"The England boys richly deserve their MBEs and OBEs and I was delighted when I heard on the TV I was going to get my own Sun gong!"
- attributed to Gary Pratt, The Sun, 30.12.05
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I think it's fabulous how the Blair Government has opened up the honours lists to people who would never have been contemplated in stuffier times. But I think they're going a bit overboard in rewarding national sporting victories. A dangerous precedent was set when England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup, and now we have the 2005 Ashes squad all getting gongs.
As the Trescothick Era of English Cricket dawns in Multan today, it's worth noting that the Guardian have published a book of their infamous OBO (over-by-over) logs of the 2
Three items about cricket on America's NPR (National Public Radio) over the past couple of weeks.
ANDREW DENTON: What are you going to do with the rest of your life?
MARK LATHAM: Well I'm very happy being a home dad and the arrangements we've got at home are fantastic so why change a winning formula?
ANDREW DENTON: When the boys are 16, 17, 18, when they're getting out of the house, what are you going to do?
MARK LATHAM: I'll be carrying their cricket bags...
[studio audience] LAUGHTER
MARK LATHAM: ...As they play for Australia and try and reclaim the Ashes.
The Guardian's online over-by-over coverage of the final day of the Fifth Test has come top of website editor Emily Bell's Guardian.co.uk Top 5 for this week. Among the edited highlights reproduced from that tumultuous day was my remark about Kevin Pietersen and the dead raccoon under his helmet.
Yes it's always good to have an historic sporting triumph to keep civil unrest off the front pages...
Congratulations to you and the whole team on your fantastic series win.
It's been sport at its very best, played in a wonderful spirit between two exceptional sides, and has gripped the whole country.
With so many people following this extraordinary series ball by ball, I'm not sure our economy could stand many more days like today - or our nerves any more excitement.
Ah yes, sport and politics can be such a hilarious mix sometimes.
Here's an extract from the hansard from the House of Reps session in Canberra earlier this evening. By way of background, the Dramatis Personae of this vignette are as follows:
Warmest congratulations to you, the England team and all in the squad for the magnificent achievement of regaining the Ashes. This has been a truly memorable series and both sides can take credit for giving us all such a wonderfully exciting and entertaining summer of cricket at its best.
- The Queen of Australia, among other countries, displays her partisanship in a congratulatory message to Michael Vaughan
I have just witnessed what can only be described as Test cricket's equivalent of the lowering of the Olympic flag, folding it up and carrying it away. After players left the field for bad light with Australia requiring 337 to win from 18.2 overs, umpires Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden returned to the field, marched down the pitch, turned around, looked at the sky, looked at each other, marched down to each wicket and lifted the bails.