The Ashes: A passionate battle for pride & glory!"
Test cricket is Cricket of the highest quality, and ‘The Ashes’ is the Test Cricket of highest quality. The Ashes is the most competitive and thrilling red ball cricket there is, and it has been for more than 130 years. The only other rivalry that might fall in the same category in terms of intensity as this is India and Pakistan, but they don’t play bilateral cricket anymore, so there is no real competition for The Ashes. It is the best, loud and clear!
The Ashes is so much more than just a title or a trophy for the English and the Aussies. It is a dream for them…a dream to be listed among the greats of the game they grew up idolizing. Its a badge of glory, a medal of honor. Getting their hands on that urn as the victors fulfils the purpose of life for some of them. It’s the biggest prize they can win on a Cricket field, some would say even bigger than the World Cup! Besides, the decades long history and competitiveness between the both sides makes sure that there is never a dull moment. For the fans too, it’s kind of the same. They too stand right behind their team and back their players like they mean it! In fact, they are one of the very significant factors that make The Ashes what it is…A passionate battle for pride & glory!
The ICC Test Championship is also commencing with the Ashes, hence there is actually more at stake than the already very high stakes of the contest! Both Australia and England are strong contenders for the title and have a bit more to play for, and that’s just icing on a glorious cake! Looking at how the summer has shaped up so far, it’s safe to say that the Ashes is set up quite neatly.
After winning the World Cup final in a controversial fashion, England have been widely termed as ‘winners without winning the final’. Not that it matters much, but they would really like to improve that image by winning the Ashes. Joe Root as England's test captain needs to win this to make a statement, he has already lost one and would like to get his name among Ashes winning captains this time. England have a rather inexperienced team, but by no means are they a weak side. They will enter the Ashes in high spirits and will look to get the Urn back and make it two out of two this summer!
Australia, on the other hand, are wounded by the semifinal defeat to England, and that makes them even more dangerous than they already would’ve been otherwise. They can really use an Ashes win to get over that loss, and they will be looking to do just that! Tim Paine will either come out of the Ashes termed as a big mistake, or a masterstroke. He'll try his best to make it the latter! With Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft making a comeback, the Aussies are in a very good shape going into the Ashes. Australia enter the contest as the favorites, but make no mistake, Joe Root and his men will make Australia fight hard for every step they take towards the prestigious Urn!
There are comebacks. There are debuts. There might be retirements. There will be sledging. There will be banter. It will get intense! There are points to be proven. There are statements to be made. There is history to be made, and the best cricketers from the parent nations of cricket will fight to be on the right side of it! Over the next month and a half, we will witness the purest form of glory in all its glory…don’t miss the chance! Enjoy top-quality cricket. Enjoy the Ashes!
Hussnain Magsi is a part of the Down The Ground editorial team. He is also a Cricket blogger and loves writing about Cricket.