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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Some English media perspectives on the Ashes (and wine)

The English media were present in Australia in force during the Tests. I say were because many of their representatives have returned home, usually after penning their summaries of the series.

Here's a selection, in no particular order.

Simon Wilde of The Times has paid tribute to the Australian team, though he's placed them in the context of the 10 best teams as he sees them.

Simon Barnes also in The Times (reprinted in The Australian ) described where he thought the series turned: in the first session of the final day at Adelaide. I disagree with him (the second session was more important as England could should have scraped more than 40 runs for their last five wickets.

Also from The Times probably the two longest serving cricket writers in the world John Woodcock (who I'd assumed had retired from reporting the game) and Christopher Martin-Jenkins say their respective pieces.

For The Telegraph Simon Hughes provided some characteristically incisive analytical audio and video reports, often with Terry Jenner. (The blog to which I've linked his name doesn't give much of an indication of the quality of his work).

Michael Atherton also contributed to The Telegraph (as well as commentating on Sky Sports), while Derek Pringle, another one of the paper's contingent, seemed to sample more wine than cricket: though he deserved what he got (a "5 - berocca hangover") for washing down some high quality wines with ouzo.

For The Independent Angus Fraser and James Lawton wrote contrasting assessments: Lawton was very courageous (in the Sir Humphrey sense) to predict that England will have a much easier time of it in 2009.

In The Guardian Kevin Mitchell skimmed a lot of ground in a discursive piece which provided some interesting figures about how much Australian players (state as well as test) earn.

The BBC had a large pool of contributors, of whom Jonathan Agnew was at his best on the radio (but nevertheless still good in his online reports, which must have been dashed off in odd moments between commentating for both the BBC and ABC). Another worth looking at is Robbo , one of the many BBC bloggers, a voice (as forthright as you'd expect) from Teesside .

There were a few who dropped by briefly. In the New Statesman Jason Cowley wrote about the Adelaide Test, though it was obvious from his description that he was only there for the last one or at most two days (the only really hot day was the last one)

Finally, a couple of pieces designed to lift the burden of despair from English shoulders:

The Sun produced a list of the worst sports teams of all time, while back at The Times Simon Barnes wrote about Superteams , which in his opinion include the 2006 - 07 Australians though not the 2009 variety, whom he predicts will still be "a damn good team" though not a super one. I'd be very reluctant to stick my neck out so far ahead of the event: he could be right but his argument is based more on the assumption that Australia will be weakened by retirements than that England will revive. We shall see.

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