What the Ashes mean to me...

Cook And England Cricket

After the first day of play George Sessions tells us what this historic series means to him.

At approximately 11 am this morning, the first ball of the Ashes 2013 series was bowled. History tells us it can be quite a crucial delivery, à la Steve Harmison 2007/08 series.

At the close of play the nerves of the opening day were clear for everyone to see; as it was the bowlers day in Nottingham as both batting attacks faultered in the overcast conditions.

The talk leading up to this series is focused on England retaining the Ashes by demolishing this weak and feeble Australia side. Michael Clarke, on his own will not be enough to stop our relentless bowlers. This will be easy, some might say.

After the first day of action it is clear that is not true.

It could be easy, Anderson and co may destroy the Aussies and we might win 5-0 (although I highly doubt it) but this isn’t any old test series, this is a test series that produces memories.

These memories last a lifetime, and engrave into your memory so that whenever you think of cricket these thoughts pop up.

The 2005 Ashes in particular brought me several long-lasting memories. As a schoolboy, who was just starting to follow the game, it was a truly incredible series to follow.

In the space of just under two months, I had gone from a kid fairly interested in the 1st day at Lords, to someone engrossed by every ball bowled and every run taken. That was just by the second test!

I’ll never forget the final day of the series. After school being on a packed bus, trying desperately to listen to Kevin Pietersen blast the Australian attack to all quarters to secure the Ashes.

I begged to have September 12th off school. I wasn’t allowed so my only port of call that day was whatever radio station I was listening to and the computers that we could use at lunch.

That series in particular feels me with plenty of unforgettable cricket memories. Harmison bowling that ball, Kasprowicz gloving that delivery and Jones taking that catch. That was an unforgettable passage of play but so much in that series follows that description.

Shane Warne somehow spinning the ball past Strauss and sending it crashing into middle and leg, I was gutted and yet amazed at that delivery.

Then Freddie’s over, the over where he dismissed two of the world’s greatest batsmen, Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting to send the Edgbaston crowd into pandemonium. That sentence doesn’t do that over justice. He made Ponting look like a Sunday league cricketer. A truly sensation seven balls, the no ball proving to be so crucial.

There is more. Flintoff and Jones swatting the depleted Aussies to all parts of Trent Bridge and then Giles and Hoggard scrambling England to victory.

And that is what the Ashes is about. The most important thing for me is the memories you take from it.

The Ashes is the pinnacle of English and Australia cricket, and some other countries may call it the biggest event in cricket too.

You should get caught up in the emotion of the series. Remember the key moments, remember where you were for those key moments. Whether you are at Lords, Trent Bridge etc or just sitting in your living room jumping for joy. Remember those memories.

I am trying to predict the future, but remember Pietersen playing the flamingo shot to reach three figures, or Broad bowling Haddin for his hat-trick, or maybe Clarke reaching his double century to rescue that Test for Australia. Hopefully, Alastair Cook lifting the Ashes as England captain for the first time.

So remember those memories regardless of whether you are a cricket veteran or just a novice because for some people, like they did for me, they may start off your love affair with the sport they call cricket or just enhance your affection for the game.

image: © gareth1953