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US Twitter woman @theashes at the Ashes

Ashley Kerekes (left) with Jonathan Agnew (right)
Kerekes' (left) Twitter account has led to unexpected fame for the American

Ashley Kerekes, the American who gained fame with her Twitter name @theashes, has been enjoying the chance to learn about cricket in Australia.

The account belonging to the babysitter from Massachusetts was bombarded by cricket fans mistakenly assuming it was to do with the contest of the same name between England and Australia down under.

As a result, the 22-year-old was flown out to Sydney by an Australian airline to attend the fifth Ashes Test.

"It's crazy but amazing," she told Test Match Special. "Sydney is a beautiful city."

"On Monday, the first day of the Test, I sat with Steve Waugh. He invited us to have lunch with him and then today [Tuesday] he gave us a tour of the museum at the ground.

"I went down and visited the Barmy Army, and they sang some songs and had me singing along. They are having the time of their lives and they really know how to enjoy themselves."

There is some cricket in America. It's small but it's growing and I'd definitely like to see some more of it

Ashley Kerekes

Kerekes, who used the name on her account as a result of a nickname given to her by her boyfriend, admitted she initially knew nothing about cricket, but has been learning about the sport via the same source that sealed her association with the sport.

"If you look at my profile, it is obvious I have nothing to do with cricket - I talk about knitting and how to take care of children," she explained to TMS commentator Jonathan Agnew - himself a regular Twitter user

"I spent a couple of weeks learning about the cricket - using #teachtheashestheashes [a hashtag is a means for Twitter users to organise specific topics, making them easier to search for]. I'd ask questions and people would answer - mainly English and Australian people.

"Cricket is a really interesting sport. There is so much going on and so much strategy. Someone described it to me as like chess and baseball combined."

Kerekes initially started receiving tweets from cricket fans on the first day of the first Test in Brisbane, which also happened to be Thanksgiving in America.

"It was right after Thanksgiving, our time - about two or three in the morning - and I started getting buzzes to my phone," she explained.

"I got a few during the night, and they were waking me up, so I turned my phone off. Then in the morning I was reading through them, and sent a few messages back telling them I wasn't who they thought I was and to leave me alone!"

It was at this point that she added her now infamous tweet: "I'm not a freaking cricket match!"

"At that point I'd probably received about 20 or 30, asking what the score was and getting quite angry with me. So I thought 'if you're going to get angry with me, then I'll get angry back'," she continued.

"When I read some of tweets that had been coming in I was so confused but was in hysterical laughter, reading them out to my room-mate.

"I wasn't quite sure what my following was at that point, but when I got home I saw it was around 3,000.

"So I went on there and began tweeting - I think I asked "What the heck is a wicket?" - and from there on the numbers starting shooting up and at one point peaked at around 13,500 followers.

"Then someone started #gettheashestotheashes, and it exploded and people thought it would be fun to get this girl who knows nothing about cricket watching it in Australia."

She would not be drawn on any allegiance to either side though, joking that were she to support England: "The Australians would send me home."

She did though admit she would now be following the sport when she returns to America.

"There is some cricket in America," she added. "It's small but it's growing and I'd definitely like to see some more of it. I think Americans could really get into Twenty20 cricket."

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see also
Cook glad to end 'lonely' summer
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Fifth Ashes Test day three photos
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Wednesday's Ashes gossip column
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Cook builds England reply at SCG
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England on top in rain-hit Sydney
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Live cricket on the BBC
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England in Australia 2010-11
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