Ashes Buzzwords

Ashes Buzzword Bingo!

I think the exclamation mark is ironic, but who can tell anymore? A lot of Alpha pages needed filling in the run-up to the 2010 Ashes cricket. I filled…


Words and phrases you’ll hear all winter, over and over again. Hear ‘em all and win a prize!*


The weather. As in, “He’s really exploited the conditions” and “His natural game just doesn’t suit these conditions” and other lazy generalisations.

Unfamiliar ball

England use the Duke ball. Australia uses the Kookaburra. It’s still round, though, last we looked.


“Some of these Australian players haven’t mastered swing yet.” Is it a dance or a cricket ball deviation?

Dark arts

Something commentators don’t understand, as though Harry Potter is running in from the Pavilion End bowling reverse swing out the end of his wand.

Barmy Army

Used to be a rag-tag travelling bunch of happy chanting Poms. Now Flight Centre with printed lyric sheets and a membership waiting list.

That first delivery

Initial delivery of the series, once owned, then thrown away by Steve Harmison, and now assuming gigantic importance.


Someone a commentator saw who looked pretty good on the last tour and now deserves a superhero title. As in “Graham Onions could be a real dangerman here.”


Shorthand for an entire series that happened several years ago with different players. “Can we really expect a repeat of 2005?” Answer: no, it’ll be different.

Old enemy

Attempt to turn a cricket series into global Braveheart. No one is winning their freedom here. Just a small trophy.


A commentator tries to find his notes on Graham Onions and Ravi Bopara. As in, “This is very much a team in transition.”

Big names

Could mean anyone. Actually refers directly to Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne “A lot of the big names are missing this time around.”

No Shane Warne

Always followed by “of course” when things look a bit shaky for the Aussies.

Key figure

The play relied on to pull the team out of a deep hole, depite utter lack of recent form. If the team loses, it’s because the key figure failed.


Never mind blaming the players or the conditions, the selectors have either “got it right” or “got it wrong”.


The point of the whole thing. Often dubbed “famous old”, and referred to bitterly as “kept permanently at Lord’s” (subtext: the Poms are cheating bastards).

Shorter Forms

The tiny yet evil monsters ruining players, Test cricket and sport in general. “Can Test cricket possibly survive the shorter forms of the game?”


An effort to over-dramatise something a player does. No, it’s not a broadsword or a .45 Magnum, it’s Peter Siddle’s slightly fuller-length delivery.


Whether it’s from opening the bowling, the crowd, the situation or history, there’s always pressure.

*You won’t win a prize


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