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   Wednesday, 25 December, 2002, 16:36 GMT
It's just not cricket
Ronnie Irani
Ronnie Irani is a favourite with the Aussie fans

So the Ashes are gone again but it's great to be here in Melbourne and back to the real deal of Test cricket after the wham-bam, one-sided, bonus point riddled one-day series.

As you can probably tell I'm not a massive fan of one-day internationals and watching them in Australia is, to put it bluntly, hard work.

It was for this reason (and the fact that I needed some time before seeing England lose again) that I decided to take a more serene trip back across this vast country from Perth to Melbourne and catch the one-dayers on TV on the way back east.

It sounds great in theory but, unfortunately, the vastness of this country and its three different time zones that the one-day series has encompassed so far, made life very difficult.

After a quick calculation that two o'clock in Brisbane, for the first clash, was 11 o'clock in Western Australia, we settled down after breakfast hoping to see England upset the odds.

Sadly for us, the TV company had decided to give WA viewers a chance to enjoy the atmosphere of a day-night game and delayed 'live' transmission by three hours.

The Likely Lads
Phil and the boys did their impression of the Likely Lads
If you've ever seen the classic Likely Lads episode where Messrs Collier and Ferris avoid a football result all day then you will appreciate what seven grown men went through as we barricaded ourselves from the outside world!

Mind you, finding out that result prematurely was the least of my worries as we trekked back across the Nullabor Plain on the day England recorded their first win of the tour against Sri Lanka.

No sooner had we passed the town of Ceduna than the 600 jalopy that we bought in Brisbane began to splutter.

To be fair to the old girl, it wasn't her fault that we had to crawl along for over two hours at a little over 15 miles an hour until we reached the town of Minnippa.

The landlord of the hotel there reckoned that the temperature had reached the mid-forties during the day and the bitumen on the road would have been a staggering 65 degrees Celcius!

Black smoke

Relieved simply to have made it that far, we settled down for a night in the bar watching the game with three local farmers who immediately adopted Ronnie Irani as their favourite England player.

When we asked them why, they were quite succinct in their answer.

"Because he can't f***ing bowl and he definitely can't f***ing bat!"

Next morning the car remarkably started first time and brought us through most of South Australia.

There, on a hill just outside Adelaide, she gave up trying to carry four overweight Englishmen and their overweight rucksacks and, rather noisily, and in a plume of black smoke, passed away.

I suppose we should have taken her away to the middle of the desert and cremated her properly - it would have been the only Ashes we'd have regained on this tour!

You can contact Phil in Australia by emailing:

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See also:

25 Nov 02 | The Ashes
15 Nov 02 | The Ashes
01 Nov 02 | The Ashes
06 Nov 02 | The Ashes
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