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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Simon Jones' exclusive column
Simon Jones' column appears exclusively on the BBC Sport website
By Simon Jones
England fast bowler

Simon Jones and Ian Bell
England partied long and hard after winning the Ashes

The last few days have been surreal for the England cricket team and what we achieved in winning the Ashes hasn't sunk in yet.

Now that the cricket is over and the players have all gone their separate ways, the euphoria has made way for a strange feeling of emptiness.

The series had been hyped up for so long and players from both sides delivered the goods.

The downside of the incredible Test series we have just taken part in is we will never experience anything like it again in our careers.

It seems a negative thing to say, though I'm sure the next Ashes series Down Under will come close.

Future series won't be flat or anything, but we've just beaten the number one team so how can they compare to this one? You can't top that.

Fame feels strange but it's just a matter of taking it in your stride and getting on with your life

The parade at Trafalgar Square on Tuesday was like nothing I ever expected to experience as a professional cricketer.

I remember standing on the stage, looking out at a sea of faces and feeling like I was performing in a pop concert.

There were so many people there and being on the open-top bus was amazing. It's something I will never forget as long as I live.

A few of the guys were struggling after Monday night's celebrations.

Andrew Flintoff hadn't slept. He could barely open his eyes and was probably sleepwalking at times.

The celebrations were great. We were all out together and we stayed together. Nobody goes off in little groups and that's the great thing about this team.

We're a big family on and off the field.

Simon Jones and Ashley Giles
Many England players were worse for wear after a big night out

This Ashes series is going to change our lives forever.

Freddie was the man of the series and his life will never be the same again. He'll be earning far more money than before and that goes for most of us.

I've had some offers to do modelling and I'll enjoy doing those. Some other opportunities have presented themselves and that's because we've been so successful this summer.

Fame feels strange but it's just a matter of taking it in your stride and getting on with your life. We deserve what's coming our way because we have worked very hard.

Of course it's nice to get recognised in the street. It happens far more in England than in Wales, which is more a rugby country.

Sometimes you get idiots coming up to you, but mostly you are confronted by friendly people who just want to wish you well.

We can't get overwhelmed, though, because we have tough winter tours to India and Pakistan ahead of us.

My injured ankle is coming along okay. I have to rest for two weeks now and it will be reassessed then. But I'm available to be selected for the winter and I don't doubt my ankle will be fine.

I already can't wait until we go Down Under to defend the Ashes next winter. It isn't that far away, and it's the one we're going to nail.

I reckon Australia will be a bit nervous because we have such a strong side with great unity. You simply can't buy that. It's special.

There are a lot of young guys in our team and the side we take to Australia next winter will be very similar to what we've got, whereas I think theirs will change quite a bit.

Links to more Ashes 2005 stories



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