Never feel sorry for an Australian cricketer

Only a fool would write off the Australians in the upcoming Ashes series. Their work is cut out but a new coach, a decent record and a sunny forecast should make for a good opening contest.

Trent Bridge, Nottingham – John Arlott, the legendary English commentator, took a realistic view of cricket based on a very long learning curve. “Never,” Arlott said seriously, “feel sorry for an Australian cricketer”. He was talking about players in Australian teams that toured in England after World War Two who expected to win and did so much more often than not. The playwright Harold Pinter described the awe with which the English viewed their opponents as they prepared to take the field: “arrogant, jocular, muscular, larking down the pavilion steps, eight feet tall”.

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