Ashes 2013-14 build-up has been surprisingly quieter than usual

England and Australia are yet to launch scathing attacks on each other. Even the Australian media has been uncharacteristically friendly to the tourists © Getty Images

By Aayush Puthran
 
A tour round South Bank Parklands in Brisbane would give you a virtual lesson of what serenity means in a modern city. Almost absent lies the fact that the clock is moving just as fast there as it is moving in any other city in the world —Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York or anywhere. For a city that has thrived as the largest economy in the world between Sydney and Singapore geographically, the serenity can be quite surprising at the Parklands. It is just like if you’re expecting a bit of jibes from either sides with the Ashes about to start, you would be surprised, to the extent of getting frustrated. It is an unusual build-up to the Ashes 2013-14 series.
 
The two teams — England and Australia — haven’t lost sight from the competition despite a lot of attention being diverted towards the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. But there are no threatening or teasing verbal wars this time around. While England start as favourites Down Under for the first time in nearly two and a half decades, the Australians are just about regrouping themselves, trying to fit in the perfect combination.
 
It is quite unlike a tour Down Under, especially for an English side. With just a day to go, the Australian media seems uncharacteristically friendly to the tourists. The entire build-up to the Ashes is mysteriously quiet. While the English media is more concerned about discussing the right combination given a couple of injuries and doubtful starters, their Australian counterparts are talking more of fight and valour than anything else. They are talking about rising from the Ashes. The two groups are yet to launch scathing attacks on each other.
 
One wonders whether the missing pompousness and the banters will make the series lose its spark. Given the quality of cricket that was on display, irrespective of the final result, during the previous Ashes, it shouldn’t lead to one.
 
Maybe the tournament has to start for the fire to ignite. Close contests with the bat and the ball would surely lead to more talk, if history is to be considered. The likes of Shane Watson and Kevin Pietersen can be expected to heat things up, and so, also the respective media. With the Real-Time Snicko being introduced this time, one wonders if its maiden use could create controversies.
 
Whatever the reason could be, it is amply evident that the pre-Ashes happenings have come in for a drastic change with the changing power dynamics in world cricket.
 
(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)