Things we’ve learned from the Ashes 2013/2014

1) Quinoa doesn’t help you to play cricket better.

Lehman (apparently) eschews the goosefoot superfood for a beer on the bus if the boys do well. This difference in philosophy – England with an army of back room staff, every aspect of their lives tightly controlled right down to what they eat, contrasts sharply with the more earthy, retro and traditionally Australian approach of Lehman.

From Mitch’s charity ‘tache, players sledging (get ready for a feckin broken arm), to the baying press and sweary crowds at the Gabba, all in all it felt like Australia in the 80’s under Allan Border. And AB never ate Quinoa let alone piri-piri breaded tofu with tomato salsa. Maybe it’s time for England to declutter?

2) They don’t like it up ’em

England do not like it up ’em. The batsman were unprepared for Mitch Johnson’s searing pace and short pitched stuff. And the bowlers retired or lost the disciplined lines and lengths when attacked by Australian batsman.

3) It’s all in the mind

With 5 1/2 ounces of leather aimed at your throat at 93 mph, test cricket can seem like a physical game. But the reality is the mental aspects are as important as the technical and physical ones. It requires a clear mind from the batsman, clear plans from the captain and coach, disciplined bowling and a sprinkle of magic. England had none of the above while Australia had it all. It’s hard to put your finger on why the entire touring party’s brain went the same way as the hundreds of gallons of weak Aussie piss consumed during and after this ashes, but it did simultaneously which influenced batting, fielding, selection and captaincy and made it more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles.

4) There is such a thing as too much Ashes cricket

Back to back Ashes was a terrible idea. Five test series are tough, but to play two consecutive, high pressure five test rubbers, with no time to rest in between was at the top of the litany of errors that cricket administrators have made in recent times.

The England players in interview, pointed out the pressure of these back-to-back series frequently. They were scheduled in this way by the ECB to break up the cycle of Ashes following a 50 over World Cup. A reason England claimed they never won the World Cup (didn’t seem to bother Australia in 1999, 2003 and 2007). It’s fair to ask the question “Were these Ashes sacrificed for an outside chance at the World Cup in 2015?”

5) Age is just a number

Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin and Chris Rodgers are 34, 35 and 36 respectively. All have come to test cricket late and are fresher with less miles on the clock than many younger England players. Maybe it’s time for selectors to re-look at some older faces and those that have been discarded in county cricket for answers, after all they have micro managed and flogged their best and most successful team for decades half to death.


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