Putting cricket to the test

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Written by guest blogger Freya Koepping

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Perhaps, like much of the world, you don't know what all the fuss is about. Or perhaps you wonder why there is not more fuss about the most ephemeral sporting fixture of them all - the Ashes series.

If your first experience of cricket has been the recentTwenty20 cup, where the focus is firmly on after-work socialising with friends in the sun, with the occasional glance towards some vaguely identifiable figures toiling away on the picturesque backdrop of the lush green pitch, then the prospect of watching a game that will last for a total of 25 days over the next 2 months must make you wonder just how many Mexican waves it can stay interesting for.

But plenty of people do still find this anachronistic idea interesting. A contest that in most years follows the same pattern as its origins in 1882, with Australia inflicting an ignominious defeat on the England team at the Oval, it captured big headlines in the summer of 2005, when 'Ashes fever' gripped the nation, and became such a preoccupation for your correspondent that she not only took the day off to bite her nails watching Kevin Pietersen save the day, but also agreed to an ill-advised tour of the rather less successful series in Australia in 2006.

Still, one suntanned Aussie was so pleased about their historic win at Adelaide on 5th December that yours truly managed to flog him a worthless ticket stub for a tenner after the match!

You can see why it became a national obsession: after all, what other sport is played exclusively when the weather's nice, gives you all day to enjoy some Pimms or the Sunday papers, is covered for 8 hours a day of mildly amusing radio banter on Test Match Special, and can still be decided right up to the last ball.

So why not follow in the footsteps of famous fans like Mick Jagger and (apparently) the delectable Hugh Jackman. Tune into the radio, dress up in silly costumes and catch a game if you're lucky enough to have tickets, or follow the action online at Asylum's live blog.

The first test is under way in Cardiff, so watch this space. Are you a cricket fan or are you mystified by anyone's interest in the game? Leave a comment here and share your thoughts.