Saturday, 29 August 2009

No open-top buses for this team

Much has been made of the lack of Trafalgar Square triumphalism after England's Ashes victory. Andrews Strauss and Flower have received praise for their level-headedness, and for immediately looking to the future rather than over-celebrating the present.

But would they have drawn crowds to the streets of London if a repeat of 2005's open-top bus trip had been arranged? The nature of the cricket (an absence of great players, and less nerve-jangling matches) suggests not, as does the fact that England hadn't waited 18 years for this victory.

But surely an equally important factor is the absence of live action from terrestrial TV screens. In 2005, the final act of the third test drew 7.7 million viewers to Channel 4. This year's Oval test peaked at 1.9 million. By selling their souls to Sky, the ECB have denied many casual viewers the chance of getting caught up in Ashes fever.

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