0ENgilandi naseWales Cricket Board logoA Umdlalo Izinzwa?

Kuyinto sikhathi futhi - ebusuku kukhona eside, emoyeni kubanda, kodwa ngokushesha umsakazo ngeke nomlilo zibe nokuphila futhi alethe imisindo ehlobo Australian ezindlebeni zethu okuthile okungaziwayo. Ingabe England bevela ngomcako sangaphambilini kokuwina (njengoba kwakunjalo 2010-11, noma ngeke Australia ugcwalise 3rd ukugqiba e 4 uchungechunge. Ngokwami ​​am ukubheja ke ngeke draw!


I think this is the hard­est to pre­dict Ashes series this mil­len­ni­um — both sides have a decent num­ber of qual­ity bowl­ers, futhi ngokulinganayo ukwabelana 4 of the best bats­men in the game. Both sides also have a recent his­tory of middle order col­lapse, and a selec­tion of match res­ults that vary from bril­liant to truly pathet­ic. It seems like it might be a case of “who cracks first”.

If Eng­land get on top, njengoba kwakunjalo 2010, the Aus­sie crowds and press will get at the green-team with a vigour only nor­mally seen in the Brit­ish press when the foot­ballers fail to mater­i­al­ise. ngokulinganayo, if Aus­tralia get on top then Eng­land have a tend­ency to totally implode as they did in the 2 vis­its down under either side of their 2010 ukunqoba.

Over­all the odds must be in the Aus­trali­an’s favour, some­thing the book­ies agree with. They have home-soil advant­age and will no doubt pre­pare pitches that offer pace and seam with as little swing as pos­sible. Fair play to them — I’ve no doubt Eng­land will pre­pare swinging pitches in return the next time our Aus­sie friends are over here. I Ben Stokes indaba (1) has also dam­aged England’s pre­par­a­tions, and there are some injury prob­lems which could prove sig­ni­fic­ant too.

I think the mar­gins between the teams are quite small, and things bey­ond human con­trol (isb. the phosa, the weath­er) could prove cru­cial. Ngicabanga ukuthi uma iqembu uthola phezu kunethuba elihle bayohlala khona. The dif­fer­ence between a 3–1 vic­tory as in 2010, and a 5–0 defeat, could actu­ally be quite small. If Eng­land come away with a draw, bayoba kubuyise Ashes. This will rightly be regarded as pretty much as good as vic­tory and Eng­land will rightly get all the plaudits. Plan­ning for vic­tory should­n’t be the hard­est job in the world, so instead — how about we think before­hand about what might hap­pen in the event of defeat.

Let’s ima­gine the Aus­sies get a bit of run of the ball, futhi balisebenzise kahle kwayo, and Eng­land sink to defeat in the first couple of test matches. Real­ist­ic­ally it is unlikely that they could come back from 2–0 down, so the remain­ing matches would­n’t really tell us a great deal new. Is there a dif­fer­ence between leav­ing hav­ing lost by 3 noma 4 nethimba yayinjalo, and leav­ing hav­ing lost 5–0 with the cap­tain in doubt, a lead­ing bowl­er gone, futhi 2 of the best bats­man gone. I ask because that is what happened in 2013–14, when ques­tions were left hanging over Cap­tain Cook, Jonath­an Trott quit inter­na­tion­al crick­et, KP ukuthi zinganakiwe, futhi uGraeme Swann ukuyeka maphakathi no-uhambo. In oth­er words massive mis­man­age­ment had man­aged to snatch a much great­er defeat from the jaws of a brief embar­rass­ment. Just ima­gine the cur­rent Eng­land team but with KP, Trott and Swann still avail­able for selec­tion — a world num­ber 1 uhlangothi ngokuqinisekile?

Instead we have a young­er less exper­i­enced team, but with plenty of qual­ity and plenty of poten­tial. It is essen­tial to the future of the team that such massive fail­ures of man­age­ment are not repeated on this tour. There is no dom­in­ant coun­try in test crick­et at present, with Aus­tralia, England, India, Pakistan and South Africa all cap­able of being dom­in­ant and ruth­less, and also all cap­able of being very poor too. There is noth­ing to sep­ar­ate these 5 izinhlangothi. All of them would be favour­ites in home con­di­tions to beat all of the oth­ers. This is par­tic­u­larly so in England’s case, nge 2 of the best swing bowl­ers in the his­tory of the game able to win home matches with reg­u­lar­ity, even when the bats­men are struggling.

Ngakho, let’s hope the Eng­land man­age­ment have learned from pre­vi­ous mis­takes, futhi uma kwenzeka kokunqotshwa, find ways to keep the team togeth­er, lift the great tal­ent we have, and bring the Eng­land team home ready to con­tin­ue build­ing towards the future. If they can­’t do that, Yini ngempela benza ukuze ithimba?

(1) A foot­note on the Ben Stokes affair. This is a wor­ry­ing sign that Eng­land man­age­ment haven’t learned from the past. Ask your­self this — if it was the oth­er way around and a key Aus­sie play­er had assaul­ted someone in a bar would the Aus­sies have dropped that play­er? Or would they have down­played it, picked the guy any­way, and even gone on to make him vice cap­tain? Uma kukhona ukungabaza mayelana impendulo buza nje Joe Umsuka! It seems to me that Eng­land man­age­ment are first and fore­most inter­ested in avoid­ing catch­ing any flack from the media, rather than act­ing in the right way. Suc­cess­ful man­age­ment pub­licly sup­ports their play­er. What is said in private is no doubt very dif­fer­ent. There isn’t even any sign of man­age­ment tak­ing a grain of respons­ib­il­ity, des­pite repeated fail­ures to man­age play­ers effect­ively, be it with men­tal health (Trescothick, Trott), team rela­tions (Swann, KP), or respons­ible beha­viour (Flintoff in ped­alo-gate, Root get­ting punched in walk­about, play­ers urin­at­ing on the pitch, futhi manje Stokes phezu ukuqhuma).

UCABANGANI? Beka amazwana ngezansi! Uma ungathanda ukuba ubhalise sicela usebenzise ubhalisele isixhumanisi on the imenyu at ilungelo phezulu. Ungase futhi wabelane le nabangani bakho ngokusebenzisa links social ngezansi. cheers.

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