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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
Still stumped?
By Simon Austin

CAN YOU NAME THESE PLAYERS?
Matthew Hoggard, Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff

Four months ago BBC Sport tested the public's knowledge of English cricket - and most of them failed miserably.

But that was before an Ashes series that seems to have captured the country's imagination.

So, on the eve of the decisive fifth Test at The Oval, we ventured out onto the streets of west London to find out if cricket fever really has gripped the nation.

Again, we asked a random sample of 25 people a set of questions about the England team:

1. CAN YOU NAME THREE CURRENT ENGLAND CRICKETERS?

Perhaps surprisingly, 10 people could not name a single England cricketer.

Eight successfully completed the task - up on the six who did in May - four could name two players and three just one.

The most popular choice was Andrew Flintoff, who was nominated by 13 people.

He is clearly already one of the three "superstar" players the England and Wales Cricket Board wants to find by 2009.

Even Anita, 38, who admitted "I have no interest in cricket at all", volunteered Flintoff's name and 15-year-olds Katie and Amy both said "Freddie".

2. DO YOU RECOGNISE THE PLAYERS PICTURED ABOVE?

Ten people did not recognise any of the three players pictured above.

Five correctly named all three, a further five recognised two and another five one.

In May, only four people could name all three, and only eight could identify even one.

Twelve recognised Flintoff and 10 captain Michael Vaughan. But only five - all cricket-mad men - knew who Matthew Hoggard was.

3. WHICH TEAMS ARE ENGLAND PLAYING THIS SUMMER?

The fact England are taking on Australia this summer had escaped very few - even those who didn't like cricket.

Marion Harris, 54, said: "I avoid cricket like the plague", but still knew that England are playing the Aussies.

All in all, 19 people knew we were taking on Australia at the moment. Only eight were aware the series was about to take place when we conducted the survey in May.

Perhaps surprisingly, in view of the comprehensive coverage the Ashes has received in the media, six people did not know England were playing Australia.

Among them was Roberto, who said: "I'm from Italy, I don't care about cricket."

4. CAN YOU NAME THREE ENGLISH CRICKET VENUES?

Marcus, 28, and Jack, 17, were able to quickly rattle off all England's Test venues - Lord's, Headingly, Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, The Oval, and Durham.

Altogether, eight people successfully named three grounds, up on the seven who did so in May.

All of these had Lord's and The Oval among their choices.

But 11 were not able to name a single ground.

5. WHO ARE ENGLAND PLAYING THIS WINTER?

Although the Ashes series had registered on most people's radars, only three knew we will be taking on Pakistan and India this winter.

Two people knew we were playing Pakistan but not India.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOLLOWING THE ASHES?
ON TV/ RADIO/ ONLINE OR NEWSPAPERS?

Fourteen of the sample said they had watched some Ashes action on television this summer.

Claire, 28, said: "I watched the end of the second Test with my boyfriend and it was really exciting. I got a bit hooked after that."

Will this change when Sky get the rights to English Test cricket from next summer?

The keen cricket followers among the sample said they hungrily seek Ashes information wherever they can get it - on television, on the internet when they are at work and on BBC Radio 4's Test Match Special in the car.

REGIONAL RESULTS

We also tested the cricketing knowledge of the inhabitants of Manchester Cardiff and Glasgow and found it to be slightly weaker than in London.

In Manchester, all but one person surveyed knew we were currently taking on Australia, but no-one knew we would be playing India this winter,

Half of those quizzed in Glasgow could not name a single England player, although Jim Reynolds was able to reel off Bob Willis, Ian Botham, David Gower and Graham Gooch from teams of yesteryear.

Most said they had been following the Ashes in the media, including Murray Cameron, 30, who said: "It's been following me - against my will."

And in Cardiff, only three of the 16 questioned were able to name three current England players.

Yet one man was able to tell us every member of the team along with all of England's Test venues.

We were rather taken aback, until he turned out to be Gerard Elias QC, chairman of the ECB's disciplinary committee.


CONCLUSION: Awareness of cricket seems to have increased this summer - but not as much as the ECB might have hoped.

Slightly more people in the sample could identify English cricketers and most of them knew Freddie Flintoff.

But hardly any knew who England were playing after the Ashes. This summer's series has expanded the profile of English cricket, but there's still work to do.




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