English cricket celebrates a coming of age
England’s cricketers wrapped up a 3-1 series victory against Australia in Sydney on Friday and held aloft the little Ashes urn for the first time in 24 years on Australian soil.
They should enjoy the moment. It has been hard earned and a long time in coming. The taste of success will be sweet and should be savoured after so much hurt and torment at the hands of the great Australian sides of the last 20 years.
But England will do well to remember the steep fall from grace enjoyed by the national football team in 2001 after the 5-1 victory over Germany, the rugby team in 2003 after their World Cup win and their own Ashes triumph in 2005 which was followed by a 5-0 drubbing the next time.
English cricket BEWARE! “Keep off the moors. Stick to the roads,” to quote an American werewolf in London.
However, getting ahead of themselves should not be a problem for England under captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower, who are well-versed in keeping a level head.
Witness the way they bounced back from the third test defeat in Perth and made sure they finished off the series in style in Sydney despite having secured the urn in Melbourne.
England have youth on their side as well. Whereas the 2005 vintage side were at their pinnacle, this team should just be starting a golden period of form. Their vitality, enthusiasm and innocence of youth as well as an insatiable appetite for success should also help them deal with any potential setbacks, such as the retirement of Paul Collingwood.
It will also help that any new recruits will be coming into a successful team as opposed to the sides of the Nineties.
England now have the Australia one-dayers and the World Cup to look forward to, but all test eyes will switch to the English summer where England will welcome the number one-ranked side in the world, India, in what will surely be a titanic struggle for cricketing supremacy.