australia loses a women’s Test match.

Happy 97th, Sir Don.

The unique drama of Test cricket

The astounding cricket played by England and Australia has not only rejuvenated the 123 year old Ashes competition, it’s also demonstrated that the five Test series is one of the supreme forms of spectator sport available on earth today.

New column by Mike Marqusee in Wednesday’s Guardian, and reproduced on his own blog, praising the current Ashes series.

Beautiful game rises from the Ashes

It happens every time the Prince of Wales gets married. In 1981, within weeks of Charles’ wedding to Diana, a young tearaway called Ian Botham marked the occasion by leading England to a stunning set of victories over Australia at cricket.

– Matthew Engel, Financial Times, 19.8.05

Proof that even Matthew Engel can talk bollocks sometimes. Or does he? Continue reading “Beautiful game rises from the Ashes”

Remember what they said about McGwire and Bonds

The ever-diligent Rajneesh Gupta notes that Australia has now had more sixes struck against them in the current Test series than in any previous series. And that with two matches to play.

England has clobbered 26 sixes over the ropes thus far in the 2005 Ashes, beating the 23 struck by the South Africans of 1966-67 at higher altitudes.

There’s some undocumented stats that could probably help explain this phenomenon better: (i) the dimensions of the playing area for each Test; (ii) the weight of the bats used in hitting those sixes.

Presenting… the Midwinter-Midwinter

You can take your Border-Gavaskar, Compton-Miller, Chappell-Hadlee, even your Peden-Archdale… I am now unveiling, belatedly but otherwise as promised, the name of my award for the Ashes Player of the Tournament.

Presenting: the Midwinter-Midwinter. Who needs to invoke the names of two legends when you can honour one person twice? Continue reading “Presenting… the Midwinter-Midwinter”

John Howard back in the CCCP

John Howard at the presidential lectern in the White House with George W Bush. John Howard at the Pentagon with Donald Rumsfeld. John Howard being praised by Rupert Murdoch at a black tie dinner. John Howard with Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street. John Howard visiting Aussie blast victims in a London hospital. John Howard chatting with John Major in the member’s pavillion at Lord’s. John Howard with headphones and mike in the CCCP (Central Cricket Commentary Position) live to air on the Beeb.

Never more than this week has the Australian prime minister reminded me so much of Woody Allen in “Zelig”.

Or maybe Forrest Gump. Continue reading “John Howard back in the CCCP”