Big words, big words…
It’s always a joy to hear from a member of the Interestment family, and today it’s the turn of Josh Allen – cricket and betting expert. He had this to say…
England may have beaten Australia and the Ashes may be ours once more but this time it’s not all set to end with a hilariously drunken, open-top bus tour around London. Of course there’s plenty of time to fit that in, but afterwards England are aiming not for the paracetamol, but for world domination.
Alas, it will have to be achieved without the brilliant Andrew Flintoff, who has finally given in to knee surgery and Test retirement but Freddie wants England to push on without him.
“There is no reason they cannot be the best,” Fred told the awaiting press on Monday morning.
“They have got a fantastic captain and (are) a talented team.
“If there is any lesson to be learned from 2005 now, it’s to go for domination, try to get to number one in the world.”
In order to do that, they may require a lot more luck than last time. After Ashes success in 2005, England’s plans for world domination were crushed, rather like Derek Trotter‘s plans for financial security, by a series of increasingly ludicrous misfortunes.
Most were out of their hands as injuries ravaged half the team: Flintoff, captain Michael Vaughan and Simon Jones (remember him), just three of the unfortunates to go missing for long periods. Then there was the unfortunate Marcus Trescothick, forced into retirement by a stress-related illness and finally the obligatory self-inflicted disaster as Freddie returned from injury, only to do an uncle Albert and sink a ship (well, a pedalo).
So the big question is will it be any different or are we set for another episode of predictable hilarity? Current England captain Andrew Strauss is hopeful it will be the former. He said: “Our next challenge is a massive one, away in South Africa.
“But we can take confidence from this and the long-term goal is to be the number one side in the world.”
Given South Africa currently hold that number one cricket side position, a victory for England would go some way to convincing everybody that this dream to become the best may just have a happy ending.
As with the Trotters, we’ll all just have to keep our fingers crossed and tune in next time.
One made it, one didn’t…
And so the Ashes has come to a glorious end, and now there’s just the small matter of a one-day series that no one really cares about. The players have done what they wanted to do, so expect a lot of half-hearted wafts at the ball, and moments when the batsman isn’t even looking when the ball is bowled. Fielders near the boundary might conceivable just wander off the pitch. No one cares. No one. Still, the test series was brill, and this would probably be the ultimate Ashes compilation team. As decided by us…
1. Andrew Strauss, England
Strauss gets in, but not as captain. He scored more than anyone else, even with a tight leather necklace on throughout the series, with a ring on it, digging right into his throat. That makes his 161 at Lords all the more impressive.
2. Shane Watson, Australia
It was a close one for the second opening spot, but Watson just out-muscles Katich, mainly because he looks a bit like Patrick Swayze. He also scored three half centuries, which isn’t bad for a man who looks like Patrick Swayze. That’s right – Patrick Swayze. He looks like Partick Swayze.
3. Ricky Ponting, Australia
Unfortunately for England, the minute someone is asked to bat third, their knees start knocking together, their arms turn to rubber, and the bat morphs into a heavy truncheon made of lead. Hence, Ponting was the only choice. He does, however, also get the nod as captain, thanks to his hilarious way of speaking in post-match interviews. It’s just a big long stream of words. No pauses.
4. Jonathan Trott, England
He played just one match, and in it he became only the second Englishman after Strauss to score a century in the series. Hence his Ashes average of 80. As with so many great starters, he will now get promoted to batting at three. Cue jelly-legs.
5. Michael Clarke, Australia
Despite having the facial expression of a man who has been trapped in an airtight horse manure manufacturing machine for most of his life – or at least until the wind changed – Michael Clarke seems like a friendly young man. So friendly that he scored two 100s and two 50s in just five matches. Pretty good going.
6. Matt Prior, England (wkt)
His opposite number, Haddin, might have scored more runs, but the manner in which Prior got his just edged it. His strike rate of 81.81 is impressive, and his “glove work” was also pretty tasty. Whatever that means.
7. Andrew Flintoff, England
It was never in doubt really. Even with knackered knees, Freddie had a few fine moments – the five wickets at Lords, the run out at the Oval. And, really, that’s it. The second best all-rounder of the series.
8. Stuart Broad, England
The best all-rounder of the series. He makes the side for getting 18 wickets, and a couple of decent half centuries. He does have the look of a rather snotty high achiever, but he can be forgiven that. Needs to start eating heavily if he really wants to be the New Flintoff.
9. Mitchell Johnson, Australia
Arrived in England as the most feared bowler on the planet, then quickly became the object of much crowd lampooning. He was pretty rubbish in the first couple of tests, then suddenly he got quite good. In fact, even when he was awful he took wickets. Smirks a lot.
10. Graeme Swann, England
The only spinner of any note throughout the series, he also had a couple of decent goes with the bat. He looks ever so slightly like Marcus from Big Brother minus the massive side burns and hillbilly haircut. Actually, on closer inspection, he hardly looks like him at all.
11. Ben Hilfenhaus, Australia
The cricket equivalent of a dinner party guest’s silent husband, who has become seriously wealthy and successful despite never having anything to say, nor ever having made a single other human being smile. Even for a second. And yet, the highest wicket taker in the series. Dependable.
Only one of these men made it…
It’s always a treat to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today it’s the turn of Betfair‘s Josh Allen – a man who knows more than a little about sport, betting, cricket and gambling. He had this to say about the next Ashes test…
England may have won the second Ashes Test to take a 1-0 lead in the series but at times the coverage at Lords was more Casualty than cricket match. Indeed the skills of Charlie Fairhead and co would have come in handy as Pietersen, Flintoff and various others limped around the pitch.
It’s fortunate for England then, that Strauss’ troops were given nine days to recover. Not quite fortunate enough for Kevin Pietersen mind; the flamboyant number four has been ruled out for the rest of the series after undergoing surgery on an Achilles problem. Fellow 2005 Ashes winner Ian Bell will take his place.
Warwickshire batsman Bell had a difficult time of it back in 2005, scoring just 171 runs in 10 innings but his nemesis throughout the series, Shane Warne, has since retired and captain Strauss assured BBC Radio 5 Live that Bell is up to the task.
“We’re fortunate to have Ian waiting in the wings” said Strauss.
“We have really high hopes that Ian Bell will be a big player in the team moving forward and he will be determined to take his chance.”
One man that has been pieced together again is Andrew Flintoff. Quite how he keeps going is a mystery to one and all but thanks to seemingly Terminator-esque regenerative qualities, the Lord’s hero is due to throw himself at the Aussies once more. Furthermore, in order to leave Flintoff out, the England selectors would have to find somebody brave enough to tell him. With this in mind Strauss said:
“He’s absolutely determined to play in these last three Test matches and it will take something pretty dramatic for him not to take the field on Thursday.”
Of the remaining Lord’s victims, Graham Onions has shaken off a knock to play, while another Graeme with a peculiar surname (Swann) has shown no signs of post traumatic stress, after surviving a barrage of aerial missiles from Australian axeman Peter Siddle.
The third Test gets underway at Edgbaston on Thursday 30th July at 11am.
This man can be a real meanie…
As ever it’s with a gigantic high ten that we bid good morning to Rory, a very important member of the Interestment family. He had this to say about nasty/funny things uttered on a cricket pitch…
Astonishingly, just prior to the start of this Ashes series, the Australian Cricket board issued their team with a peculiar edict: no more sledging. Seriously. Apparently they then followed this up with a letter to Graham Norton asking him to “tone down the whole camp thing” and a petition to stop zebras being all equine and stripey. Putting aside the sheer ridiculousness of their request, they seem to be overlooking the fact that if we didn’t have sledging we wouldn’t have gems like these to remember:
“Hey Tufnell, can I borrow your brain? I’m building an idiot” – Australian fan to England’s Phil Tufnell.
“Mate, if you just turn the bat over you’ll find the instructions on the other side” – Merv Hughes to Robin Smith.
“All right, which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?” – Vic Richardson, the Aussie vice-captain interrogates his team after England skipper Douglas Jardine complains he’d heard someone swear at him on the field.
Aussie wicketkeeper Ian Healy: “You’re a fucking cheat.”
England batsman Mike Atherton: “When in Rome, dear boy.”
Aussie batsman Mark Waugh: “Mate, what are you doing out here. There’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.”
James Ormond: “Maybe not, but at least I’m the best player in my family.”
Aussie wicketkeeper Rod Marsh: “How’s your wife and my kids?”
Ian Botham: “Wife’s good, but the kids are retarded.”
“Hey Gatting – move out of the way. I can’t see the stumps.” Dennis Lillee to a rotund Mike Gatting.
“The other advantage England have when Tufnell is bowling is that he isn’t fielding.” Aussie ex-player and pundit Ian Chappell.
“I don’t mind this lot chirping at me but you’re just the bus driver.” Nasser Hussain to Justin Langer
Say adios to this man…
The Interestment family continues to grow and grow, and today we welcome Josh Allen to the site – he’s a betting and sport expert. He told us this about the upcoming cricket…
Vaughan ready to retire as England prepare for Ashes assault without him
Former England captain Michael Vaughan is set to retire from all forms of Cricket after missing out on the Ashes training squad.
The 34 year old has struggled for form and fitness in recent years and has not played for England since relinquishing the captaincy in August 2008. His likely omission from this year’s Ashes squad all but ended any chance of an international comeback and and he is now expected to confirm his retirement at a press conference on Tuesday.
Upon announcing the training squad, national selector Geoff Miller (pictured) said that Vaughan would have to “make runs consistently in county cricket if he is to force his way back into the squad.”
However ex-county team mate Paul Grayson told BBC Sport that Vaughan had become disillusioned with that form of the game. He said: “You have to be really motivated to play county cricket and he [Vaughan] felt he did not have the motivation to keep going”.
Despite his best efforts, Vaughan has only managed 147 runs in seven Championship innings this season and according to Grayson he didn’t want to hold back the progress of any of Yorkshire’s younger players.
Vaughan will retire as England’s most successful Test captain ever, with 26 victories; his most famous win coming against Australia in the 2005 Ashes series. Ashley Giles (pictured) was one of Vaughan’s team-mates throughout the series and said: “Vaughany’s been a great servant to cricket, a good friend of mine and great player for England and a great captain so it would be a loss to the game”
“He treated everyone as an individual and believed that guys should express themselves and not have the fear of failure and gave us all a bucket load of confidence.”
Andrew Strauss is the man charged with repeating Vaughan’s 2005 success and he will lead England out for the first Test with Australia on July 8th.