Another Christmas, another Ashes series and
yet another Phil Tufnell DVD. Here, Phil, with an
old twist to an old theme, trades on his loveable
rogue image to string together another series of
cricket clips, linked with toe-curling one-liners
and limp explanation from the ex-king of the
This seems little different to Tufnell's efforts
last year, except he wanders round quirky
locations at Lord's and The Oval as opposed to
quirky locations at Arundel and the Rose Bowl
(increase in budgets, no doubt) introducing
clips of Ashes Geezers (Botham), Gaffes (England
in 1989) and Greats (Keith Miller).
In theory, this could make for an interesting
retrospective, and some of the clips are
magnificent - Harold Larwood's bowling action,
Gooch batting at The Oval in 1985 - but you
could watch this footage through goggles filled
with ink and still enjoy them. Cutting them
together with an irritating soundtrack and an
irritating script only diminishes their value.
That said, Tufnell is one of the better things
about the DVD. You know what he's going to
do, how he's going to do it, you can see the
jokes coming and, although it can be painful, he
does it pretty well - he's natural and energetic
but needs a better writer. Throw in some
horrendous editing and an awful "chat" with
TMS commentator Henry Blofeld (he's on radio
for a reason), you'll do well to reach the end.
Simon Lister reviews Botham and Border's Ashes Clashes Sunset and Vine £19.99
This is not an easy time for English people to
view an Ashes DVD. The past seems very similar
to the present. Australian victories, like a Steve
Harmison over, just go on and on.
Our famous guides, Ian Botham and Allan
Border, do their best, but Shakespearean
narrators they ain't. In between Tests they face
each other across the table and dissect. "And
Australia went on their merry way," says AB
several times. Beefy nods and scratches the
side of his nose in preparation for remembering
But what they describe is magnificent
- lots and lots of great cricket. They begin on
Illingworth's 70-71 tour and the clips just keep
rolling. John Snow getting menaced by the
world's oldest hooligan. Lillee and Thomson;
Tony Greig hitting, then signalling, a four. Colin
Cowdrey, aged 42, with no need for a chest
protector, getting one on the elbow.
There are little moments of beauty too.
Those Gower cover drives. How could a
man stand so still when the ball was about
to be delivered? And on disc two, enjoy
the wicketkeeping of Ian Healy below, the
best Australia has had. Speaking of brilliant
Australians, there's nothing like a Benaud bon
mot. Bill Lawry, on the other hand, with 30 years
in the comm box on his CV, may never know
whether a swipe to the boundary will become
a four or a six.
If you're English, the fast forward button may be useful on disc two. A decade-and-a-half of Australian skill and English ineptitude. If only we'd known in 1989, when disc one shows Kim Barnett getting slogged to all parts by Merv Hughes, that - 2005 excepted - Australia would
just keep going on their merry way.
Dan Roesler reviews Amazing Adelaide Cricket Australia
This is Australian sporting nirvana. Amazing Adelaide records the critical second Test of the 2006-07 Ashes at the Adelaide Oval, in which the hosts were 15-1 to win on the final morning... and went on to win. Each of the five days' play, plus the post-match celebrations, have been put into one 115-minute highlight reel. The DVD, hosted by Michael Slater and Richie Benaud, is a compilation taken from Channel 9's excellent coverage over the Australian summer.
Features are few; there is no 5.1 stereo available for proper effect. There is only the one menu to navigate, though, and the image is represented well on any HD television or projector. A great gift and not to mention lesson. England should be sat down and made to watch the highlights again and again to learn just why it's important to play the full five days out - and play them with total concentration.
The first two articles were first published in the February issue of The Wisden Cricketer.
Click here for further details.
Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer