It’s been a long, long series and it’s not gone well for England.
For the English contingent in the BT commentary team – the only ones to have served a full tour of duty – it’s all starting to get a bit much.
They are like a group of overtired toddlers in need of a timeout.
Geoffrey Boycott has taken to cheerleading for the England players to which he has taken a shine and goading any Australians in his path during any rare moment when the tourists are going well.
In between he falls into a sullen despair about the bleakness of it all, snapping at the almost sarcastically pleasant Mike Hussey when the Australian dared to suggest there were some positives to be taken from the series for England.
“You Aussies are very good at telling us how good we are when you’ve just thrashed us,” he harrumphed, “So I don’t tend to trust your judgement too much.”
In Boycott’s defence, Hussey had just – with the best of intentions – started his attempt to Take The Positives with the phrase “If you take the score out of it, then…”
But best of all was Graeme Swann completely losing the plot over the no-ball call that denied Mason Crane a first Test wicket.
Now the call was marginal, it’s fair to say. Lots of people thought it was a no-ball. Lots of people thought there was the tiniest sliver of boot behind the line. Fair enough. Bit frustrating if you’re in the second group, but your main gripe would surely be with a spinner getting so tight on the front line in the first place.
Swann: “I’m absolutely fuming for the lad, it’s a terrible bit of off-field umpiring”
Boycott: “I agree with the umpire…you can’t say that’s a bad decision”@Swannyg66 and @GeoffreyBoycott debate and strongly disagree over Mason Crane’s no ball…#ItsTheAshes #Ashes pic.twitter.com/ByzqRNBSn5
— The Ashes on BT Sport (@btsportcricket) January 6, 2018
Not Swann. He spent the lunch break in a foul mood, bemoaning a “terrible decision” that had “robbed” Crane of a wicket.
So excessive was Swann’s position that he succeeded in turning Boycott into the voice of reason as he tried to convince the former spinner (coincidence) that you couldn’t really call that a bad decision. As Swann was arguing over a millimetre of rubber on one side or other of a slightly uneven hand-painted line, it was hard not to find yourself in full agreement with Boycott. The power of Swann in a nutshell there.
But Swann wasn’t finished, spending the rest of the day’s commentary stints in a funk and making endless passive-aggressive reference to the great miscarriage of justice that had occurred. At least it reduced his impressions for a bit at least.
It’s not just the England players who look ready to get back home after a trying experience.