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The Ashes, Down under!

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It’s that time again cricketing fans! Time for all us Barmy Army followers to spend 3 months of our lives following the trials and tribulations of our English Lions trying to beat those cocky Aussie Baggy Greens! This year see’s England travel down under to spend the Christmas period battling it out for the rights to be crowned champions. Good to watch, if you’re nocturnal or don’t work, not so good if you have a busy 9 - 6 recruiting career! Made even worse by the fact BT Sports have the rights to Ashes this year! I’m sure all us cricket fans can agree, life won’t be the same without Bumble, Beefy and the Sky crew.

Now, for all you people that think cricket is a boring, mundane sport, I can tell you that the Ashes is like no other sporting competition! Some of you may think “What’s all the fuss over a tiny little trophy?!” however, two of the best cricketing nations in history going head to head for that iconic little urn is the most prestigious thing any cricketer can wish for!

As a young boy, I started playing for my local cricket team in 2005, those of you who follow cricket will realise this was the year of the best Ashes series in recent history! Also the year the might Service Care Solutions was born. Growing up watching that series and the legends of Pietersen, Flintoff, Harmison, Ponting, McGrath and so many more inspired me to start my cricketing career. The series was so unforgettable because of the up and down drama and the outstanding quality of play that occurred, much similar to the day-to-day life of a recruiter. Some days spent smashing deals, some spent losing runners. However, it will also be remembered as the first Ashes series England had won in 16 years, seeing a run of eight consecutive Ashes victories for the Aussie’s brought to a holt! My stand out moment was watching Kevin Pietersen smash Warney and the rest of the Australian attack to all areas of the ground, ending up on 473 runs for the series, quickly propelling him to my favourite sports professional. That says a lot coming from a Liverpool fan growing up in the era of Stevie G!

So, where did it all start? The Ashes came about when Australia beat England in a test match all the way back in 1882, after the match the papers proclaimed English cricket had died, the Aussie’s then said “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” The following series the English captain vowed to “regain those ashes” thus the English media dubbed the tour a “quest to regain the ashes” from then on England and Australia test series have been played for the rights to regain that little urn containing the Ashes.

What makes a good Ashes team? Well, apart from the obvious skill needed to beat the Aussie’s, you will need a strong focussed mind to last the length of a 5 day match, you will have to show resilience to battle through tricky patches in the game and show real strength and determination to come out on top. This links nicely into the role of a recruiter. Bowlers will battle all day to find the one perfect ball to squeeze through bat and pad and clip the top of off stump, recruiters will battle all day to find the perfect candidate to fill your roles, both showing grit and determination to find that end product. Both a recruiter and an Ashes player will need the ability to deal with rejection and bounce back! If you lose the first test, or miss out on a deal, you can’t lie down in defeat, you must be able to get back up and fight for the next opportunity to come out on top!

What are my predictions for this coming series I hear you ask? Well, many critics and self-proclaimed cricket genius’ have written England off from the outset, mainly due to the very poor record England have down under, heightened by the injuries and suspensions within the England camp. I however don’t think this will be the case. Granted, England have a few new, inexperienced players in the Ashes squad, if all selected, this series will see Ashes debuts for 7 players, for any English fan that isn’t a promising prospect because of the momentous occasion and pressure that comes an Ashes tour. However, some of you may forget that Kevin Pietersen’s Ashes debut came in 2005, where he ended top run scorer. Proving some players thrive off the hype and the occasion, one thing we will be hoping for this time around.

One reason I have great faith in our Lions is the strength in depth and mass experience that we possess. We have proven cricket legends, rising cricketing stars and young new talent in the squad. The likes of Joe Root, Alistair Cook, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will be the rocks of our team, providing a good base for the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Moen Ali and Chris Woakes to kick on and add to our big game players. Having these kinds of players will allow the debutants to thrive under the supervision and the inspiration of senior members of the team.

That being said, we cannot rule out the Australians, with a tall, pacey bowling attack, backed up by the number 1 and number 6 test batters in the world, the Ausies definitely spell danger for the Lions this year.

With the Ashes starting on Wednesday us cricketing fans have most certainly had a tiring day at work today! Come on you Lions.

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