On 19 November last year, in advance of the start of the Ashes series, I posted “5 Fearless Predictions” on this blog apropos key performances that I believed would play a large factor in who won the Ashes.
Those predictions were:
- There would be only one winning in the Broad v Australian crowd battle and the winner’s team would likely win the Ashes.
- Michael Clarke would average less than 35.00 with the willow.
- The Australian XI for the Sydney test match would be different to that of the Brisbane test match.
- Kevin Pietersen will score a hundred and will offend everyone.
- No matter what happens the “Three Stooges” will survive.
I also had been fairly overt in my dismay, at the time, about the selection of Mitchell Johnson. Obviously I got that one woefully wrong along with my predictions about Michael Clarke’s performance, possible changes to the Australian XI and Pietersen scoring a hundred.
I had also posited that the result would be, according to my heart, Australia to win 2-1 and, according to my head, England to win 2-1. Again: I was wrong.
One of the most mimicked lines of Richie Benaud is “It’s a funny old game cricket” and this completed Ashes tour has certainly taught us that.
Ordinarily I would have a case of the “dirts” because I got my predications wrong but how could I be negative about a 5-0 whipping of the English? Simply put: I can not be! That said, I am now working hard to manage my own expectations of the Australian team for the coming series in South Africa. That series will not be anywhere near as easy as this one just completed was and any hint of complacency will be exploited by the best team in the world, for the moment.
A final point: I never in my wildest dreams thought England would be so bad on this tour. Mitchell Johnson, in his acceptance speech for the Man of the Series award, commented that England never stopped fighting during the series: Ben Stokes aside I respectfully disagree. England’s capitulations in both innings in the final test of the series were indicative of a side that had given up: nothing more and nothing less. I genuinely hope that Andy Flower and Alistair Cook can get the Poms back on track because whilst I love nothing more than beating them, seeing competitive cricket against them in previous series has been a joy.