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Monty in flight

War of the Words during the Ashes Cricket Series

Monty in flight
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"War of the Words during the Ashes Cricket Series"
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Top Ashes Cricket Quotes

The preparations for the Ashes series between England and Australia do not begin with the net practice sessions on the cricket grounds with pads and helmets. It starts with verbal warfare among the cricketers of both countries across two continents.

The weapons of choice here are not willow bats or whizzing balls but there are plenty of verbal bouncers, wily yorkers and scathing googlies aimed to demoralize and ridicule the opponent. The battleground can be print media, electronic media, twitter feeds or the best cricketing websites on the Internet.

The participants in this verbal combat are the retired cricketers, the current cricketers, the sports commentators, blog writers and anyone else under the sun that holds an opinion on all matters cricket.

The pre-Ashes cricket banter has become almost as traditional and historical as the Ashes series itself. Rival combatants have plenty to say to each other and about each other and some of their words have become legend.

Let us look at some of the classic cricket quotes that the fierce rivalry between England and Australia cricket teams has served up as an appetizer to the ashes series:

#1: "In Affectionate Remembrance of English Cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August 1882, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances / R.I.P. / N.B. - The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia."

In September 1882, Charles Alcock, the editor of Cricket: A Weekly Record of The Game, produced the first mock-obituary in the wake of the first Australian victory over England at the Oval Cricket Ground. This satirical piece in fact started the quest for the Ashes which sees the cricket teams pit against each other for supremacy every two years.

#2: "I've not travelled 6,000 miles to make friends. I'm here to win the Ashes."
 England's captain Douglas Jardine made his intentions clear in 1932-33 when his team traveled to Australia in a bid to regain the Ashes.

#3: "England has only three major problems. They can't bat, they can't bowl and they can't field." British sportswriter Martin Johnson's gave an acerbic assessment of his own team in 'The Independent' at the start of England's tour of Australia 1986-7. Ironically England won that Ashes series.

#4: "Don't bother shutting it, son, you won't be there long enough." – British fast bowler Fred Truman attempts to rattle the nerves of the incoming Australian batsman as he opened the gate on his way out to the middle at the Lord's.

Sledging is part and parcel of all the great Ashes series and it happens frequently on the ground as well as off it. The heavily mustached Merv Hughes of Australia was as famous for his opprobrious comments to the English batsmen as he was for his ferocious bowling.

#5 and 6: "It's four years since I bowled to you and you haven't improved" - Merv Hughes taunted Robin Smith only to have it backfired as the batsmen hit him for a boundary. "Neither have you" was Smith’s succinct response.

#7: "The aim of English cricket is, in fact, mainly to beat Australia."
British off spinner Jim Laker sums up the reason for the existence of English Cricket team in one sentence.

#8: "Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, if Thomson doesn’t get ya, Lillee must."
This poem published in Australian newspapers during Australians' 1975 tour to England warns the England batting line-up of the double threat that was Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson.

And now for some mudslinging prior to the current 2010/11 Ashes series:

“Overall our attack is better and that's where games are won." Former Australian bowler Dennis Lillee predicts an Australian win.

"I think Dennis Lillee has lost it. He's talking absolute nonsense. He must be drinking that Bundaberg rum or something.” Former English batman Allan Lamb rubbished Lillee’s assessment and predicts that England will win.


More about this author: Gulrukh Tausif

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