Rethinking Ashes Tradition: Abolishing 'Retaining' Debate
Challenging cricketing norms: Reevaluating the concept of 'retaining' the Ashes after drawn series sparks controversy
- Prominent cricket writer calls for abolishing "retaining" the Ashes tradition.
- Concept of drawn series favoring holder sparks cricketing debate.
- Joe Root suggests playing Test matches into the night.
- Brad Hogg proposes reserve days for rain-affected Test matches.
Gideon Haigh, a prominent cricket writer, has called for the abolition of the concept of "retaining" the Ashes, sparking a contentious debate in the cricketing world. He argues that the tradition of awarding the Ashes to the existing holder after a drawn series should be reconsidered.
Prominent cricket writer Gideon Haigh has sparked a heated debate by calling for the abolition of the concept of "retaining" the Ashes, a cornerstone of one of cricket's most prestigious rivalries. Speaking on News Corp's Cricket Et Cetera podcast with The Australian's Peter Lalor, Haigh argued that the notion of retaining the Ashes is merely a convention and not codified or legislated. He proposed that a drawn series should not automatically give an implied victory to the existing holder of the urn.
Haigh contended that the current arrangements incentivize negative cricket, as the team holding the Ashes often only needs to draw matches to retain the urn. This scenario arises when Australia heads to the Oval for the final Test, with the possibility of winning the series outright by merely drawing the match, creating a potential incitement to play defensively.
Co-host Peter Lalor disagreed with Haigh's stance, asserting that a team should be beaten outright to lose possession of the Ashes. Nevertheless, Haigh maintained that the origins of the convention are unclear, and much of what fans take for granted in the Ashes series is based on nebulous ideas of tradition rather than explicit rules.
Haigh further explored his thoughts in his column for The Australian, describing the concept of retaining the Ashes as a "convention of mysterious provenance" and questioning whether it is fair, given the considerable advantage it confers to the holding team even before the series commences.
Meanwhile, after the fourth Test at Old Trafford, other cricketing figures also called for changes. England batter Joe Root suggested playing into the night until the allotted overs were bowled to avoid slow over-rates. However, the idea faced opposition from cricket authorities, citing logistical challenges and additional costs.
Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg proposed having reserve days for Test matches affected by rain to ensure both teams have an equal chance of winning the series. However, this suggestion was also rejected by cricketing bodies due to the considerable financial and logistical implications.
The discussion surrounding the concept of retaining the Ashes and potential changes to Test match scheduling highlights the passion and complexity of cricket traditions. While there is merit in reevaluating conventions to ensure fairness and excitement in the game, any alterations must consider the challenges and limitations posed by the cricket calendar and player welfare. As the debate continues, cricket authorities and fans will need to strike a balance between tradition and progress to maintain the spirit of the Ashes rivalry while adapting to the changing landscape of the sport.
Prominent cricket journalist Gideon Haigh's proposal to abolish the tradition of "retaining" the Ashes after a drawn series has ignited a heated discussion. Haigh contends that the convention incentivises negative cricket and raises questions about its fairness and origins.