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John Stern: Cricket must beware Ashes hype

July 7th, 2009 by John Stern in Australia, England, The Ashes, The media

I was asked yesterday what I thought was the legacy of the 2005 Ashes. After a long and earnest discussion about grass-roots investment and increased participation, it occurred to that the real legacy of ’05 is hyperbole.

Ashes 2005 raised the bar in terms of excitement and hype, the result being that – at least in the eyes of the broader UK news media – all other cricket played by England pales by comparison.

“It can only be an Ashes summer” has been Sky Sports’ message on all their various adverts to promote the series. The unintended subtext of that message is that everything else is second-rate compared to the Ashes.

England’s frustratingly fruitless quest for global success drowns in Ashes hype. Attempts to build long-term strategies are stalled by the biennial panic about the urn.

I say biennial but in media and business terms it’s only the ‘home’ Ashes that seems to count. The Aussies are rightly miffed that the 2006-07 series seems to have been airbrushed from history.

In a TV-driven, corporate age, the Ashes has become just another notch on the A-list of sporting events that this great nation of spectators wants to obsess over.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as up for the Ashes as the next man but just that there’s plenty of other great cricket around (remember the World T20 anyone?).

It’s just that the Ashes hypometer has been turned up so high, the rest of the game’s attractions are made to look unappealing. I don’t see how that can be in the game’s best long-term interests.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in Australia, England, The Ashes, The media |

One Response to “John Stern: Cricket must beware Ashes hype”

  1.   Lou says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It has all become so overblown as to make the English cricket establishment, media and fans look like a bunch of hysterical kids. Can’t we leave that to footie? Very unappealing.

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