Anything goes in the name of Ashes

Poor run-rates, over-rates and gamesmanship should not be washed away with the 'This is Ashes' excuse.

The Bar Brawl: It started much, much before the Ashes started. David Warner was dropped for Australia's Champions Trophy match against New Zealand for an 'unprovoked physical attack' on England's Joe ... more 
The Bar Brawl: It started much, much before the Ashes started. David Warner was dropped for Australia's Champions Trophy match against New Zealand for an 'unprovoked physical attack' on England's Joe Root. David had swung a punch at Root in a Birmingham bar following England's 48-run victory over Australia in the teams' tournament opener at Edgbaston.

Suspended Warner was later dropped from the Australian side for their first Ashes Test against England at Trent Bridge. He also apologised. less 
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Getty Images | Photo by Staff / Gareth Copley
Thu 29 Aug, 2013 2:30 PM IST











The Indian Badminton League has been an unqualified success and kudos to the organisers for bringing topclass shuttlers to the country. The standard of play, the competitiveness among the teams, the enthusiasm of the crowds and the exposure in the media has been nothing short of fantastic.

It is here that the badminton federation needs to strike while the iron is hot and arrange camps and scouting exercises so that youngsters will be able to get their initial curiosity converted into regular participation.

There were so many impressionable kids at the venues, and while some of them came to be seen on TV with their banners, a majority were there to see some of the best players in the world ply their trade.

For the Indian players too, it must have been a terrific experience to play with and against some of the best and to observe from close quarters how they train, prepare and get ready for battle.

What the IBL also did, to some extent, is to get some money for the players, and while there will always be some who will be disgruntled with what they get, the majority would have been happy to get fair rewards for their efforts. It is a small step towards making the game a career option, and when that happens, the boom in the sport will be incredible.

Meanwhile on the cricketing front, the Australians have finally won a game beating England in the first T20 International with a big margin. Aaron Finch, who had such a good season with the Pune Warriors, smashed a world record 156 to propel the Aussies towards a total that England could not get to.

There is not the slightest doubt that the more you play the better you get, and the number of games in the IPL means that it is that much more experience and exposure which definitely came in handy for Finch. England's hopes of making it a clean sweep in all formats of the game went for a toss with that loss.

England's players' celebrations at The Oval have come in for a lot of comment forcing the ECB to issue a statement that the players had apologised for their atrocious behaviour.

Celebrations can take an ugly turn when a bit of alcohol is thrown in, and that is what seemed to have happened, though it is hard to understand why players who guard their privacy zealously and don't allow anybody in the dressing rooms should be out in the open where they could be seen.

Not surprisingly, it was the Aussie media who have had to suffer all the barbs thrown at them in the media box by their English counterparts over the team's performances that broke the story. They finally got the chance to write something negative about the 'Poms' which they had been waiting for the whole season.

Mind you, they had pontificated about the refusal to walk by Stuart Broad just like the coach Darren Lehmann did and as Ian Chappell pointed out, it was hypocritical for the Aussies to take issue with Broad when they as a rule don't walk even if they have hit the leather off the ball.

What this series did was to expose the double standards in the administration and the media in these countries as the reactions to the various incidents that cropped up during the series showed. If the Aussies were critical of Broad and the way the DRS functioned, the English were quite happy to defend their tactics with the words 'this is the Ashes' as if the word 'Ashes' excused everything.

The scoring rates, the over rates were quite abysmal at times, but it was all explained away as 'being part of Ashes cricket'. If the same tactics would be used by other teams there would be a chorus of criticism that the game is being killed by such boring tactics.

The double standards were also evident when the various announcements were made at the ground. It was always the Investec Ashes, and when it was tea time it was Yorkshire tea time.

Whenever an England player met the media, it was always with the team sponsor's cap on. So while it is alright for the authorities there to give their series, team and other sponsors their promos, when something similar happens in India it is roundly criticised.

Sponsors today are an integral part of the game and it is important that they get the publicity that they are spending so much money for, and so the authorities in different countries will try and give them as much exposure as they can so that the sponsorship continues.

The money paid by the sponsors in India is much more than in England or Australia, or for that matter any other country. So if people have no objections to the Ashes being called by its sponsor's name and the TV guys, ground public address announcers and players giving the various sponsors the mileage over and above that is agreed upon, then please do not say anything when sixers and catches are referred to by sponsor names in the IPL, for these sponsors have perhaps paid more than all the sponsors put together for the Ashes series. 

Most Runs: Ian Bell - 562 runs at an average of 62.44, including three centuries and two half-centuries, with a highest score of 113, in 10 innings.

Shane Watson - 418 runs at an average of 41.80, ... more 
Most Runs: Ian Bell - 562 runs at an average of 62.44, including three centuries and two half-centuries, with a highest score of 113, in 10 innings.

Shane Watson - 418 runs at an average of 41.80, including one century and one half-century, with a highest score of 176, in 10 innings.

Kevin Pietersen - 388 runs at an average of 38.80, including one century and three half-centuries, with a highest score of 113, in 10 innings.

Michael Clarke - 381 runs at an average of 47.62, including one century and one half-century, with a highest score of 187, in 10 innings.

Chris Rogers - 367 runs at an average of 40.77, including one century and two half-centuries, with a highest score of 110, in 9 innings. less 
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Getty Images | Photo by Staff / Mike Hewitt
Wed 28 Aug, 2013 1:30 PM IST

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