"Hello - Australian team dressing room."
"Hello mate...Can I speak to Ricky Ponting please."
"Sorry mate - he's just gone out to bat."
"It's OK - I'll hold."
And so, after a final night of sleep deprivation and what was a rather feeble celebratory cheer at about 1:30am from your writer, lest he wake the sleeping dragon, the Ashes have come to a bitter sweet conclusion; I'm probably not the only one feeling a little empty now the series has finished. Of course, the one person who won't be sad to see the end of the series is Mrs Flashbang who, for reasons best known to herself, has been becoming increasing irritable at being woken at four o'clock while I watch the cricket............ women, they just don't get it.
Few of us of course will be crying in our beer about the demise of Aussie cricket given we've spent much of our adult lives being humiliated by them which, of course, is exactly why it's such a terrific win. Of course we know they'll be back searching for angry vengence but just for the moment, we're waiting for them.
The Aussies themselves meanwhile must go through a period of soul searching and introspection and find the answers they need to rebuild. Well, as always I'm here to help and picking up some research from Citi analyst Andy Bowley, a good starting point for our Aussie mates would be to accept that their ICC ranking has dropped to it's lowest since rankings were introduced in 2003 and then examine if there is a correlation with falling Aussie beer sales since 2003. One look at the chart tells us that beer sales have fallen off a cliff.
We can only hope of course, that as part of the rebuild the Aussies get the whole 20/20 thing in some kind of perspective and that once again those who administer cricket across the world reflect on the quality and stickiness for paying fans of 5 day, 5 Test series. I shouldn't think much will happen though, administrators and many players compromised themselves a long time ago in favour of Crackerjack Rounders.
The only flaw in an otherwise memorable series for me was the Barmy Army, that would be that motely collection of so called supporters who seem to have got lost on their way to West Ham and who have made a smash & grab on the title of official English cricket supporters. Odd the way all the players, former players and officials talk about them in deferential tones more usually associated with senior royalty. Frankly, I think they're a bloody nuisance and shouldn't be let back in the country but that would probably leave a lot of taxi offices in Gant's Hill, call centres in Worksop and civil service offices up and down the country severley undermanned. What a shower of Herberts.
Unsurprisingly, we're beginning see the same ignorant "Engerland" element appear at Twickenham where I've heard booing, really for the first time over the past couple of years. I guess we'll be hearing more of it too unless the RFU slams hard the creeping habit of senior coaches to critisise referees in either a veiled or open way after matches; once that takes hold it quickly filters down to fans, schools and local clubs.
But I digress, lets not conclude on a gloomy note for we have the one day matches and the Six Nations to look forward to; oh, and just for the record, I'm bloody relieved that Warny isn't involved in their set up yet and Ponting remains, in my view, one of the greatest cricketers the game has known. In the meantime, I'll leave you with todays Aussie cricket jokes which oddly enough all seem to be recycled English cricket jokes from the last Ashes series,
Andrew Strauss... first person to bring Aussie ashes to the UK since Paula Yates
A man goes into a brothel... "I want to be totally humiliated .. how much?"
"...ok what do you get for that ..?"
"a baggy green cap and an Aussie shirt"
Q. What does Ryan Harris put in his hands to make sure the next ball almost always takes a wicket?
A. A bat.
Q. What is the height of optimism?
A. An Australian batsman putting on sunscreen
Q. What do you call an Aussie cricketer holding a bottle of bubbly?
A. A waiter
Q. What do Aussie batsmen and drug addicts have in common?
A. Both spend most of their time wondering where their next score will come from.
What do you call an Aussie with a 100 to his name - a bowler.
Well, I didn't say they were good Aussie cricket jokes.....