August 24, 2009

Ashes

Strauss must focus on the future

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Andrew Strauss holds the Ashes aloft, England v Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, 4th day, August 23, 2009
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England were deserved winners of the Ashes and will come in for plenty of praise, but instead of resting on their laurels they must target further improvement, writes Angus Fraser in the Independent.

As a result of England's triumph, there will be millions of people and hundreds of companies who will be prepared to pay a significant sum of money to hear how the pair and their players planned and executed a remarkable, unexpected yet thoroughly-deserved triumph. For the players who have taken part in the series there is the potential to cash in. For Strauss and Flower, the management of this situation potentially provides an even bigger challenge than defeating Ricky Ponting's side in the first place.

In the Daily Telegraph, Michael Henderson writes that Strauss should celebrate his own Waterloo because he had more to do with the outcome than anybody else.

Nasser Hussain says in the Daily Mail that Andrew Strauss's bond with coach Andy Flower was one of reasons for the success. In the same paper, Martin Samuel says England fans were a worried lot till Flintoff threw down the stumps to dismiss Ponting.

This Ashes will be remembered as Strauss's Ashes to sit alongside those of Botham and Flintoff, writes Mike Selvey in the Guardian.

If Michael Vaughan and his band of Ashes heroes were awarded MBEs after the 2005 series, then Andrew Strauss should be knighted after Sunday's monumental victory, writes Justin Langer in BBC.

Simon Barnes writes in the Times on a similar theme - how “in what way are we going to make a mess of this?” was the overwhelming feeling at the ground despite England starting the day in a dominant position.

Ricky Ponting may have lost the Ashes for the second time, but the captaincy is his for as long as he deigns it, says Gideon Haigh in the Times.

For Ponting the individual, the series will also have been formative. One suspects that, as it did Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist in 2005, defeat will probably prolong his career. It was surprising to hear Ponting speak so emphatically about his desire to play on, without obfuscating or pleading for time to reflect, into the Ashes of 2010-11, and perhaps even farther. To make such a statement so unequivocally in the shadow of defeat bespeaks considerable determination.

In the Sydney Morning Herald Peter Roebuck believes despite the Ashes loss, it is unlikely Ricky Ponting will be evicted or that he will step aside as captain.

While the first Ashes Ponting lost was purely because of England's talent, this time around Australia's mediocrity has a large role to play, says Paul Hayward in the Guardian.

An Ashes victory is a great way to exit Tests, and Flintoff capped his last day with the crucial run-out of Ponting. Vic Marks remarks in the same paper how Flintoff's contribution was typically crucial and flamboyant.

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