The Australians began their Ashes summer very quietly a few weeks ago, when they slipped into England as if they were a pack of smugglers in the kangaroo meat trade. The stealth cover has only increased after their spectacular exit from the Twenty20 World Cup (where the hell is Leicester anyway, and why are the Australians practising there), but I have to ask: should anyone care about the 2009 Ashes?
The query comes because a few observers have noted of late how muted the whole thing seems. Take Justin Langer, who contrasted this year with the 2005 atmosphere:
“I suppose my recollection of last time is especially vivid, because I arrived on the day of the London bombings,” Langer told Cricinfo. “I got into Heathrow at 7am, and within a few hours the bombs had gone off. It was an eerie feeling. The entire city felt like a ghost town. But well before that, the guys who arrived for the one-dayers (which preceded the Tests), said it was fever pitch from the moment they stepped off the plane. I’m not quite sure what the reasons are, but this time it seems much more low-key.”