Lets be honest here, there wasn't much to shout about after the recent Ashes series as Australia outplayed us in all departments I believe, but there was a select few positives to come out the 5 tests. Rather than discuss all the negatives and suggestions for the future which have been flying around, I decided to stick to talking about those positives.
Firstly there was Dawid Malan, who showed a lot of strength, determination and the idea that he could be one hell of a test player throughout the series in my opinion. He stuck in when needed to, but flourished with the bat when he found the opportunity to. His temperament looks ideal for test cricket, and he displayed a class performance, especially with his maiden test century coming in the 3rd test in Perth. He sent a message back to the Australian bowlers that England certainly were not down and out and still willing to fight, it's just a shame that some of the others didn't follow his lead. He certainly nailed down his spot at No.5, and showed a lot of promise..
Next is Alastair Cook, or Cooky, finding the form we all know he had in a magnificent way. I would scroll through twitter and see people calling for his retirement, saying he is past his best or that he is not coping without captaincy, and I thought that was a whole load of rubbish. Then he went a proved everyone wrong by scoring 244* in the 4th test in Melbourne. He fought through a difficult period for him out in the middle through the first few tests, as he has done numerous times before in his career and came out on the other side once again. The phrase, form is temporary but class is permanent really does apply to Cooky. He is one of the best players in the world, and 12,000 test runs shows just that.
Another thing which all England fans will agree is one of the best things about every away tour, but especially down under is The Barmy Army. Through thick and thin they support the team and sing a little louder as each test goes by. Their support really is incredible and you can tell how much it means to all the players, Joe Root singing along shows how much they cherish the support as well. Seeing so many of them out there makes me proud to be an England fan, knowing we offer the best support! One of my dreams is to go on tour with them, and it just looks an absolute blast. They are an amazing group of people who deserve so much praise for the their support, but also the way they go about it. They are the unsung heroes of The Ashes!
I may be on my own in this one, but I did enjoy Michael Vaughan on BT commentary as I thought he offered a great insight into the game and even though he copped quite a lot of stick for being negative, you wont see him doing it for the fun of it, there wasn't a lot to be positive about! He is England's biggest cheerleader when they are doing well, and he celebrated the small victories for England but offered great commentary with an insight into the game. I shall add Alison Mitchell into this as well, I think she has also been brilliant! Nice to see a woman on there as well, and she has never actually played cricket (like me), just has a sheer passion for the game (like me) and also studied geography (like me)...hope for me to be a pundit for an Ashes series!
I also thought Craig Overton really emerged, he took his chance to play with both hands but was unlucky yo be sidelined with cracked rib but before that he showed promising signs. He offered something a little different which was what was desired, and also bowled really well in partnership with Woaksey, plus from his 41 runs in the 1st test showed he does offer something with the bat. He is one to watch for the future I think with hopefully more opportunities, and getting Steve Smith has your maiden test wicket cant be all bad!
Admittedly, there wasn't many positives to talk about, but I get told a lot I am quite optimistic when it comes to cricket hopes so thought I'd focus on the good things rather than the numerous failings!
Here is to 2019, where the urn will return home and it will be England's!