x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

At Ashes game, a chance for rebirth

If at the end of this year's series we are talking about similar iconic moments on the pitch rather than scandals off it, then cricket will have taken a step towards recovering its former glories.

Standing at a tiny 14cm, The Ashes urn is not, contrary to what many think, a trophy. However, as a representation of cricket's oldest rivalry, its symbolic significance is difficult to quantify.

In light of the bad publicity that cricket has attracted in the last few months, the start of The Ashes series between England and Australia tomorrow is an opportunity for the game to return to its roots and regain much of its lost pride.

Never mind the corruption charges that have dogged the game in the past year. England and Australia's finest will engage in the latest act of a drama that has provided some of cricket's most cherished moments: Don Bradman's 254 at Lords in 1930. The notorious Bodyline series of 1932-33. Ian Botham's heroics at Headingley in 1981. And who can ever forget Shane Warne's sensational introduction to The Ashes at Old Trafford in 1993?

More recently, a brutal 5-0 whitewash by the Aussies was sandwiched between England's Andrew Flintoff-inspired triumphs of 2005 and 2009. If at the end of this year's series we are talking about similar iconic moments on the pitch rather than scandals off it, then cricket will have taken a step towards recovering its former glories.