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Sunday Herald Sun - - CRICKET -

AN Ashes se­ries her­alds much de­bate over what might hap­pen, with the oc­ca­sional nos­tal­gic thought of what has al­ready hap­pened.

With nos­tal­gia in mind, I’ve ranked my top 25 Ashes per­form­ers and I chose 1972 as the start­ing point. Why 1972? It was a wa­ter­shed Ashes year for the Aus­tralian team with a mer­i­to­ri­ous drawn se­ries against a strong Eng­land side, which con­vinced the tourists they could match it with any op­po­nent.

This was the ge­n­e­sis for the highly suc­cess­ful Aus­tralian teams of the early to mid1970s, and many of those play­ers fea­ture strongly on this list.

Choos­ing a mere 25 play­ers from such an il­lus­tri­ous list is dif­fi­cult and it en­sures some fine play­ers from both sides miss out — names like Bob Willis, Matthew Hay­den, Mark Tay­lor and Gra­ham Gooch.

How­ever, the list is en­tirely sub­jec­tive and un­less I go barhop­ping next week I won’t be bom­barded with a plethora of al­ter­na­tive opin­ions.

In se­lect­ing my 25 play­ers I re­lied mainly on the eye test, with the oc­ca­sional ref­er­ence to statis­tics. Like all “best of” selections there’s a ten­dency to rank highly play­ers from your own era be­cause, first, you saw close up how good they were and, sec­ondly, what they had to en­dure to reach such heights.

And fi­nally there’s a bias to­wards play­ers who sought vic­tory in pref­er­ence to per­sonal glory.

Cricket is not a sta­tis­ti­cal ex­er­cise and I didn’t want self­ish play­ers on my team, hence the ab­sence of Geoff Boy­cott and Steve Waugh.

These, then, are my best 25 Ashes play­ers since 1972.

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