A new film about cricket, How to Win the Ashes, has been released in the UK and premiered on the BBC on 7 June. It contains many interesting stories about the legendary confrontation between the teams of England and Australia. Some of them are in material that is intended to arouse interest in the film.
How Australia Sang Victory Songs in the England Dressing Room
The Australian team, which in 2005 defeated the British on their soil, was one of the strongest in the history of cricket. There was an incredible collection of world class stars like Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath.
At the time of Australia’s arrival for the test match with England, the English had not won The Ashes for 18 long years (since 1987), losing to Australia eight times in a row. But at that moment, it seemed that England had a chance, even taking into account the high level of the opponent’s game.
Alas, for England, these hopes turned out to be completely inappropriate: the England team was defeated by a rival. The Australians felt like the owners so much that at some point they moved their celebrations to the opponent’s locker room. Adam Gilchrist explained this decision by saying that the Australians had so many celebrations at the time that they just wanted to celebrate the victory in an original way. Therefore, they went to sing songs in the England locker room when the opponent left it.
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How Andy Flintoff Almost Lost His England Cap
Those Aussie celebrations pissed off the English, and they still managed to get their revenge and bring back the Ashes in what is considered to be one of the most entertaining matches in the history of the series.
Interest in the game was so great that the captain of the England cricket team, Andy Flintoff, temporarily overshadowed all football stars with his popularity. “I realized how important this was the moment my aunt started talking about Flintoff,” journalist Greg James recalled those times.
Flintoff was recognized everywhere, everyone wanted to get some kind of courtesy from him – even the policewoman who guarded the players during the celebration. She asked Andy to hold his hat, to which he replied: “Sorry, but this is my England cap,” the English captain replied politely.
Terrible set-up for the England game
In 2013, England again slipped into defeat and needed some kind of breakthrough after two defeats in a row against the Australians.
Coach Andy Flower decided to assemble a team and give a fiery speech that could raise team spirit and help finally win. But before the third game of the series in Melbourne, it absolutely did not work.
Here’s what Flower said: “Let’s each say what he thinks.” After these words, silence reigned in the dressing room, and the mood of the players became even worse than it was. The motivational trick did not work – the team did not believe in themselves and was not ready for revenge.
Steve Smith gets a concussion
Steve Smith spoke in the film about his memorable experience playing the Ashes in 2019 when he suffered a concussion after being hit in the neck by a ball.
In that game, Smith suffered from the very beginning – he was hit with a nasty blow to the arm before the ball flew to his neck, and he was forced to leave the field for a while. Nevertheless, Smith still decided to return to the game, despite the recommendations of doctors to remain on the bench. But in the second inning of England, he still had to leave the field for good. Later, the athlete was diagnosed with a concussion.
This case shows just how tough the Ashes can be and how willing the players are to do whatever it takes to win.
Stokes’ greatest game he’d trade for a win at the Ashes
Another testament to the importance of the Ashes to cricketers comes from the words of Ben Stokes. The versatile player was able to single-handedly secure England’s win with an absolutely fantastic performance at Headingley in 2019 when England were on the brink of defeat but Stokes led them to a glorious victory.
That game established Stokes as a national icon, but he said in a post-match interview that he would gladly trade all of his accomplishments for one victory in the Ashes series.
The film How to Win the Ashes is definitely recommended for viewing by all fans of cricket – it is able to convey the unique atmosphere of the game and the most principled confrontation, which has become the “Bible” of cricket for many years.
Cricket Content Writer at Cricfacts.com. A seasoned sports journalist who is working in the industry for more than two decades. He is now on facebook also.