Arh, yes. The revelling in such Ashes glory. With so much to admire from an English perspective, cricket writers have since been beside themselves to try and put fingers on how such a monumental thrashing of the big enemy came to pass.
One example came from the always enjoyable Vic Marks. Here’s the key paragraph from his chat with England’s first-down Capetonian.
“But you only get nervous when you haven’t prepared.
It’s bit a like being at school when you haven’t studied for an exam.
But if you’re prepared, it’s fine.
Ashley Giles [the coach at Warwickshire] always says:
‘Train hard, play easy …’
We have that attitude drilled into us at England and that’s why we have a sense of freedom in the middle.”
Now, I’ve not historically had a great deal of time for old Ashley. Despite my strong Warwickshire allegiance, I felt he was only ever in the England team as skipper Vaughan’s Playstation putz. And I’ve always been dismissive of those with Keeganesque little talent who somehow win through when other alternatives glisten ever more sparkly. And he earned the nickname “wheelie-bin” with good reason, after all.
Or perhaps it was that time playing Worcester at 20/20 when he inexplicably gave the fancy dress prize to a kid in a rent-a-cape superhero costume, as the whole crowd booed his overlooking of a full-on “bat-man”, long handle and all.
Yet now Ashley forces a rethink. Here’s that main point once more.
Train hard, play easy
I’ve been around elite team set-ups for years and this is the first time I’ve heard this. There’s so much merit to it. The England team under Andy Flower train hard. How many salesteams do so in the same manner? Not enough, that’s for sure.