Monday, August 15, 2005

Stuff of Legend

In cricket and elsewhere, rarely does reality match the hype these days, and that is usually down to the phenomenon of modern marketing, which is ever more sophisticated in its designs even if the execution is ever so slightly crass. Whatever be the outcome of this Ashes series, no one can deny it has lived up to the hype. It is still only midway through the series, but this series has already produced more memorable cricket, more drama than the previous half a dozen series put together. As I write this, Australia are in a mighty struggle to stave off defeat here and boost their chances of retaining the urn. If Australia survive this, the series could turn on its head for they would have got out of jail. If they don't, this could well be a momentous series for it would shake the current cricket world order, where the Aussies have been ensconed so safely at the top, everybody else has been fighting to be second best. Again, regardless of the outcome, England have gained enough self-belief in the last two weeks, if the last two years weren't sufficient, to keep coming at the champions the rest of the series. It is a belief that comes not from sessions on a couch in a shrink's office, but from real ability and hard work. In times like these, it is easy to forget the very people who get stick from all quarters when things go wrong - the selectors - England's incumbent bunch have done a stellar job, putting behind them the nightmarish days of Dexter, Illingworth and company. They deserve a little hat tip regardless of the outcome of the series. - NK

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