Let’s call the Ashes what it is: Fifth vs third in the ICC rankings

Grahame Barrett Roar Rookie

By , Grahame Barrett is a Roar Rookie

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    Two national teams ranked third and fifth in the current ICC Test rankings are to commence a much-vaunted series in Brisbane, hosted by Cricket Australia and promoted in the media as the Ashes.

    The traditional battle between England and their ‘colony’, both with the Queen as their head of state, will fight out five Tests at venues prepared to suit the home team.

    The media will try to attract a vast audience, and consequently advertisers.

    The lead-up to the first Test is being filled with speculation on who should be Australia’s No.6 and wicketkeeper and, yes, even the outcome.

    Match-ups between players, teams or even coaches will be examined in depth. Fan interest will be hyped as each media outlet wants them to return to their channel or publication for post-game reporting and analysis, seeking to create a loyal audience.

    Viewers can be choosy, they can flick channels or apps or – even worse – switch them off and realise there are other things happening. To try to overcome this, the favoured Network seems to feel obligated to include former players and coaches on their broadcast crews, regardless of whether they can ask intelligent questions. Often they seem to be more intent on entertaining than informing.

    We are becoming used to well-dressed commentators with straight ties and constant smiles explain all – and I emphasise all – the ins and outs of the game, but most importantly the pitch.

    The pitch will be poked, prodded, unlocked, walked on, viewed from drones by ‘expert eyes’ and continually revisited. How many times will it be compared to past pitches, both in Brisbane and of course the WACA?

    The umpire’s decisions will be questioned, referred to dubious video options, especially replays and close-up shots that are assumed to be superior to actually watching the game in person.

    The fact that both national teams have struggled away from home in recent years will not really be mentioned – all will be forgotten in the media blitz and the fact that Australia are the fifth-ranked side in the world of ten teams will be blown away in the wind from the southern end as the first ball is bowled.

    The advertising signs will continually roll in the background as the lines between news, entertainment and culture become less distinct.

    Whether you retire to the lounge, turn down the sound, or venture to the ground to join the Mexican waves and the roar of the crowd, when the flames die down and the embers are dimmed, the Ashes will be cold and new ICC Rankings will begin.

    The Ashes are here! After all the build-up, follow all the first Test action between Australia and England with our Ashes live scores and blog.