Ricky Ponting's assertion that it was "absolutely possible" for Australia to win the Ashes really got the blood pumping. Here are some other rabble-rousing speeches from down the years.

Queensland v MCC, 1902
On their 1902 tour of Australia, MCC came up against Queensland early on. The state's opening bowlers, Bert Dirtshovel and Mick Bricknails, had fearsome reputations, and the MCC's captain and opening batsman, RGB Lightlyweather, acknowledged this when addressing his team before the match.

"We'll take their blows. We'll bruise and we'll bleed but we will not be cowed. We'll feel the pain and it will spur us on. With our grit and resilience, we'll wear them down. Let them do their worst. Let them rain their blows down upon us. We'll snuff out their fire with stout-hearted bravery and intolerance of pain. Then, when their chests are heaving and their muscles are shot, we'll strike. We'll strike without mercy and we'll rub their faces in the dirt."

By all accounts, the team were inspired by this and cheered as one, determined to do their damnedest in pursuit of victory, at which point Lightlyweather added: "Oh and I'll be batting at 8 today, if that's all right with everyone."

Kathiawar v Bombay, 1948
Kathiawar had endured a dire season, losing every match, and confidence was as low as could be. The captain, Vijay Sanyal, tried to inspire his troops before a match that was already meaningless.

"Maybe it's too late for us to be the best, but if that's the case, we can damn well try and be second best. And if second best is beyond us, then in the name of all that is good and true, we'll try to be third best.

"Third best? Well, that might be being a little bit ambitious, so with that in mind, let's make sure we try to be fourth best. Fail at that and still we won't give up. We'll just keep going and we'll try to be fifth best.

"Now, I can't quite remember how many teams there are in this year's competition, but I think we can try for sixth, seventh and eighth best, but after that we might have to start broadening our horizons. If we can't be eighth best, maybe we could try our hand at something else, maybe go into business or something. I'm pretty good with numbers, so I could maybe do the accounts. Has anyone got any skills they could put to good use? Anybody? No? Oh... okay. Maybe we could just, er, I don't know actually. What was that noise just then? Oh yeah, right, the cricket. Best get on with that, I suppose. Good luck, everybody."

Bedfordshire v Cheshire, 1983
Unfortunately for Cheshire, all of their cricket gear was stolen before this match. Not wanting to let the criminals get the better of them, they decided to play anyway. Graham Leftwich inspired his team.

"We may lack batting helmets, but we make up for that in gumption. We may lack thigh pads, but we make up for that in determination. We may lack left-handed batting gloves, but we make up for that in right-handed batting gloves.

"What? We've only got one pair of right-handed batting gloves? Well that's still enough. As long as we've got batting pads and gloves to share we will... Only one pad? Well, er, that's still enough. As long as we've one pad, one pair of gloves and one bat... No bats, you say? Right, we can't play without bats. Pub then, yeah? Who fancies a pint?"

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket. The incidents in this article are fictional (but you knew that already, didn't you?)