Ashes 2009 War of Words Warms Up

June 4, 2009 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

With Ashes 2009 drawing ever closer, the mind games are well under way. One of the favored tactics of the Australian cricket side is to conduct a war of words via the media. They love to get the media to do their dirty work for them and the Ashes is no exception. Past masters of this were Steve Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. As long as it is done in the spirit of Ashes cricket no harm is done.

Ricky Ponting has questioned the role Andrew Flintoff will have or should have in Ashes 2009. Flintoff was one of the key reasons why England won the Ashes in 2005. He was monumental with both the bat and the ball. Since then he has suffered from injury problem after injury problem and has never really been fully fit. He played in the recent IPL in South Africa and re-injured himself.

Ponting is trying to bluff the English. He doesn’t want Flintoff to be there but he is warning England about playing a sub-fit Flintoff. At best Flintoff could prove to be totally useless and at worst he could do further damage and have no chance of playing any part in Ashes 2009.

When it comes to Ashes cricket, you can take some risks, but you really can’t afford to take the field with players who are questionable.

Of course it has been done over the years. Part of Ashes folklore is Eddie Paynter coming out of hospital to help England during the infamous Bodyline tour. Paynter had tonsillitis but England was struggling at the Gabba. He scored 83 in the first innings and hit the winning runs in the second. Then again, Paynter was a fine batsman and is one of only eight retired English batsmen to have a Test average of over 50. But still, this is the type of courage that one has to display in Ashes cricket. Saying that, there is a very fine line between courage and stupidity.

An Australian cricket who showed particular courage was Rick McCosker who came out to bat in the 1977 Centenary Test with a broken jaw. Bob Willis broke his jaw in the first innings and the opener came out to bat at Number 10 in the second innings. He scored 25 and with Rod Marsh added 54 runs for the 9th wicket. Australia would go on to win by 45 runs but what was bigger for McCosker was the place he found for himself in Ashes history.

David Wiseman is a sports journalist and analyst who writes for Betfair Australia. As well as following this summers Ashes series, he is looking forward to the afl grand final


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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