Chris reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to. Trawl back through my blog, and other people’s sites and blogs, to find out what people said of England’s chances. You can start by looking at my “Ashes” tag. There are ten pages there, and this link starts at the back of the queue (i.e. 7 months ago), so you’ll need to click “Previous page” at the bottom to trawl through. You can see the first Ashes post was 7 months ago, in January, in which I said:
Naturally, all talk is on The Ashes which is already becoming tiring. The expectation on England is going to be massive and, in my opinion, they can only win if Harmison is on form, Flintoff bats naturally and bowls quickly, Strauss & Trescothick continue to score hundreds and Vaughan too. Theyâ€™ll also benefit from a) winning the toss, b) some luck and c) someone breaking McGrathâ€™s arm. England – whether you like or agree with Jagdishâ€™s views – are a fine team, captained superbly, and whatever happens letâ€™s hope the media donâ€™t shoot them down. (incidentally tickets for the Lordâ€™s game are going for over Â£300 I heard in the pub last week, on eBay and private sellers etcâ€¦)
Seven months on: Harmison hasn’t really been on form, but has still been influential in this series by smashing balls into batsmen’s heads. 16 wickets is also fairly handy. Flintoff has batted naturally and bowled very quickly. Vaughan has won the toss. England has has its fair share of luck. McGrath’s elbow, not arm, has been injured, and Vaughan has captained the side imaginatively. It’s an easy game, this punditry
In February, Mark Waugh wrote England off, but Peter Lever reckoned England would do ok:
“England might have a chance, but I don’t know if they believe in themselves against Australia,” he said.
Towards the end of March, I wrote:
As Iâ€™ve said in the past, I am excited about this Ashes – but am also much more relaxed about it. The past 3 or 4 have been painful to watch – really, really painful – not least because winning the Ashes was seen as the only way to resurrect English Cricket, back then. English Cricket isnâ€™t in the mess it was 5/10 years ago, and for that reason alone, England can at last try to enjoy this series and not worry too much about the outcome. Thatâ€™s Vaughanâ€™s motto, after all – â€œenjoy yourselvesâ€ – and Iâ€™m sure Australianâ€™s wouldnâ€™t begrudge England the odd victory in a few monthâ€™s time, although I donâ€™t doubt for a second which way they want the pendulum to swing for the final result 2-2 going into the final Test at the new and redeveloped Oval would be just fine, please.
Can you smell the reserved “I don’t want to be too cocky, and please let England perform well” nature of my post there?
And perhaps most interestingly, 3 months ago I wrote of a John Buchanan quote, speaking of Ricky Ponting:
â€œHeâ€™s growing I think every series as a person, as a leader, as an occupier of a fairly significant position in Australian society.â€
Australia can’t, now, win this series. The best they can hope for is a draw, to retain the Ashes. What IF Australia don’t win at The Oval, and hand the Urn over to England? What ramifications does this hold for Ponting, who is “an occupier of a fairly siginificant position in Australia society?”
If you know of any links or quotes, or indeed comments on blogs (here and elsewhere) that showed Australia’s lack of respect for England (on those lines, anyway), send them in…