By Rob Steen;Alastair McLellan
No season exerts a grip at the hearts of English cricket fans really just like the summer season of 1981. For the 1st time in a new release, the complete nation was once transfixed by way of a attempt sequence. What made all of it the extra impressive used to be that the fortunes of the nationwide staff, let alone these of the sport typically and the rustic itself, appeared at rock bottom.During the process an Ashes sequence that shifted from the mundane to the fantastical with breathtaking pace, the 3rd try at Headingley proved to be the turning-point. Amid list unemployment and the worst outbreak of civil unrest in a century, England, 500-1 opposed to at one degree (odds taken through participants of the Australian team), accomplished the main unbelievable carrying triumph of the twentieth century, mounting a dramatic comeback to overcome Australia by means of 18 runs. The names of Ian Botham, Bob Willis and Mike Brearley duly grew to become without end entwined with what readers of the Observer lately voted 'Most Memorable wearing Moment'.500-1...
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Additional info for 500-1. The Miracle of Headingley '81
But no matter how many times you play Botham’s Ashes, England still win. It’s immaterial that Botham for much of the rest of his career was a parttime cricketer and a full-time trash celebrity, preparatory to becoming one of the game’s most soporific commentators – when it counted, he was great, and that is the essence of sport. There have been great Tests since, of course. At Calcutta ten years ago, India were at least as far gone against Australia as England had been twenty years before, and came back perhaps even harder.
Amid England’s troubled Caribbean tour, February’s Guyana Test was cancelled following the provocative/naïve (take your pick) decision to replace the broken-down Bob Willis with 35-year-old Robin Jackman. Jackman, who had wed a South African, believed he had a right to earn his corn in the Republic regardless of how those meddlesome politicos might frown, though he was not the only transgressor. David Bairstow, one of the touring wicketkeepers, had captained Griqualand West during the same 1977–78 winter that saw the signing of the Gleneagles Declaration, a well intentioned if confusing concord urging governments to deploy their “best endeavours” to dissuade and prevent sporting teams from competing with, or in, the home of the accursed Bothas and Vorsters.
Alastair McLellan London June 2001 I was dreaming of reporting Test matches but working as an estate agent in Hampstead. I despised every minute with the vehemence I reserved for Thatcher, Marmite and that flesh-curdling Gothic look beloved of the prettier denizens of London’s trendier clubs. One of the few advantages – aside from working within a minute’s walk of a top-notch Jewish deli, a naughty Belgian chocolatier, England’s leading crêperie stall and the Everyman cinema, and, of course, seeing how the unnecessarily rich live – lay in appointments that kept me legitimately out of the office for sizeable chunks of the day.
500-1. The Miracle of Headingley '81 by Rob Steen;Alastair McLellan