11 random observations on the Ashes series and coverage so far

Whilst staying up too late and watching the horror show that has been the Ashes, a young man’s mind turns, due to red wine, lack of sleep and comfort food, to weird things. Here’s my XI casual and random observations so far. Much like our team, they are a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  1. Is it just me, or is Nasser Hussein slowly morphing into Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons?
  2. If you thought the Channel 9 commentary booth was a bit of a closed shop, the Sky box is a private cubby house with a special password for ex-English captains.
  3. During the rain delays, the Sky batting and bowling classes with KP and Warne have been brilliant. They are captivating TV, great use of video, with a smart host who doesn’t try to dominate proceedings. As well as incredibly informative, they are a massive improvement on the summer instalements of Mark Nicholas lunch break classes with Brett Lee trying to knock over Billy Brownless.
  4. In 14 Tests since we kicked off against South Africa late last year, Australia has had 7 players bat at number 3, (including Clarke in the first innings of the Second Test in India who lasted one ball). The average score for that position across the 26 innings played is 22.8, including 6 ducks, 4 half centuries and no centuries. In the same time, our number 11 batsmen have contributed (albeit slightly skewed due to a 98 from Agar and several not outs) an average of 30.6. That includes only 2 ducks and 3 0 not outs.
  5. Isn’t Ian Chappell looking more and more like the grumpy grandfather you want to avoid at Christmas lunch.
  6. Is the saddest sight in cricket an umpire giving a player out, who has already left the field, in response to a review from a fielding side, who has also already walked off.
  7. In golf, a major achievement is shooting your age. Khawaja’s major achievement looks like getting his Test batting average as high as his age (currently 25.13 vs. 26.65)
  8. In the Bank ad where the kid eventually knocks the single stump out of the ground, is the old bloke with the dog who applauds him one of Australia’s finest all-rounders, left-armer Alan Davidson?
  9. Why are the good South African players who can’t get a game at home moving to England and filling half their team, instead of moving here?
  10. Doesn’t it grate just a bit getting batting advice, captaincy tips and Ashes commentary from Atherton and Hussein?
  11. England could drop Bairstow for the Fifth Test, bat and field with 10 and probably still win.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Basso Divor says

    Thanks Sean. A further observation if I may – I was watching The Ashes on Fox last night and noticed a commercial being regularly played in between overs. I was under the impression that Pay TV charged subscribers a fee to cover the loss of income usually generated by advertising; which is exactly how the free-to-air stations make their money.
    When did the ad’s on Pay TV start happening?

  2. Sean

    It isn’t just you. Warney and other commentators drew the Nasser/Montgomery Burns comparison a couple of Tests ago, and even put up a picture of the Simpsons boss next to Nasser to emphasise the point.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    As with footy, I turn the TV volume down and turn the radio up. Agers, Boycott, Blowfield. Brilliant. Not sure who was commentating with Boycott the other night, but he gave a plug to a program or night Yorkshire’s favourite son will be involved in soon. ‘So, you will be involved in A Night with Cricket Legends with Alec Stewart and …..and so on,’ or something like that. To which Boycott replied, ‘To be honest, when they said ‘Legends’, I thought I’d be appearing on my own.’ Gold.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    The Poms’ condescending attitude cuts so deep. They do love their revenge.

  5. daniel flesch says

    Basso Divor , i think ads on pay tv started a good while ago. From memory , only the first 2 years of its existence in Australia were ad-free , thanks to an edict from P.J. Keating , P.M. at the time. It’s not just the frequency of the ads that’s annoying , it’s also the irritating fact they’re all so bad …And my random observation on the Ashes :
    England won the toss in the three Tests they ended up winning. In the one Test Australia won the toss the weather prevented an almost certain Australian victory. Coincidence , or evidence winning the toss is critical to the outcome ?

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    The Sky box is very much a closed shop. But I’d really love to go to one of their parties, such as the one held at Beefy’s on the night of Day 2.

  7. Leave off on Billy Brownless. He is batting at #3 next Test. Brett Lee was just giving him a net.
    The South Africans are all worried they will end up on Manus Island if they don’t make the First XI.

  8. Neil Belford says

    An observation that my brother sent me earlier –

    Here’s a quick note regarding the test team.
    Marcus North was a man who’s spot was constantly under pressure from fans and selectors. He played 21 tests and scored five centuries.

    COMBINED, Steven Smith, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja and David Warner have played 86 tests for a total of 5 centuries. He also took more wickets than Warner and Steven Smith combined.

  9. Thanks for bringing to my attention that it is in fact the great Alan Davidson in the Comm Bank ad. I did a bit of a search and apparently Davo worked as a teller for them from about 1947-1974, so obviously through his whole test career. He looks ok for 84

  10. Ouch MOC, the Hussein/Burns comparison must have been after my bedtime. (I thought I was so clever making that up inside my own head.)


  11. Peter Schumacher says

    Alan Davidson’s name brings back really happy memories, a, because he was such a great all rounder and b, because I used to listen to the cricket of that time and age with my dad.

  12. Observation regarding the toss.

    I always thought it would be fairer if the first test involved a toss and then they just alternated for subsequent tests. That is, the captain who loses the toss in the first test gets to select whether to bat or bowl in the second test and so on. Just a thought.



  13. Across a large sample of Tests the stats say that winning or losing the toss doesn’t matter. Close to 50:50 after discounting draws.
    The home advantage is significant though – about 60:40.

  14. Neil Belford says

    Thanks for that Peter – I have long wondered about all that carry on. In any event once we start with the losing the toss stuff we are on the road to denial. Our problem is pretty straightforward, we don’t have a batting list, we have got Clarke and some other guys who come in before the bowlers.

  15. Peter – I don’t want Pommy groundsmen preparing a pitch knowing who will be batting first!

  16. The South Africans are able to play for England because they have English parentage. Still irks me though that a player can play U19 cricket for South Africa (as Trott and Pietersen did) and then play for England because it’s a bit more convenient, or in KP’s case because he reckoned that the quota system wasn’t allowing him a fair go. I’d love it we were able to get a trumpeter in to the Aus tests to play NKosi Sikekel Iafrika when Trott or KP are batting.

  17. Sean

    It’s still a good get!

    But I’m tipping Burns would have been a much better English captain than Nasser. Ruthless, in a Jardine kind of way.

    Still chuckle at the Herald Sun’s greatest sporting headline: NASSER INSANE, after he put us in on a Brisbane belter.

  18. Marcus North should move to NSW, sure to get picked then.

  19. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Some Great observations Sean the Number 3 spot has been a farce Khawaja should not have been dropped in the 1st Place likewise Hughes under the recent selection policy 3 of our greats in Simpson Benaud and I Chappell wouldn’t have received the chances to eventually blossom in too super stars let alone also to develop in too Great Captains well Benaud and Chappell at least
    Thank you re Allan Davidson in that add I had watched the add and thought gee he looks Like Davo and dismissed it at that
    I must admit I am a biased South Aussie Ian Chappell was and remains my Hero and I love his forthright and honest opinions
    On the South African point I will bag the crap out of Trott and KP but would adopt them in a second to play for us wonder if Kepler Wessels could be used to recruit South Africans ?
    Thanks Sean enjoyed your article

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