It’s the eve of the Ashes, England have won the last two series, and are odds on favourites to claim the coming series.
There is just something not quite right about it.
Most of English cricket fans grew us on a steady diet of scratching series victories against the second tier test nations interspersed with regular demoralising thrashings by first the West Indies and then Australia.
The last 12 months has been one of unprecedented success for British sport. The Union Jack has been firmly planted at the summit of the Tour de France, Olympic success, and days before the Ashes, the Lions romped to victory of the final test, and Andy Murray put to bed the most enduring of British sporting jinxes—no male singles champion at Wimbledon for 77 years.
Before the rest of the nation's sport persons caught up, the England cricket team was trailblazing its way to the summit of the Test rankings. Now as the populace bask in the glow of almost every trophy going, the boys in white find themselves in the most unlikely of situations. They are odds on favorites to beat Australia with the chance to beat them twice.
Yet, the Ashes are a unique event. The nature of the rivalry between the sports obsessed countries, the enduring and ever increasing iconography, from the burning of the bails to Graeme Swann’s sprinkler dance.
So here we are, on the cusp of the back-to-back Ashes series, with England as favourites. And there is something uneasy in the back of our minds.
There is a lingering feeling, beyond the banter and bravado and predictions of whitewashes, even in the midst of this new found success of both team and country, that we might blow it.
This group have the chance to firmly put themselves into that ever increasing group of modern British sporting greats. I just hope they are more confident then the fans.
There is a certain level of masochism that comes with being an England cricket fan. A comfort blanket in defeat we have yet to really shake. Then again, if the cricket team refuses to provide our fix we can still rely on the national football team.
Come on England!
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