This current England team are confident of where they are heading – victory over India at Edgbaston would confirm world number one status – but also refuse to forget where they came from.
On the eve of this current npower series, a couple of philanthropic gestures from members of the dressing room highlighted an acknowledgement of those that helped on the way up.
Spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed, whose playing career was revived during six years as an overseas player with Sussex, handed a £5,000 personal cheque to the county’s Young Cricketers while James Anderson and Chris Tremlett gave up their time to be involved in a Q and A at a London dinner that raised £25,000 to be split between Barnardo’s and Anderson’s cash-strapped Lancashire League club Burnley.
Anderson’s best mate David Brown, now at Glamorgan, his brother Michael Brown, who retired from first-class cricket in July, and Derbyshire all-rounder Jonathan Clare all emerged from the other Turf Moor, and are intent on doing their bit to protect its future.
Tim Bresnan, meanwhile, is on the verge of a significant personal record, having won all eight of the Tests he has appeared in to date.
The Yorkshire all-rounder’s sequence matches the entrance Andrew Strauss made in 2004 when seven straight home wins that summer were followed by victory in the opening match of the 2-1 away win in South Africa.
No England player has ever begun a Test career with nine consecutive victories, although if Bresnan manages it there is still some way to go to catch Adam Gilchrist, who experienced 15 in a row with Australia.
Jade Dernbach made a strong enough impression in his first international series with England against Sri Lanka to seal a deal with an Australian franchise in the forthcoming Big Bash League.
The 25-year-old Surrey paceman has been on the radar of more than one of the eight city teams and is expected to join either Luke Wright at Melbourne Stars or Michael Lumb at Sydney Sixers for the new-look competition.
Meanwhile, Adil Rashid, a winner with South Australia earlier this year, still interests Adelaide Strikers, whose overseas acquisitions have been complicated by Kieron Pollard’s scheduled departure to participate in the Caribbean domestic Twenty20 midway through the league.
Pollard’s Somerset team-mate Alfonso Thomas is being considered as a stand-in while Adelaide’s second permitted slot remains unfilled.
Cheery evidence that the English bowling coach should not be filed alongside the woolly mammoth or red hairy-tailed bat: check out the job Graeme Welch has done with Warwickshire this year.
Welch, one of the game’s great enthusiasts and whose chat-over-a-pint ethos is not dissimilar to that of England’s current bowling coach David Saker, has been Ashley Giles’s best signing as the club’s director of cricket.
‘Pop’ deserves recognition for the significant improvements in seamers Rikki Clarke and Boyd Rankin – both had already recorded career-best season hauls in first-class cricket by the first week of August, of 36 and 43 wickets respectively – while Keith Barker has emerged as a surprise new-ball operator in the County Championship team.
Ashes series habitually transcend regular cricket crowds and one of the most famous of them all – the 1932-33 Bodyline affair – will be re-enacted on the stage, on Harold Larwood’s doorstep, next month.
The Ashes, written by local playwright Michael Pinchbeck, charts fast bowler Larwood’s plucking from a Nottinghamshire coalmine to become the scourge of the Australians under Douglas Jardine’s ruthless captaincy. It runs at the Nottingham Playhouse theatre from September 2 to 17.
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