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  Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 07:27 GMT
Ashes urn to tour Australia
Australia team
Australia celebrate their Ashes victory
Australia will finally get their hands on the Ashes urn next winter, but only temporarily.

"We are very keen that the Ashes should be displayed in Australia," MCC president Sir Tim Rice told BBC Sport.

Delicate repair work will be carried out on the urn over the next few months with a view to a trip Down Under during the 2003-04 Australian season.

It is expected the urn will be displayed in Melbourne and Sydney during that time but it will then return to England.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said on Wednesday that England should give the urn to Australia, following their recent domination.

Arrangements had been made to transport the urn and its velvet carrying bag to Australia this winter to mark the centenary of the first Ashes series.

Sir Tim Rice
Sir Tim is keen to see the Ashes in Australia

But that plan was halted after experts said it was too fragile to transport.

"I have great sympathy for the view of many of Australia's cricketing and political intelligentsia," said Sir Tim.

"We were hoping to take them out this year but they are in a very fragile condition. Insurers and British Museum experts advised us that they shouldn't go at the moment."

The Ashes are currently on display at Lord's cricket ground in London, the headquarters of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

They were created 120 years ago after Australia's first Test series win in England, prompting The Sporting Times to publish a mock obituary for English cricket.

The bails from the match were later "cremated" and placed in a tiny urn that became The Ashes.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
High commissioner Michael L'Estrange:
"I hope the Ashes can be shown to the Aussie fans"
MCC president Sir Tim Rice:
"We are very keen for the urn to visit Australia"
See also:

05 Dec 02 | The Ashes
04 Dec 02 | The Ashes
Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


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