Ashley’s Diary

March/April 2001

Just when we thought that nothing could better that win over Pakistan in Karachi, it happened !

Whoever said Test Cricket was not exciting needed to be in Colombo when the Sri Lankans collapsed to 81 All Out in thewir 2nd innings to leave us a target of 74 to win the match and the series. After a difficult series for me it was great to finish on a high with 4-11, all the bowlers did brilliantly to skittle Sri Lanka out for such a low score . We knew it was not going to be easy to get needed with Murali and co bowling well. It was very nerve racking pacing around the dressing room with my pads on but to go in and hit the winning run will be a moment I will always remember.Thorpie once again showed his class to see the team through. We all hope that the great team spirit will carry through to the Summer for Pakistan and Australia.

After such a great win we would have all loved to get on the plane home but we had to lift ourselves for the three One-Day Internationals. Although we were all very tired, we don’t make excuses for our 3-0 defeat against a very strong Sri Lankan One- Day team.

It was great to get back home to the family and it was made even better by the news that I had been given an England Contract for the summer. This will give me an opportunity to rest and get the achiles problem sorted out once and for all. Although the season may be dominated by the seamers I do still hope that I can contribute against the Aussies at some point. No cricket for six weeks but I will be working hard in the gym.

Good luck to you all for the coming season wherever you play and a special good luck to THE BEARS.

Feb 2001

The series with Sri Lanka started with very high temperatures and the crucial toss of the coin. The toss went against us and Sri Lanka got first go on a pitch that deteriorated towards the end of day 2. The first two days in Galle were also amongst the hottest I have ever experienced playing cricket and all of the players needed to take on 2 to 3 litres of water at the end of each day. The big Sri Lankan total meant we were always fighting to save the game but how different things might have been if we could have just got the extra 18 runs to avoid the follow on. It was not to be and we went down 1-0 in the Series.

The team responded brilliantly in the 2nd Test and deserved to level the series. My personal loss of form with the ball was compensated by being able to stay with Craig White and see the team through to victory. Nasser’s great 100 and the performances of Goughie and Robert Croft were key but overall it demonstrated the excellent team spirit.

We are all looking forward to the decisive Test match in Colombo and hoping that the toss might go our way at last !

Jan 2001

I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone since we returned home from Pakistan, it has been a very busy time. I have been asked to do interviews by Newspapers and TV and it was great to be invited to be on ‘They think it’s all over’. I was very nervous but it was also great laugh and David Gower and Jonathan Ross were very supportive throughout the recording. Since Christmas I have been training hard and I have hardly had time to play with my Playstation 2 (Christmas present) and My feet are just about back on the ground after a great Tour and that incredible victory in Karachi. Even Spent a weekend back down in Ripley and on the Saturday we had a joint celebration for my mother’s 60th birthday and Mum and Dad’s 40th Anniversary. It was an excellent night with lots of faces I remember from my childhood. The following day I was pleased to officially re-open the refurbished cricket pavillion at Ripley. This is the place where I played my first cricket and it gives me a lot of pride to see that the club are working hard to fulfill their own ambitions to move up through the ranks of Surrey club cricket.

There have been very few spare moments but those that I have had have been spent with my Wife and little boy Anders. After the 11 weeks in Pakistan it was great to spend quality time with him and catch up on just how much he has changed in his first eight months. I will meet up with the England team for Dinner on Monday 29th and then the following day we fly off for a challenging tour of Sri Lanka. The boys are very confident but they know that the Sri Lankans will be very tough opposition.