What great cricketers had a terrible end

Cricket : English fame crumbles to ashes

A cricket bat doesn't break that easily. The large piece of wood usually weighs about 1.5 kilograms and is two inches thick. When England batsman Michael Carberry looked in frustration at his broken bat, the image reflected all the humiliation England had just experienced.

With 0: 5 England lost the duel with Australia, which operates under the name "The Ashes". It was only for the third time in the 132-year history of this duel that a team lost all five games of the entire competition. The Guardian wrote about the most painful defeat in English sports history.

The last 0: 5 was in 2007. The defeat hurt the English back then, too, but it was the last hurray of the strongest Australian team to date. This time it was different. Before the series started in November, England was the clear favorite. For decades no English team seemed to be so superior to their Australian counterparts in terms of quality and team spirit. And England has not been so humiliated in decades.

In cricket, world rankings and world championships are not as important as the great traditional duels. "The Ashes" is all about honor, which is why the way that defeat was so terrible for English sport. Actually, it should work the other way around. England had clearly defeated Australia in the summer - the Australians were allegedly devastated. This mistaken belief made the English feel safe - with fatal consequences.

From the moment they arrived in Australia everything went wrong for England. The Australian press tried - successfully - to disturb the English with personal attacks. In the first game, too, the atmosphere on the field was more heated than it had been since the 80s. Australia captain Michael Clarke reportedly threatened Jimmy Anderson with blows before the Englishman even hit a ball.

But England had bigger worries. After the embarrassing defeat in the first game, one of their strongest players, Jonathan Trott, suddenly had to go home because of health problems. Trott, who was the main target of Australian verbal attacks because of his quality and personality, is now the second English cricketer in five years to have left an Ashes series in Australia due to burnout or depression.

Trott's departure shocked England, but could not be used as an excuse for the poor performance. In the next two games, the English were overrun again - by an Australian team that was actually only rated as mediocre. By a pitcher named Mitchell Johnson who had been taunted by English fans for years for his poor performance. In that series, he became the Australians' best player.

After the third defeat - and with it the loss of the smallest cup in the world - England's team collapsed. Graeme Swann, star thrower of the last few years, announced his retirement immediately after the game. Some took it as a brave decision; its critics saw it only as proof of his selfishness. With two games to go, he simply left the sinking ship.

At the weekend the torture was finally over when Australia also won the fifth game by a superior margin. There is now talk of a changing of the guard in England. The generation that recently became the first English team to reach the top of the world rankings has now been mentally and playfully destroyed. Destroyed by an enemy they arrogantly underestimated. Destroyed like Michael Carberry's bat.

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