Sleeping with Geoffrey Boycott
So, England win the Ashes! In Australia! Winning by an innings on three separate occasions! This is indeed English cricketing heaven. If you want a great overview of England’s dominance of Australia, then do read blogoholic Tim’s fine Ashes in Numbers post. If, after that, you want to read me rambling on about it, then read on!
I remember when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005, after being 3-0 down at half-time, I wanted football to end there and then. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t going to get any better than that. So far, I’ve been proved right.
I feel a similar sensation after witnessing the England cricket team obliterate the opposition in one of sport’s oldest and finest rivalries. I can’t see an England side ever again winning in Australia in such a fashion. It was that special, and as Tim’s numbers illustrate, that unique. Will there ever be another time when England click absolutely and completely as a team? And, frankly, will there ever be another time when Australia appear so out of their depth? Will we ever have it so good again?
For many England cricketing fans, the 2005 series in England is their highlight, as it was the first time England had won the Ashes since 1987. A long wait for such a victory, a great see-saw series, and a country jubilant at the end. However, with an immaculate sense of timing, I was out of the country for that whole summer, so it has never felt quite as special to me. This 2009-10 series is the one for me.
Generally, I think there is something quite magical about following sport in faraway places. I miss those old crackly sporting commentaries on TV from far-flung corners of the world. Everything sounds so clear now, as if it is in the next room rather than halfway around the world. But having a major sporting event like this take place overnight (my time) has still been brilliant, especially as it has been such a wonderfully exciting and unusual series.
I’ve caught some sessions on television, but on the whole, my Significant Other and I have stuck to the radio, and the BBC’s incomparable Test Match Special coverage. My SO cemented her place in my affections ever further by suggesting we just leave the radio on each night, ensuring we could keep up with what was happening, and then be lulled back to sleep by the reassuring tones of the TMS squad.
Apart from Geoff Boycott that is, who when commentating somehow seems irritated and annoyed no matter what the scenario. Being awoken by a shouty Yorkshireman isn’t the best sensation, but I happily put up with that in exchange for hearing Australia bowled out for under 100, or Alastair Cook scoring yet another imperious century.
Those strange, wonderful nights of drifting in and out of sleep and the Ashes make this my favourite ever cricketing series, and perhaps one of my favouriteever sporting experiences full-stop. I’ll always hold it dear. But I must admit I am looking forward to a proper night’s sleep now.