Cricketing Computer Games: Test Match Special - Day Two, Ashes Cricket - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Cricketing Computer Games: Test Match Special - Day Two, Ashes Cricket

Chris Morley returns to the crease...

No look at anything to do with cricket, at least one worth its salt, can afford to ignore the Ashes. An age old rivalry between England & Australia later licenced, at least in game form, by Codemasters in time for 2009's first entry in the series bearing its name, after having come to agreements with the England & Wales Cricket Board (the ECB), Cricket Australia & the Marylebone Cricket Club, perhaps better known as the MCC. Which means that the players on both sides are the only ones to appear under their real names, every other Test playing nation seemingly hit for a duck!

Fittingly, at least Sir Ian Botham, hero of the 1981 series, appears as a commentator long after his on- field contribution to a winning effort to get English hands on the famous old trophy. Thirty years after that event, captain Mike Brearley would write for the Guardian that,
“The first thing I should say is that the train of events in 1981 was extremely fortuitous. In that third Test at Headingley, for a start, Ian Botham and Graham Dilley, whose second-innings partnership of 117 turned the match, could have been out at any moment.

Kim Hughes and the Australians were criticised for bowling too wide to them and it was true, they should have tightened their line. But on any other day they would have edged rather than missed, or edged more thinly, or the ball would have landed differently from one of the thick edges.“
In the interests of fairness, Shane Warne is the Aussie commentating counterpart to the man known as “Beefy”.

A demo version of the game for Xbox 360 & PC offered a six over match with the player given the choice of whether to bat or field, the finished product going on to sit top of the charts for all formats released within its first week of going on sale, that feelgood factor perhaps inspiring a real-world win for England in that year's actual Ashes series!

A narrow 2-1 victory but a victory nonetheless, captain Andrew Strauss following in the footsteps of Michael Vaughan in 2005 to become the second skipper to lift the urn & reclaim it from the Baggy Green, who'd completed a 5-0 trouncing in the process of winning the 2006/07 series on home soil. Such a beating hadn't been handed down since 1920-21, the first tour of Australia by an England team to be awarded Test status since the end of the First World War!

Indeed Wisden would note sombrely that...
"English cricket had not had time to regain its pre-war standard"
If that seems a bit melodramatic, consider the genesis of the Ashes tournament itself. It can trace its beginnings back to 1882, an age before Hawk-Eye technology, which also features in the Ashes Cricket series. Ted Peate's failings as his country's final batsman in the ninth Test were commemorated in a poem which appeared in Punch magazine after the English had been whipped fair & square.
Was it luck that tript us?
Was it scare?
Kangaroo Land's 'Demon', or our own
Want of 'devil', coolness, nerve, backbone?
The Weekly Record Of The Game then published a mock obituary for English cricket itself!
Though a more famous such effort penned for the Sporting Times by Reginald Shirley Brooks would appear later the same year.
In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET,
which died at the Oval on 29 August 1882,
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances


N.B.—The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.
Hence the name of the trophy!

England captain Ivo Bligh would promise to go to Australia for the 1882-3 series & recover them, which he thankfully managed to do with another narrow 2-1 win. He put the urn on display at the Central Hall in Westminster during August of 1926 & told the story of how he came by it...
“When in the autumn the English Eleven went to Australia it was said that they had come to Australia to "fetch" the ashes.

England won two out of the three matches played against Murdoch's Australian Eleven, and after the third match some Melbourne ladies put some ashes into a small urn and gave them to me as captain of the English Eleven. “

By the release of Ashes Cricket 2013 Botham had been replaced on commentary duties by Cricket On Five's Mark Nicholas & Sky Sports' David “Bumble” Lloyd. Its release was pushed back to November 22 of that year on the Steam platform because of big concerns over quality, with its publisher 505 Games calling it,
"simply not worthy of the Ashes name."
And indeed it quickly sank without trace after developer Trickstar Games stopped issuing updates!

At least that year's real-world series went better from an English perspective. A 3-0 win recorded following victories at Lord's, Trent Bridge & the Riverside, and draws at The Oval & Old Trafford also meant it was the turn of the Australians to not taste victory over the course of the tournament.

They had, though, in a sense beaten them in game development, in that Melbourne-based developer Beam Software had released International Cricket for the NES as far back as 1992.

The game came complete with puns on actual Australian player names of the time to get around licencing issues & even a cameo for one R. Marley in the West Indian ranks! Of course, 10CC ( ) had earlier in a sense attempted to play him at his own game with Dreadlock Holiday,.........
I say
I don't like cricket, oh no
I love it
I don't like cricket, no no
I love it

As many will no doubt attest after that World Cup win!

We, though, will be rounding things off next time with a look at International Cricket Captain, the interested player's chance to take on the sort of job Chris Silverwood inherited fairly recently from Trevor Bayliss.....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad