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.