Where to watch the Ashes…in Hong Kong

Stephen Anderson writes:

Eighteen months of waiting to answers one question. Will England keep The ASHES?

Not bloody likely

Some people feel that Australians are ageing and are not quite the ruthless
killing machine they were. Let’s see! We all watch how the Aussie went out
and just cut up all the opposition at the ICC cup.

What ever will happen the last major sporting event of 2006 and the first of
20007 will be on live @ The Kangaroo Pubs WAC- LKF & TST THE HOME OF THE ASHES
IN HKG

Aussie Steve Anderson

A selection of breakfast shall be available each morning with Champagne brunch
each and every Saturday & Sunday mornings.

The Kangaroo Downunder Bar & Restaurant
54-62 Lockhart rd
Wan Chai
2139 3111
For more info call
Stephen Anderson
9326 9138
The Kangaroo Downunder Bar & Restaurant
53-55 Chatham rd South
TST
3175 8928
EPL
LIVE

The Kangaroo Bar & Club-LKF
Level 2,”The Winner Building”
39 D’Aguilar St. L.K.F.
2138 6578

The only pool table in LKF
HONG KONG’S FAVOURITE AUSSIE BAR

Well, there you go.

Jones versus Read (vote)

It was inevitable. Certainly in my eyes, anyway. Duncan Fletcher has a memory like an elephant, and an intense loyalty to those who have \”been there and done that\” (come to the party, put their hand up, etc.). Chris Read has done neither. The cynic in me ponders whether this was a master plan by Fletcher. Sack Read; send a rocket up Jones\’ backside to get him fired up; wait for Read to fail before reinstating Jones on the grounds of Read\’s inadequacies. The wicketkeeping debate is then quietened for another few months and Fletcher looks like a savior.

Should Jones have a poor Ashes series – and you can almost guarantee Read won\’t play a single Test in Australia – then we\’ll be back to square one. But for now, Fletcher\’s got his own way – and I\’m glad with the decision too. Read is the best keeper in the country by a distance but, with willow in hand, is little more than a rabbit in the headlights in Test matches. Since reinstating him in the summer, Read has done his cause no good; he has dropped some uncharacteristic clangers, too.

The duel between the two has been rolling on furiously on the blog, so it\’s high time we opened it up to you lot. Good decision? Vote, then leave a comment. (if you can\’t see the voting thing below, click here).

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England vs Prime Minister’s XI

Normally, the opening to an Australian summer is the ACB Chairman’s XI, but thanks to the poor scheduling of this tour by the villains at Cricket Australia, the 2006/07 Ashes campaign starts with England playing the Prime Minister’s XI, at Canberra.

These games have a long history, where the Prime Minister of the day has an input into the selection of the side. Normally it is just a bit of a lark for the civil servants and the Prime Minister, and a good game for fringe tourists to make their case.

Meanwhile, Australia’s younger talent get a chance to strut their stuff.

It’s never been taken very seriously, but this year, it was not only broadcast on Fox Sports, but the ABC radio team came out and covered the game.

This year’s PM’s XI certainly took dismantling England pretty seriously; after 50 overs, they ran up 5 for 347. English readers will be pleased to know that Flintoff bowled his ten overs and apart from one bad over was right on the money. The bad news was that Anderson was expensive and Mahmood was slaughtered. Both men have got lots of improving to do.

England’s batsmen will no doubt revive English spirits if they can chase that down. However, they will have the handicap of not getting quite so many long-hops, full tosses and half volleys as the Prime Minister’s batsmen received.

(Will: Muppets)

Photos of England arriving in Australia

I’ve just put up Getty’s photos of England arriving at Sydney airport. Suddenly, it feels as though the tour really has begun. England’s mission now seems a lot clearer, if it wasn’t already abundantly obvious: bring that bloody urn home!

This. Is. Massive. See Flintoff here and the photo index of the tour here.

And here are some from Yahoo News courtesy of AP

Flags on England's plane after arriving in Australia

England fans cheer on their side who arrived at Sydney Airport

Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff wave to the cameras

Abandon all hope ye English that enter here?

Andrew Flintoff might not be able to avoid talking to the Australian media, but he’s best advised to avoid reading the media. As his team flies into Sydney today, the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage takes on a traditionally gloomy (if you are English) tone.

Mark Waugh, never backward in coming forward with his opinion, thinks it’s going to be a 4-1 walkover.

I’m not sure if Flintoff is good at two-up but he needs to win four out of five tosses to give England hope.

Even allowing for some luck with the coin, I’m predicting a 4-1 victory for the Aussies. England might sneak a Test, with Adelaide the most likely venue for that.

They have a decent record there and Australia have not been so good recently. It’s a vital toss to win, with the wicket difficult to chase runs on or survive on during days four and five. With virtually no rain around Australia, the likelihood of a draw goes out the window.

England have brought a squad of 16, with plenty of question marks about many of them. Their form since winning the Ashes has been ordinary at best. They did a super job to draw the Test series in India, but performances against Sri Lanka and Pakistan were below par.

Waugh’s not being totally dismissive. He does have some nice things to say about the newer players.

