Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Ashes schedule before World Cup is a problem

The Ashes have always hindered England's World Cup preparations, but that is the trophy they really care about.

As the utterances of the master of dispassionate moderation go, this was pretty severe.

"The scheduling is not good," Andrew Strauss said, in the blankest terms he could manage after England's World Cup surrender.

After a winter of innumerable interviews, perhaps he had run out of synonyms for the word bad.

Strauss was referring to the fact England have, until now, followed an away Ashes tour by playing the World Cup.

Essentially, that means they have always had to follow the one competition they really care about with the one they are supposed to care about.

"It is the highest intensity Test cricket an English cricketer can face," Strauss said of playing in Australia.

Hence their achievement of winning the urn there is the one thing that will endure from this winter, not their failure to scratch the surface at the World Cup yet again.

Happily for all concerned, the cycle is changing next time around, with the Ashes to be brought forward to ease the World Cup strain.

Both England and Australia made quarter-final exits. When Australia were in their pomp, an Ashes series was the perfect build-up.

A winter of middle practice against glorified net bowlers was the ideal preparation. Now that they are mortal again, they can do without it.

Even in these relative times of plenty for England, it has been too much. They won the Ashes in Australia at a canter, but the encounter remains the only regular series of five Test matches there is on the international calendar.

As such, it can't be rushed. The players have been on the road for too long.

The World Cup is no country for old men. Nor is it a place for jaded cricketers.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Al Fayah Park will be located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street opposite the Dome@Rawdhat. Courtesy Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation

In pictures: Abu Dhabi’s new Al Fayah Park

The plans for the new 125,000 square metre Al Fayah – which means 'shade' in Arabic – Park were unveiled on Tuesday at Cityscape Abu Dhabi.

 Faqar, a Baluchi labourer, is illuminated by the dappled light filtering through the palm leave canopy of the garden he is irrigating via an age old Falaj system, or water channels, used to irrigate the palm gardens of Al Ain. Antonie Robertson / The National

Focal Point: Immersed in an Al Ain oasis

Photographer Antonie Robertson immerses us in an Al Ain oasis

 Manager Jose Mourinho of Chelsea looks on from the dug out during the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. Paul Gilham / Getty Images / April 22, 2014

‘Now the game of our lives is at Stamford Bridge’ says Mourinho after Chelsea, Atletico draw

After Tuesday's scoreless draw, Jose Mourinho revealed Petr Cech's season was over and John Terry was also done unless they could reach the Champions League final.

 From left, Mansoor Nabil Abdul Ghafar, Mohammed Al Tamimi and Marwan Nabil Abdul Ghafar, three co-owners of Code CrossFit, Abu Dhabi's first CrossFit gym. Ann Marie McQueen / The National / April 2014

Abu Dhabi gets its first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit, thanks to four Emirati friends

Four Emirati friends have joined forces to open Abu Dhabi's first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit.

 Former Manchester United manager David Moyes, right, speaks to Manchester United's Welsh midfielder Ryan Giggs during a training session at the team's Carrington training complex in Manchester, north-west England on April 22, 2014. Andrew Yates / AFP

Giggs a better fit for Manchester United than Moyes

The winger, who has played 962 games for the club, has been placed in interim charge of the first team and will be assisted by his former Manchester United teammate Nicky Butt.

 One of the 21 duplex penthouses located in the curved sky-bridge at Gate Towers, spanning approximately 300 metres across three towers. Courtesy Aldar

Gate Towers Penthouse Collection on Reem Island launched by Aldar

The 21 duplex penthouses, which are located in the curved sky-bridge and feature private indoor pools and views of the city, were launched at Cityscape Abu Dhabi.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National