England look a slightly weaker team on paper than last time, but fresh faces might give them hope. James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood look useful pace bowlers who can swing the ball. Anderson has had an interrupted career bowling a full length, giving him a chance. Mahmood is raw but talented and could be a trump card.

Panesar is worth the gamble for England. He offers more attacking options for Flintoff than Giles (who has never won them a Test match against Australia).

Other positives for England are the growing stature of Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood as batsmen. I’m not convinced they are real dangers against our quality bowlers, but they have racked up some Test runs since we last met.

Game-breakers Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen need to fire. Flintoff will have a big workload, and Pietersen can be expected to cop the short stuff. They won’t have an easy time but should produce entertaining battles in the middle order.

There’s no way Ricky Ponting and Australian coach John Buchanan will allow any complacency to sneak into the camp. After hammering England at Lord’s, Australia might have underestimated England’s ability to bounce back and paid the price.

Like all cricket followers, I’m looking forward to this series and although England beat us last year, Australia will start clear favourites. We’ll bounce back strongly on home soil with a full-strength line-up.

In the same publication, Peter Roebuck, that doughty Somerset batsman-cum multimedia guru, ponders on an England fading into the sunset.

Although England’s batting will be boosted by the return of Alistair Cook and Marcus Trescothick, the bowling was more or less at full strength in India. Matthew Hayden and company will have taken heart from Steve Harmison’s loss of control and the punishment dished out to Sajid Mahmood and James Anderson.

About the only encouraging sign for England’s vast following was the sight of Andrew Flintoff trundling down a few overs in Ahmedabad. Although not at full pace, he was able to maintain his unerring line. Still, it is not easy to recover rhythm after a long break and the Lancastrian might not be much of a threat at the Gabba. Flintoff has a huge heart but his fitness and form with the ball will be followed closely.

Nothing much can be said about Flintoff’s captaincy except that he spoke well at press conferences and did not let it affect his game. He seems to be a straightforward leader. The choice of captain must have been touch and go because both Strauss and Flintoff were capable candidates. In the absence of any compelling reason to demote him, the vice-captain deserved his chance. He is an impressive figure in the game.

Ashley Giles has also been bowling in the nets. Most likely his solidity will be preferred to Monty Panesar’s potency. He ought to have been recuperating at home. England cannot afford to think only about the Ashes. It is important to keep going forwards.

Certainly it will be different in Brisbane. It is another form of cricket played in another country and in front of a large and devoted group of supporters. Moreover, England will have a properly constructed team. Still, it is better to win than to lose.

Well, um, yeah. You can’t argue with that last bit.

Online radio commentary for the Ashes

Adrian emailed with a good suggestion that we draw up a list of online radio stations who will be covering the Ashes. In his words…

How about a thread detailing where we can listen to cricket on-line. I believe
that ABC in Australia broadcast on the internet occasionally.

Naturally, we’ll be following the ball by ball on cricinfo, but it’s always
interesting to listen to other equivalents to TMS, I spent a couple of months
in India and All India radio’s commentary was addictive.

Over to you lot.

Doors to manual…oh shut up Kevin

According to Liam Plunkett, the England team will be seated in alphabetical order on the plane to Australia on Friday. This throws up a delicious image of contrasting characters forced to sit next to eachother – despite their “we’re all best buddies in the team England bubble” rubbish. They can’t all get on, can they?

Plunkett, then, is next to Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar; you couldn’t have three more contrasting cricketers. One is a fitness fanatic; one a fashion floozy and Monty’s in love with cricket of all things. As for the others…

Anderson
Bell
Collingwood
Cook
Flintoff
Giles
Harmison
Hoggard
Jones
Mahmood
Panesar
Pietersen
Plunkett
Read
Strauss
Trescothick

Strauss could have a bit of a task…

(Tangent) What music shall I get?

ACDC rocks my backside off

We spent a while talking about the Ashes today; the hours, the days, the Christmas, the New Year and all that kind of jazz. I’m going to be delighting the masses with my own brand of ball-by-balderdash but, during session-breaks and shift-breaks, I’ll need something to keep me awake during the small hours.

Music. Lately The Black Keys, Wolfmother, the Ramones, Undertones, Buzzcocks and Longpigs have been on a constant loop on my iPod. I need something new. Your suggestions please. It should ideally be loud and rocktastic but I’m open to suggestions.

Disclaimer: I can’t promise I won’t publicly humiliate you if your choice in music makes me laugh.

91.3% of England fans rate Ashes over World Cup

Cricinfo has been running a survey to find out English fans opinion of the Ashes and the World Cup. That the Ashes is the more significant competition in the eyes of the English comes as no surprise, but the actual percentage – 91.3% – is quite amazing.

A survey conducted by Cricinfo has revealed that a massive 91.3% of English respondents would prefer their country to retain the Ashes than win the World Cup. Only 8.4% believed that the World Cup, which takes place in the Caribbean in March and April next year, was the more significant tournament.

For all their excitement about the Ashes, however, the respondents to the survey were a pretty pessimistic bunch. Only 28.6% believed that England would win the series outright, compared to 47.3% backing Australia to reclaim their crown. But, and it’s a big but, 24.1% favour the draw (something that hasn’t happened in an Ashes series since 1972) and that would be enough for England.

More at Cricinfo.